Last night I took part in Present Around the World, an awesome competition in which 18-26 year olds get the chance to present a technical idea in order to gain experience presenting, as well as potentially win some monies.
I found out about this through my good friend Mr. David Whale and entered a talk on my recent Wearable Electronics workshop.
Other people spoke about e-taxi, an alternative to taxiing an airplane from the gate to the runway by using electric motors; utility belts for actual people, not just super heroes; the Internet of Things (yes, smart fridges were mentioned…); and producing energy from waste.
I spoke about my own interest in Computer Science, the statistics and problems with the school curriculum as it focuses on consuming, not creating technology, the statistics and problems with minorities not electing to take an interest in technology, which lead on to becoming a STEM ambassador, my own DIY projects in wearable tech and finally, the workshop and how it was funded and ran itself, as well as the future I have planned as far as this project goes.
At the end of my 8 minutes (intended to run on for 10 minutes: I don’t know what I missed out, as previous recordings I’d got up to about 10:10) I had 5 minutes of grueling questions about what I did, about wearable technology and why people should buy these devices, as well as what device I would make if I could make anything with it.
After everyone else gave their talk, the other competitors and I, of which 2 were Airbus interns and 1 of those was from Hull University’s business school, had a chat whilst the judges left the room to make a decision. One of the other competitors was particularly interested in how you become a STEM ambassador which is heartening, and amongst what we discussed we learned about what we were each doing for a job.
After what felt like hours but was actually around 45 minutes, the judges returned, and told us they’d decided on the two top people, myself and Campbell who spoke about e-Taxi, but were not sure which won. This led to tie-break, for which the question was “why did you choose this subject and what’s your passion in it?”. I honestly don’t remember my exact answer: something like “I like computers and electronics and I got bored of the lack of girls and the lack of creativity in the curriculum so I want to change it” but put more eloquently – which led on to “What message would you want people to take away from this talk?”: again, not sure what I said, it basically came down to “the school aren’t teaching the right things about technology but through my workshops and other embedded technology we can teach it creatively as well as combine other subjects like electronics and physics”.
They left for another 10 minutes, in which the other competitors congratulated myself and Campbell and we discussed who’d win.
The judges returned and told me I’d won, and that they’d like for me to wait another 10 minutes in order to give some verbal feedback, which I found extremely helpful. During the feedback session where I took a whole bunch of notes, the head of the Young Professional network, George who organised the day, said as we both work in Airbus, he and the judge working at Rolls-Royce would be happy to help coach at a later date before the next round, which will be in Southampton in June, and for which the IET pays for all travel and accomodation.
Overall, I’m over the moon, and again a huge thank you to Craig, who helped with slide design and gave me some incentive to keep practicing and recording myself what felt like 100 times in order to get my presentation right, and to improve my body language and overall style: I’m thinking of taking the recordings I still have (seriously, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve said “Hi I’m Charlotte Godley, I’m a computer science student from the University of Hull and I’m currently doing an industrial placement at Airbus”) and doing a cassette boy style remix…
Another thank you goes to David Whale who nudged me into this and who’s been a huge inspiration towards me becoming active in STEM and in Raspberry Pi, and is just generally a really great person to bounce ideas off of.
I’m completely over the moon and look forward to my trip to Southampton and to meeting the other folks from Local Network heats, and thanks so much to the IET for this awesome event – I will be nudging my fellow students into doing this when I get back to uni.