Maria Alandes Pradillo and Rosy Nikolaidou present CERN to children at the École de la Bretonnière in Prévessin-Moëns in 2019 (Image: CERN)
From 3 to 7 February, 67 female volunteers from CERN, the University of Geneva and EPFL visited 132 classrooms in the local area to talk about their careers ahead of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science on 11 February.
“It was a great day! The children asked lots of interesting questions and I think I inspired some of them to take up the subject. I’ll definitely have a few young engineering fellows to supervise in twenty years’ time,” says Melania Averna, an engineer working on fire and gas detection systems at CERN.
This is the fourth year in a row that CERN has coordinated this increasingly successful initiative. Since 2017, almost 10 000 pupils aged between 7 and 15 have learned about jobs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics from the ever-expanding cohort of ambassadors eager to share their passion with children.
While women continue to be underrepresented in scientific fields, efforts to shift society’s perceptions must start with its youngest members, by giving children female role models with whom they can identify.