By Becky Waldram.
Dr Youmna Mouhamad, supported by the M2A project from the Materials Research Centre and the BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic) Students in Engineering Network within Swansea University’s College of Engineering, held a Science and Engineering Family Fun Day at Ethnic Youth Support Team’s (EYST) Youth Centre on St Helen’s Road in Swansea on 28th August 2019.
The BAME Students in Engineering Network aims to raise awareness of the challenges BAME individuals face in organisations and the impact this may have on their engagement, performance and career progression. The network also works to provide knowledge on how we can collectively create a more inclusive environment for both students and staff. The EYST was set up in 2005 and employs 35 staff across Wales to help BME young people, families and individuals including refuges and asylum-seekers living in Wales through services including education, employment, health, family support and safety. More information about their work can be found here.
The event was attended by numerous families from a range of different background and experiences with science and engineering subjects. A range of activities were provided by staff and students from Swansea University.
A Hotwires kit was used to encourage an interest in electronics and the functionality of circuits, where children were invited to write their name in conductive ink to complete the circuit and release the spinning disk by providing the power required to launch it from the circuit.
Another table held a portable microscope, and a range of materials including Kevlar, carbon fibre, various metals and wood to be viewed under it. Some of the most interesting discoveries were made putting fingers under the lens to observe differences in fingerprints, and well as items of clothing, to compare how fabrics can be woven in different ways.
The final table used the juice from red cabbage leaves as a pH indicator. The leaves contain a pigment called anthocyanin which changes colour when mixed with an acid or base. A variety of everyday household items, such as lemon juice, vinegar, bicarbonate of soda and washing up liquid were examined to see how they reacted with this indictor solution. This led to the creation of some fantastic artwork by the children.
Overall the event was very well supported by the local community and was reported by Swansea Bay TV. All staff and students involved enjoyed taking part in the event, and we look forward to engaging with and supporting the BAME community going forward.