Preparing for my first public engagement workshop with the purpose of ‘Inspiring Science’ was stressful, to say the least. Making time to find and prepare the necessary materials for the hands-on activities was challenging as creativity is definitely not my strongest point. Nevertheless, Ryman did not let me down! I cut out and coloured in carton hands as models for the gecko hands. The students were going to use these to design their own gecko hands to explain the reason behind their wall-climbing ability.
On the day of the workshop, I attended my morning lectures as usual and then headed over to Ashmole Academy in the afternoon to deliver what I had been preparing for in the past week. With two other fellow volunteers from our public engagement group, we set up the cameras and material boxes in the classroom, and I began to feel more nervous than ever to stand up in front of 30 years 10 pupils and excite them with science. I was the most junior member of the public engagement group, and could not help but wonder how on Earth I could possibly inspire these over-achieving teenagers.
To my surprise, the class all seemed alert and interested in what I had to say. Many of them asked questions during the presentation, and they all took the group activity very seriously. In the end, there were some very creative gecko designs, and seeing the positive response of the class to my workshop was an incredibly rewarding feeling. In their testimonials, students said that they were deeply amazed by how nature inspires our designs of technology, and a couple of them admitted that their interest in Biology grew as a result of the workshop. I could not have asked for a better first public engagement workshop!