Natalie Lissenden awarded funding from the Awesome Foundation for Microbes to Mosquitoes

News article 7 Mar 2017

Last night, LSTM’s Miss Natalie Lissenden was awarded £250 from the Awesome Foundation Liverpool for her project entitled “Microbes to Mosquitoes” which aims to deliver high quality informal education to disadvantaged children and young people who, as a result of their circumstances, may find it difficult to engage with STEM (science technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects.

Natalie was shortlisted for funding with two other finalists and, at a gift night in The Pod at Baltic Creative, had to give a short presentation on her project to the trustees of the Awesome Foundation.

Microbes to Mosquitoes will involve a series of interactive workshops to get scientists out of their comfort zones in explaining their research to young people. The workshops will be presented at Centre 63, a youth club in Kirkby which works with 8-18 year olds who come from disadvantaged backgrounds and have a wide spectrum of needs which makes it difficult for them to access positive leisure opportunities and make friends. Within the borough, 20% of the young people are classified as NEET (not in education, training or employment) and has the worst performing local authority at GCSE results in England, and funding cuts have seen the end of A-Level provision. Consequently, this project will foster an enthusiasm for further education and training with the hope that it will encourage the young people of Centre 63, who may feel abandoned by academia, to engage with research and develop themselves academically and creatively in order to achieve their goals and raise their ambitions.

The project will involve the delivery of monthly sessions on a broad range of topics related to the life sciences including venomous snakes, disease carrying insects and DNA. Overall, the project aims to encourage open discussion of scientific ideas, empower young people to ask questions and engage with research, and encourage a positive collaboration between scientists and the public.

LSTM’s Public Engagement Manager, Dr Elli Wright, commented: “We are delighted to have been awarded funding from the Awesome Foundation, the funding will allow for more interactive workshops to be developed to encourage and inspire the young people of Centre 63.  This important work is part of LSTM’s wider public engagement strategy, which has seen staff at all levels as well as students become STEM ambassadors and undertake a number of projects ranging from working with local museums and schools to exhibiting at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition 2016 and giving talks to the public.”