About Pioneer & Work Experience Opportunities
As a L6 student applying to study Maths at university next year, I recently set up a non-profit organisation called Pioneer which aims to nurture girls’ passion for Maths beyond the school curriculum, thus building their confidence to pursue the subject at university and beyond. After constantly being told at university open days about the lack of female applicants, I decided to create my own initiative especially as other Maths organisations tend to focus on the undergraduate level – and I believe the key to creating change is to start at an early age.
In the last two months, I’ve partnered with Girls in Data to hold 3 webinar series, engaging over 300 pupils across the GDST and other schools in a work experience data challenge. The first was with Experian, a multinational consumer credit company, and the second with Zurich, one of the world’s leading insurance companies.
Our current one started on 30th June with the data communications company iVerbalize. This task involves analysing data to support your opinions on BLM, COVID-19 or home learning. The top 3 pieces of work will be presented to Neil McIvor (Chief Data Officer for the Department of Education and his Advisors), Francesca Kay (Chief Statistician for the Office of National Statistics and her Advisors) and Dr. Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, a corporate lawyer who I’m sure you have seen in the news! This is a fantastic opportunity to get yourself known, get your voice heard and see your ideas come to reality! More details on Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/girls-in-data-pioneer-data-communication-challenge-iverbalize-tickets-110743853848?utm_campaign=post_old_publish&utm_content=EBLinkEvent&utm_medium=email&utm_source=eventbrite&utm_term=fullLink
At the end of each challenge, each student receives a work experience certificate and feedback from the company. We award prizes to the top students – for example, a 16-year-old performed so well in one of our challenges that Experian offered her a job after graduation! Our event was featured in the East Anglian Times and on the radio, and I hope Pioneer continues to provide these opportunities to as many girls as possible.
It’s still not too late to sign up! If you’d like to take part in the challenges, please email me and subscribe to Pioneer’s website if you haven’t already done so: https://joely-to.wixsite.com/pioneer
By subscribing to Pioneer’s website, you’ll also stay updated on all work experience opportunities (next ones will hopefully include Deliveroo, BT and TikTok) as well as receive Maths revision advice from top university students in my regular newsletters.
What else has Pioneer done so far?
I publish Maths articles regularly on the website, as well as interviewing inspiring Maths undergraduates about their top tips for success and how they overcame barriers from school to university. The number of subscribers is growing very quickly, with over 100 from across the GDST alone. I was also interviewed about Pioneer and my mission on the Spotify podcast “It Starts with Action”: https://anchor.fm/itstartswithaction/episodes/Episode-5-It-starts-with-Action—Joely-To–founder-of-Pioneer-Inspiring-young-women-to-see-the-beauty-in-maths-eeh4eu
Another highlight was Pioneer’s film screening of Secrets of the Surface to celebrate Women in Maths Day. This is a documentary about the female mathematician who inspires me most – Maryam Mirzakhani, the first female winner of the Fields Medal (the best award for Maths).
House Maths Competition – results!
Earlier this term, Pioneer held a SCHS maths competition for girls to either write about an inspiring female mathematician, or discuss a maths problem and its solution. I was surprised by how many entries there were, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading each one! After consulting the Maths Department to make the final decision, here is the shortlist:
U3-U4 Winner: Eleanor McQuinn
Highly commended: Lucy Davis, Mia Verma and Emma Evans
L5-U5 Winner: Poppy Wait
Highly commended: Lucy P-T, Charlotte L and Krutika P
These essays included the most personal opinions and original thought. Both Eleanor and Poppy will have their pieces published on Pioneer’s website and in our newsletter.
Well done to everyone who entered!
Pioneer is running a summer school in partnership with Girls in Data, starting from the 28th July. Please subscribe on the website to register your interest in both this event and in our next work experience events! https://joely-to.wixsite.com/pioneer
Pioneer is also running a national competition with the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA) in September with great prizes! Further details to follow after the summer holidays.