On Saturday, 12 November 2022, some twenty female volunteers from CERN took part in the seventh edition of the science event organised by the Expanding Your Horizons – Geneva (EYH) association. The event, which takes place every other year, is designed to encourage girls to study and take up careers in mathematics, computing, natural sciences and technology.
More than 300 girls aged 11–14, living in Geneva and the surrounding area, took part. After a short welcome talk, the participants headed to the workshops and stands. Each girl could choose two 75-minute workshops from a selection of 23, covering a wide range of fields: physics, chemistry, mathematics, computing, engineering, technology, life sciences and planetary science. Between workshops, the girls had the opportunity to talk to professionals at the stands in the “Discovery Room”, where interactive scientific activities had been set up.
26 CERN ambassadors ran four activities: three workshops and a stand.
The workshop participants took on the challenge of building their own electromagnet. Like scientists seeking particles that cannot be seen, they used logic to figure out the contents of mystery boxes and, in so doing, make the invisible visible. Finally, with the help of the CERN volunteers, they explored how a website works and learned some computer language basics.
At the stand, which was run by female computing engineers and technicians, an impressive virtual visit of the CERN Data Centre plunged the girls into the heart of the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid. They also learned about the range of exciting professions relating to the creation of computer systems.
As well as the workshops and stands, the young “apprentices” visited the “Mentoring Café”, which was new this year and gave them the chance to chat informally, in small groups, with female professionals working in fields connected to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), hear their inspiring stories and discover how they got to where they are today.
Many thanks to the organisers of this highly successful event, as well as to all CERN volunteers, who were exemplary ambassadors. There can be no doubt that this day, jam-packed with conversations and discoveries, sparked the girls’ curiosity – it may even have set some of them on a course to their future careers.
You can find all the photos of the event here.