Meet the Team- Naomi Davis
STEAMWORKS has been lucky to work with some incredible activity officers over the years. We spoke to one of them, Naomi, about leading primary school workshops, joining the team, and her STEM career ambitions.
The STEAMWORKS philosophy has always been that STEAM is for everyone. Being in the fantastic university city of Sheffield, we’ve been fortunate to work with inspirational engineering students and specialists to help us spread the message!
Naomi started working with us at the end of 2021. She’s a final year bioengineering student who, amongst a hectic university schedule, has led FabLab activities across Sheffield. Outside of her studies, you’ll find her powerlifting at the gym and on the committee of university societies like Muay Thai martial arts, Bhangra, or Women in Engineering.
With all that in mind, we wanted to know why Naomi has thrown STEAMWORKS into the mix too.
Why did you join STEAMWORKS?
Naomi found us at the University of Sheffield’s part time jobs fair. While you don’t need prior experience to work for us, Naomi certainly ticked the right boxes.
She said: “I previously spent two years as Project Leader for the Women In Engineering Society’s outreach programme where I really enjoyed leading similar STEM focussed after-school clubs.
“STEAMWORKS seemed like the perfect opportunity to continue to do what I enjoy, I’m especially passionate about empowering girls and minorities to know they can aim for a STEM focussed career.”
So, with previous experience, a passion for early years science outreach and an inexhaustible interest in STEM, Naomi was a perfect fit for the STEAMWORKS team. She began leading her first workshops soon afterwards.
Working at STEAMWORKS
Naomi is a club leader, we asked her to explain what that means: “My role in STEAMWORKS is leading the workshops, with the help of some wonderful helpers. This involves ensuring I have all the resources needed for the session and explaining it to the children in a way they will understand.
“It’s important to me that I explain the science or engineering behind the activity so the children learn something new each session. I often ask if they can explain what we did on previous weeks to see if they’ve remembered!”
It’s safe to say that STEAMWORKS isn’t like other part time uni jobs, so we know we’ll always get a fun answer when we ask what an activity officer’s favourite experiment is.
“I’d have to say my favourite activities are either slime or any activity involving a chemical reaction like lava lamps,” Naomi said, “they’re the ones that the children get most excited about!
“It’s often easier to keep the group engaged if they are more interested in the activity. They love when they get to take things home at the end of the session. Its amazing to see them showing off their creations to their parents at pick-up time.”
What do you get out of STEAMWORKS
For someone beginning their teaching or STEM careers, STEAMWORKS offers hugely valuable work experience. Naomi has already put it to good use. She made sure to mention her club leading in a recent interview and has successfully lined up a graduate job in engineering!
Naomi said: “STEAMWORKS has been a great thing to add to my CV and to talk about in graduate job interviews. It helps to show the companies that I have interests outside of my course, and it’s a bonus that it’s relevant to my discipline.
“It’s great to have this as an example of leadership or communication skills. Just think about how many people you will communicate with just in one session like managers, fellow leaders, helpers, the children, school teachers and receptionists.”
“Working at STEAMWORKS shows that you are able to show commitment and manage this with your uni studies, showing time management skills.”
But that’s enough about our activity officers! What about the primary school students at our FabLabs? Naomi think they gain a lot from the workshops.
She said: “First and foremost, they have a great time! They get to do things they have never done before whilst developing their practical skills and widening their vocabulary. I’ve seen over the weeks that certain children definitely gain confidence and want to participate more with the group. I hope they also learn a bit of new STEM knowledge as well! “
What would you say to other potential STEAMWORKS activity officers?
Unfortunately, Naomi’s time in Sheffield is coming to an end. We’ve got the job of finding other budding STEM communicators to lead our FabLab workshops. So we asked Naomi what she’d say to any potential new members of our team.
She told us: “If I was to persuade someone to join STEAMWORKS, I would tell them to not waste any time and go for it!
“It’s an amazing opportunity to develop leadership skills and grow your confidence. You receive a lot of support and guidance from staff.
“It’s so rewarding when you see the group enjoying the workshops and also learning something new! Attending the same school regularly means you get to know the kids and can build a nice relationship with them.”
” I have definitely enjoyed working with STEAMWORKS and wish I’d discovered it earlier in my university career!”