Meet Claire Willis, the new addition to the STEM Ambassador Hub North East. Claire joins the team as a temporary maternity cover for Education Relationship Manager Jen Lee.
Bringing a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the team with over 25 years’ experience in the science education arena, Claire joins the STEM Hub at a perfect time of positive change, development and ongoing growth.
Claire, tell us about your experience in the STEM arena to date in a nutshell.
In a nutshell will be interesting! Let’s see what I can manage!
I am a Biology graduate with over 25 years’ experience in the science communication field.
My experience to date includes running my own company Fusion STEM Ltd, working the Science Learning Centre North East delivering their outreach programme and eventually as Deputy Director.
Previous to this I was appointed as Education Manager at the Centre for Life, Newcastle’s Millennium project in 1998 and was responsible for working alongside the exhibition designers in the development of the educational content within the attraction and related programmes.
I started my career as Displays Manager at the Tynemouth Sea Life Centre where I was responsible for animal husbandry as well as the development and delivery of the schools and public engagement activities within the centre.
As I love the link between science and theatre, I also toured the UK’s first science pantomime reaching over 30,000 young people and their teachers over a period of 5 years.
I am a registered consultant to STEM Learning and have delivered Continual Professional Development (CPD) to teachers both nationally and internationally. I am a Director of a local theatre company, a School governor and a fellow of the Royal Society of Biology.
What was your role prior to joining the STEM Ambassador Hub North East?
Prior to joining the team at RTC North, I was managing my own business Fusion STEM for six years. We delivered after school STEM Clubs across the North East region as well as leading CPD for teachers.
I also ran the Nuffield research placement contract on behalf of the Nuffield Foundation and the CREST Awards scheme on behalf of the British Science Association.
I also was a consultant to STEM Learning delivering their Intensive ENTHUSE Award scheme as well as their Polar Explorer Programme (PEP), both working directly with Primary school teachers and their pupils.
At the beginning of January 2016, I worked in Oman developing an education programme for staff as part of the Royal Botanic Gardens.
What are you expecting from your new role as part of the STEM Hub at RTC?
To continue with my previous work in the STEM field working with industry and schools and encouraging young people to enjoy science and to consider a career in STEM.
What will your main focus be in your new role?
Providing support for local schools, specifically focusing on engaging priority primary and secondary schools as well as training STEM Ambassadors.
What are the top three things you like about what you do?
- I love working with young people of all ages, inspiring and engaging them in Science.
- I like the flexibility and creativity of being able to run different types of activities and/or events.
- Working with people from all backgrounds – teaching, academia and industry encouraging them to work together.
What is your greatest achievement to date?
Having my son! But apart from that, I was a finalist in the North East Business Woman of the Year awards in 2017 and I am currently a fellow of the Royal Society of Biology.
Find out more about the STEM Ambassador Hub North East here.