Edinburgh Napier has marked Ada Lovelace Day with a series of events aimed at celebrating the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

Date posted

12 October 2016


Last updated

19 March 2020

The University welcomed a host of female secondary school pupils and teachers to take part in a range of hands-on workshops alongside attending an inspiring guest lecture with Professor Caroline Wilkinson. 

Founded in 2009, Ada Lovelace Day is an annual event which aims to increase the profile of women in STEM and, in doing so, create new role models who will encourage more girls into STEM careers and support women already working in STEM.

The S1 to S3 pupils from Holy Rood RC High School, Airdrie Academy, Leith Academy, Trinity Academy and James Gillespie’s High School gained an insight into forensic science through a special forensics investigation workshop. As part of a mock crime scene, the students used the latest in fingerprint investigation to successfully identify the main perpetrator.

An introduction to Arduino was also part of the event programme, with pupils learning how to program and control a series of flashing lights with various devices. Arduino is rapidly growing in popularity and is currently used by thousands of enthusiasts, hobbyists, students and professionals to develop computing solutions for a range of applications. It is also the same technology used to make interactive wearable electronics, robotics and LED lighting controls.

The pupils also attended the public guest lecture from Professor Caroline Wilkinson who shared more on her forensic anthropology work where she depicts faces for identification purposes. Taking attendees on a personal journey through her varied career which combines science with a number of disciplines including art, forensics, computing and anatomy, she also shared her own insight and inspiration into the vital role of women in STEM.

Ada Lovelace Day 2016 at Edinburgh Napier

Debbie Meharg, lecturer in computing at Edinburgh Napier and who led the University’s Ada Lovelace Day school workshops, said: “Edinburgh Napier is a proud supporter of Ada Lovelace Day and we were delighted that so many young women could join us in helping recognise the achievements of women in STEM.

“Although only scratching the surface, the workshops were designed to give a flavour of some of the career opportunities for young women looking to get into the STEM industries. We have a vital role to play in inspiring the next generation of female scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians and look forward to continuing to support this goal in the months and years ahead.”

Edinburgh Napier currently holds an Athena SWAN bronze award which recognises its work on gender equality and supporting women’s careers in STEM. It is also a parent organisation and partner of Girl Geek Scotland (GGS); an organisation which enables women to develop a career-long mutual support network through dinners, fundraisers, business breakfasts, research projects and skills workshops.
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