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Charlotte Kerr

Charlotte Kerr

Winner of the 2014 WISE Girl Award

13 November 2014

Charlotte Kerr, Grantown Grammar School

At 17 years of age, Charlotte has shown great drive and determination, as a dyslexic from a small rural state school, to become the youngest STEM ambassador in the North of Scotland.

She has set a powerful example through her commitment to work experience on A9 dualling, Scotland’s largest current infrastructure project. She took on a leadership role in her school’s Young Engineers Club and has set up a “Positively Pink Engineering” Facebook page to inspire girls.

“I am not a natural academic but have achieved through hard work, determination and resits. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to succeed in science – just someone who likes science! I urge female pupils to ask the bolshie question, Why not?”

On winning the WISE Award, Charlotte said, “The award is going to give me confidence to go on and inspire more young girls into engineering. I believe that the future starts now.”

Update from Charlotte - July 2015

Emily and I met were invited to attend a conference with  Scotland's 1st Minister Nicola Sturgeon in Edinburgh

On 25 June Emily and I met were invited to attend a conference with Scotland's 1st Minister Nicola Sturgeon in Edinburgh. It was the launch of a new Scottish initiative '50/50 by 2020' to remove the ceiling on ambition, enabling everyone to achieve their full potential and Scotland aspires to lead the way on.  Nicola Sturgeon particularly wanted the views of ambitious young people and Emily and I were VIP invited representing Positively Pink Engineering. We wanted to let you know that we directly discussed the gender imbalance and put our points and suggestions to her for consideration. I highlighted 'The need for big industry to engage and enable state school pupils especially girls. I spoke about the information gap for girls on STEM careers and why not have a condition attached to public tendered contracts to directly work with state schools? If they would like young girls to aspire to STEM careers consider engaging directly with schools expertly informing them of the career opportunities and school subjects needed. Give girls the facts by targeting and enabling them.'

Emily raised the point of needing to target girls early - before they choose their exam subjects age 12-14 yrs at the latest or even earlier and also to inform their parents of these choices and loose the old image of STEM is for geaks or boys to study. Inform girls of the many careers available to them from apprentices, technicians or graduates - there is space for everyone and many career paths open for all. They need to know they are wanted and needed in industry. There is space and a place for someone just like them in STEM careers.

I am really happy to say that my involvement with WISE has spurred me on to to become the Equate Interconnect Student Champion at Heriot Watt University and I am really keen to make a difference. Sadly I am only one of nine girls studying civil engineering at Heriot Watt. I also met with Professor Pender (current president of ICE Scotland) to discuss how we can get more girls into civil engineering. I have also put ideas to several civil engineering companies - suggesting 'Apprentice for a Day' to give girls a chance to explore engineering. I also appreciate how hard it is to nudge traditional ideas into change of practice. I have really enjoyed my time as WISE Girl 2014 and am glad to make a difference for all girls.

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