Capitalising on curiosity
King’s PhD student Sweta Raghavan (pictured, below) saw just how few disadvantaged students were participating in higher education and decided to do something about it.
With the help of King’s, she set up Scientists & Co, a charity that aims to promote fair access to education for all children and to develop a culture of scientific curiosity in young people who might never have considered it as a subject or career. With that in mind, she set about developing programmes to help children from disadvantaged backgrounds to learn about science, have the opportunity to gain exciting experiences and, ultimately, build successful scientific careers.
Its main programme, Shadow a Scientist, offers children from low-participation schools a placement at King’s. These children (usually in Years 12-13) get to shadow researchers and enjoy taster workshops.
Following a pilot in July last year, the charity has run three more sessions. So far, it has mentored 98 students from more than 30 schools. Nine out of 10 of the students on the programme subsequently gained university offers, 63 per cent of which were at Russell Group institutions.
Another programme grew out of the charity’s belief that, as science has no borders, so students around the globe must benefit from knowledge of cutting-edge research.
Science Without Borders offers the opportunity, via webinars, for young people to gain insights from academics at some of the world’s leading institutions into the world of science and the life of a scientist.