Two Blackheath High School students have been named as finalists in Under 16 category in Sydenham High School’s #700STEMChallenge.
The competition, which was originally launched in 2018 by a Sydenham sixth former, has run now for the last four years and is open to Girls' Day School Trust as well as local London schools. Each year students enter the competition, writing 700 words on a STEM topic of their choice.
Blackheath students Julia Pfeiffer and Anwita Vedula were both shortlisted with their essays focusing on electro-magnetism, and the Melody of Science respectively. Anwita came 3rd in the Science category, while Julia came an impressive 2nd in the Technology & Engineering category. Anjini Naidoo, Beatrix Edmunds and Jasmine Ainley were also Highly Commended for their submissions.
The students were inspired to enter the competition following the school’s campaign to encourage its students to study STEM subjects.
It follows a leap in the number of girls at Blackheath taking physics A level. Currently, 30% of Blackheath High students have chosen to study Physics A Level, which is a marked increase from the national average, where uptake of female students studying physics has remained at 23%.
Anwita Vedula said: “At Blackheath High School, we’re encouraged to follow our passions and to be creative about the ways we approach things. I’ve always loved science and been fascinated by the connection of science to music – two things that are generally considered to be so different. I wanted to find a way of intwining both in my essay which is why chose to write about the melody of science. The school have been so supportive and I’m looking forward to entering next year.
Julia Pfeiffer said: “Since I was very young I have been fascinated with magnets. At Blackheath High School, I had the opportunity to study magnets in more depth and gained the knowledge to design my vision around electromagnetic levitation. I’m incredibly grateful to Miss Richards for supporting me, and Blackheath High School for providing such resourceful and inspiring science facilities. I intend to do more studies around electromagnetic and levitation. I am forever hopeful that there will be a future where travel will be less limited by terrain and the environmental impacts of fossil fuels. One day my ideas may become a reality!”
Carol Chandler-Thompson, Head Teacher at Blackheath High School, said: “We are so proud of our students for going so far in this competition. At Blackheath High School we value STEM very highly and are constantly instilling the belief in the girls that if they follow their passions then they will achieve great things. The fact that we have had so many students shortlisted for this award is testament to this.
Rebecca Richards, Chemistry Teacher at Blackheath High said: “A huge well done to Julia and Anwita for this amazing achievement. I’ve always been passionate about encouraging the girls to engage with science and love the creativity of this challenge. For many years there has been an unspoken rule that science is a realm for the boys. This couldn’t be further from the truth. This award shows that not only is STEM a subject for everyone, but also that the arts have a place within it too.”