Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions about WISP. If your question still isn’t answered, please get in touch.

What is STEM?

STEM is an acronym that stands for science, technology, engineering and maths. It is used to describe anything that is part of those fields and therefore includes a huge range of jobs and activities – from scientists in a lab through to designers building theatre sets, and much more!

STEM is also sometimes used as a contraction to mean STEM outreach – the practice of people who work in science, technology, engineering and maths going out into the community to enthuse and inspire people about their work. This is vitally important work, as the UK has a skills shortage with regards to STEM and we need more young people to choose these exciting career paths.

If you’d like to learn more about what STEM is, head on over to the Plymouth Science Park website and read a blog written by our Chair, Lorna.

Who are Women in STEM Plymouth?

Our voluntary committee is made up of two groups of people: (1) core members, who have specific responsibilities for the day-to-day running of the group; and (2) advisory members, who typically represent local STEM companies or organisations that we want to maintain a close link with. You can find out more about our committee here.

Are you part of the STEM Ambassador programme?

The STEM Ambassador programme is a national initiative that trains people with STEM skills to go to schools and deliver activities that encourage young people to enjoy STEM subjects. This programme is managed nationally by STEM Learning and in the South West by CSW group. Women in STEM Plymouth do not run this programme, but many of our members are STEM Ambassadors and we continuously aim to increase this number by promoting the programme. Samantha Ansell, STEM Manager for the South West, is one of our advisory committee members, which helps us maintain our close link with the programme.

Many of our members are STEM Ambassadors and we actively encourage those who are not to become one. One of our main objectives is to inspire more young girls to start a career in STEM, and Ambassadors are a brilliant way to do that – by getting real-life experience into classrooms.

Who can be a member of Women in STEM Plymouth?

Anyone aged 16 or over, as long as they support the idea of gender equality in STEM. Our quarterly networking events are open to all, regardless of gender, age, occupation, religion etc. We have members who work in STEM, who teach STEM, who are looking to explore a STEM career when they grow up, or who would like to support others in STEM positions (friends, family, colleagues, employees).

Are men allowed?
Yes, absolutely. We welcome men to attend events and become members, as long as they support the idea of gender equality in STEM. Many men come to our events because they want to know how they can support their female colleagues, partners and children and this is something we whole-heartedly encourage. Occasionally we may have women-only events, but these will always be clearly advertised as such.

How do I become a member?
At the moment, membership is free. All we need from you is your name and email address, at which point you will go on our mailing list to receive monthly newsletters, notification about our work and information on upcoming events. Sign up here!

When is your next event?

Our large-scale networking events are quarterly – typically in February, June, October, with a social event in December. In addition to this, we hold smaller events including Lunch & Learns and social outings throughout the year. All our events are bookable online, visit the Upcoming Events page for more details.

Can you come to my school?

As the Women in STEM Plymouth ‘staff’ is a small, voluntary committee with full-time jobs, we cannot come to your school ourselves, as much as we would love to! However, when we receive requests from schools for female STEM Ambassadors to come and inspire young girls, we send those out to our members and actively encourage them to participate. We also help our members and local schools design suitable activities for these sessions and provide training in the WISE People Like Me activity, amongst others. If you would like more information on any of these activities, please use the contact us form.

How are you funded?

We are a voluntary organisation, so our committee give up their free time to make Women in STEM Plymouth work. In addition, many of our committee members are released by their employers to take part in our activities or attend committee meetings. We are also sponsored by several local organisations, including the Plymouth Manufacturers Group who were instrumental in our founding. We are incredible grateful for this support, which allows us to put on great events for you! If you would like to find out more about our sponsors, please visit the Sponsors page.

We have plans to start charging a small amount for events and/or membership, in order to allow us to expand and provide and even greater service. More details about this will be published in due course.