Schools - Aylin Hanyaloglu
Heathland Primary School
My team and I visited Heathland Primary School in Harrow for their STEM week - our third visit to the school over the past few years, working with children in Reception to Year 2. One of the main reasons I have chosen to work with this age range is in challenging gender bias. As a mother of two, I know these stereotypes are learned from society very early on via many influences. As a female PI whose group also happens to be all female, it is fantastic to see their perception of scientists change in just one session from the ‘Albert Einstein’ stereotype, to one where scientists can be female or male, and come from a variety of backgrounds.
Yes, as a UKRI grant holder public engagement is a requirement, but it is first and foremost a rewarding, fun and valuable experience, not just for me, but also for my team. The children’s excitement, enthusiasm and engagement with us and their activity hopefully make long lasting memories on both sides. My favourite question from this last visit; ‘What happens if we were to mix strawberry DNA with our DNA?’, and overhearing one group of girls exclaiming, ‘I’m going to be a scientist when I grow up!’