My STEM inspiration: flying the flag for the aviation industry

Kate McWilliams, STEM Ambassador at EasyJet

Kate McWilliams is a finalist in the Outstanding New STEM Ambassador category at the 2018 STEM Inspiration Awards.

Kate has become a STEM Ambassador in the past year and has undertaken numerous activities to support learning in STEM subjects and careers. In the lead up to the awards ceremony on 1 November 2018, she tells us about her work and what she does to inspire young people.

I am an airline pilot flying Airbus A320 aircraft for EasyJet. Only around 5% of airline pilots worldwide are women and research suggests that this percentage is so small due to the lack of female pilot role models. As a result, I spend a lot of my spare time visiting schools and speaking to students about aviation and the many career options within the aviation industry which link to STEM. I also address gender stereotypes in an attempt to break down these barriers – I don’t want any student to be told that they can’t do something because of their gender like I was. 

"I encourage anybody who is considering getting involved as a STEM Ambassador to do it! It is so rewarding to see the students inspired and to consider a career that they may not have previously thought possible."

I am really proud to have been shortlisted for the STEM Inspiration Awards. I was quite surprised to learn that I had delivered 34 STEM activities during the last academic year, which equates to about one event per school week. I really enjoy the school visits so I didn’t realise it was so many.

I encourage anybody who is considering getting involved as a STEM Ambassador to do it! It is so rewarding to see the students inspired and to consider a career that they may not have previously thought possible. If I visit a school of hundreds of pupils and I am able to encourage and inspire even a small number of them to aim high and achieve their dreams, then I’ve made a difference.

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