Helen Sharman talking to SCG students

Shrewsbury Colleges Group was delighted to welcome Helen Sharman for a series of STEM talks organised by Shrewsbury School and shared with partner schools across the region with the aim of widening horizons and raising ambition for university applications and the world of work beyond. 

Helen is a pioneer, a role-model, and a world-class inspirational speaker. In 1991, she became the first British astronaut to visit and carry out experiments on the Mir space station.

She now works as the UK Outreach Ambassador at Imperial College London and her visit is connected with the Shrewsbury STEM Potential programme, which is supported by the university. The programme supports widening access to STEM courses for bright and able pupils in Shropshire.

Helen visited the Marches School in Oswestry and then moved to Shrewsbury Colleges Group before talking at Shrewsbury School in a ‘Dialogues lecture’ open to other local schools. 

Helen’s talk are part of the Shrewsbury Dialogues Programme, a series of academic lectures that is shared with partner schools and has seen the likes of politician Lord Heseltine and Poet Laureat Simon Armitage give talks to students.  Helen’s talk is entitled: “Eliminating Frontiers and Exploring Opportunity: Striding into a Future World of STEM.”

The following day she travelled to the two secondary academies from the Alpha Academies Trust in Stoke-on-Trent and the local Sixth Form College there, before coming back to Shropshire to be guest of honour at the official opening of Packwood School’s new Science building.

Helen said: “I am delighted to be in Shrewsbury and the surrounding area, visiting schools and colleges with the help of Shrewsbury School to encourage students to continue STEM studies after school.

“I also hope to open a window into university life for students from backgrounds that have previously not been associated with higher education. Science is increasingly important in society, whether or not we choose a STEM career, and I am passionate about more of us engaging with STEM issues so that science is used in the best way to benefit everyone.”

James Staniforth, Principal of Shrewsbury Colleges Group, said: "We’re delighted that Helen Sharman spoke to our students as well as many other young people across the county and region. Her achievements are an inspiration to many, and her talk provided a fascinating insight to our students about the world of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths."

Shrewsbury School Headmaster, Leo Winkley, said: “We are pleased that Helen Sharman will be sharing her passion for Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and of course space travel with our partner schools across the region.  We hope her talk will inspire hundreds of pupils in their love of science.”

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