Post-16 students experience outstanding STEMLab facilities

A person in a lab coat and gloves pouring a liquid from glassware

School of Science staff showcase STEMLab facilities to post-16 students during Outreach Science Week event.

The School and College Liaison (SCL) team recently hosted an event in collaboration with the School of Science to showcase STEMLab facilities to post-16 students.

Over 240 Year 12 students from schools based in Leicestershire and London visited the University to experience different labs and had the opportunity to learn about physics, chemistry, and biology.

Students conducted experiments in the lab, experiencing practical sessions in:

  • Physics - speed of sound – using a signal generator and an adjustable resounding column to calculate the speed of sound in air.
  • Biology - enzyme kinetics - measuring enzyme activity using a spectrophotometer.
  • Synthetic Chemistry – chemiluminescence - mimicking the natural light of the firefly.
  • Analytical Chemistry – using high performance liquid chromatography to identify an unknown tablet and using UV-vis to differentiate pen inks.

The students were engaged in the experiments and made use of the facilities in STEMLab and the Sir David Davies building at the Loughborough campus, located in West Park.

James, a member of the SCL team who led on one of the visits, commented: “Beauchamp City Sixth Form students had a brilliant two days, experiencing firsthand what it’s like to be a STEM student at Loughborough. The students really enjoyed the day and were getting stuck in with all the labs.”

In response to the activities they had taken part in, the prospective students said they enjoyed learning about university life, cooperating to reach a specific goal, and were enthusiastic about the subjects they had the chance to experience at the event. The week was successful, with a wide range of students indicating that they found the activities and the overall experience of Loughborough to be positive.

Students that attended the Outreach Science Week events were also encouraged to attend the Loughborough University open days happening this year.

This is one of many interventions ran by the SCL team that enable young people to experience the Higher Education system in an impactful and exciting way.

Dr Imogen Heaton, a Technical Tutor in Chemistry, commented: “We are fortunate to teach labs in such a state-of-the-art building and having the opportunity to bring year 12 students in to get taster of university life was a rewarding experience. The students embraced working in the labs, especially being able to use new equipment, and took the opportunity to ask a lot of questions about university life. Our STEMLab technicians went above and beyond to make this week as fun but true to part A as they could, and it is something the students seemed to relish.”