Rachel Lawler speaks to materials science student and IOM3 intern Daniel Stevens.
What did your role as an intern at IOM3 involve?
I am currently in my second year of a degree in Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Manchester, UK. Last summer I worked as an intern in the education department at the Institute’s Grantham office. I was responsible for developing a range of resources to aid the teaching of materials science in primary schools. The project progressed in phases. During the first week, my days were mostly spent researching the UK’s National Curriculum and searching for readily available resources related to materials science. I then developed my own resources. My final two weeks were spent mostly applying finishing touches to the resources I had created and preparing a presentation of my work.
What were the most interesting parts of this work?
Developing activities for worksheets and creating games were a particular highlight for me. I also enjoyed trying to come up with fun ways of introducing key materials science ideas to primary school children using only readily available equipment. It was a real opportunity to be creative, and I enjoyed seeing the result of my work in the finished product. The thought of the resources I created being used to increase awareness and create enthusiasm for materials science is exciting. I hope I have opportunities to work in further outreach programmes in the future.
What areas of materials science interest you the most?
I’m in the second year of my degree and am still at the stage where everything is fascinating to me. At the moment, I find composite materials particularly interesting but I also found learning about the classification of different materials using microscopy fascinating. I am looking forward to learning more about materials throughout the course of my degree.
What do you think are the biggest challenges currently facing materials science?
I think the most important challenge facing outreach in materials science and engineering is the general population’s lack of awareness of it. This is one of the core issues outreach activities try to combat, so I have high hopes that this challenge will eventually be overcome.