Outreach
March Madness with Multiple STEM Outreach Events This Month
A roundup of the events Reaction Engines attended in March 2022

“When I grow up…” This is the beginning of a sentence we have all said at some point in our lives, and our answers were all probably quite similar: I’m going to be an astronaut; a race car driver; a vet; a superhero! It’s incredibly unlikely that you said “When I grow up I’m going to be a Chief Project Engineer!” but that is exactly what pre-schooler Freda said earlier this month when she got home from school. Why? Because Carrie Lambert, our Chief Project Engineer at Reaction Engines spoke to Freda and her classmates about jobs in STEM and it inspired her. That is exactly why we love going to schools to share experiences and spread awareness of roles in STEM that could be their future, and March was our busiest month ever with 5 events.

Oxfordshire School Visit

On the 9th March Chief Project Engineer, Carrie Lambert organised a series of three talks at her daughters’ school by women who were parents and work in STEM areas. The idea was to help educate the students (aged 4 and 5) about jobs in these fields at the pivotal age where children are forming views and stereotypes, and provide positive female role models that they already knew.

Carrie ran two sessions where she helped 60 children understand what an engineer does, talked about her job on a general level, including how she was taking the best bits of a rocket and the best bits of an aircraft engine to make something new that was even better.  She explained the ‘engineering process’ and got the children in small “engineering” teams to follow the steps an engineer would take to make space planes out of recyclables which they then went outside and tested. Reaction Engines gifted the school a model which will hopefully help continue to inspire the children that one day they could help build a real space plane.

Bucks Skills Show:

On the 8th and 9th March Chief Operating Officer Mark Wood, Product Industrialisation Lead Emma Ryan, and Electrical Apprentice Jacob Gale, attended the Bucks Skills Show, a large skills and careers event helping young people explore future careers. Several hundred students visited the Reaction Engines stand where Mark, Emma and Jacob shared their career paths and experiences, in addition to explaining the different roles available at Reaction Engines. They also had an interactive activity to teach pupils about thermodynamics and rocket science using plastic balls which the students really engaged with.

These type of events are really beneficial for young people, as they raise awareness of companies and roles out there and offers expert experience and advice to help them get into the industry they are interested in. Emma Ryan said: “I had no idea that material science was a possibility (or even a topic or job title) when I started my degree, let alone when I was a teenager! I wish I had known more about the roles out there, and what a day in the life of an engineer was like, to fully realise what I wanted to do. I think these events achieve that, and even if we just make a few people more aware of engineering/Reaction Engines – that’s a win.”

OAS Open Evening:

Also on the 9th March, Emma Ryan, Product Industrialisation Lead at Reaction Engines, Adam Bampton, Deputy Assembly Operations Manager, and Apprentices James Richards, & Max White attended the Oxfordshire Advanced Skills Open Evening next door to our headquarters at Culham Science Centre. She spoke to 100 possible apprentices and gave them the opportunity to meet and speak to those that had already gone through it, get proper knowledge about what it’s like, and to ask any questions that their teachers/parents probably don’t know the answer to. James said: “I really enjoyed the event as it was great to talk to a new generation of apprentices and really show them why a career in engineering is so enriching and what we as a company can offer them through our apprenticeship programme.”

Gheez Rite Supplementary:

This month we are proud to share that Development Engineer, Bradley Eaton and Graduate Engineer, Maria Fancaria have been working with Sphere Science who run practical school science activities to provide a great workshop for the children at Gheez Rite, a supplementary school for young people aged 7 to 19 in the neighbourhood of Grenfell Tower. Maria and Bradley shared details via Zoom to two students about what they do as engineers and the different career paths they took that led them to Reaction Engines, one via university and one via an apprenticeship, and answer questions. The students were then tasked to create presentations of what they had learnt about space, rockets and engineering and present them back to them and their classmates. Maria said, “It was incredible to talk to the students and see how interested they were to learn more, especially about the potential career paths in engineering.” The activity was so well received by Gheez Rite and Sphere Science that they are already planning more sessions and organising for students to visit our headquarters.

UKSEDS:

On Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th March, Team Leader, Lucia Rodrigues Roces, Design Engineer, Lachlan Williams and Graduate Engineer, Ruta Marcinkeviciute all attended a UKSEDS Student Conference at King’s College, London. The prime position of their stand meant they spoke to over 700 young students from the space society, showing them the 3D model of SABRE, talking about Reaction Engines, our progress in access to space, and our current vacancies and student schemes. This event was a great opportunity to share what we do but also helps us reflect and remember what we do as well, Lucia commented that: “As an engineer, it is sometimes easy to get lost in the specifics of your job so forcing yourself to look away and explain what you do to a non-technical audience really helps you reset and see the big picture!”

 

At Reaction Engines, we believe it is vital to proactively participate in outreach activities, especially with younger people. We are committed to using our passion and experience to engage with children and young adults to show them what opportunities there are in the STEM field for their future, with the hope that we might inspire them to say “When I grow up, I want be an engineer.”