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STEM Events

Big Bang Event 

Celebrate Science week at the UCL Academy. 

Enjoy a day of hands-on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) from industry, research and education. This is a chance to join UCL Academy and many more organisations from across STEM to be inspired in careers and creativity. All students aged 11-19 are welcome to come along for a full day of hands-on activities. More information can be found here: https://nearme.thebigbangfair.co.uk/Event/?e=2540

Acorn Hackathon

As part of the Global Entrepreneurship Week, Acorn Aspirations, in partnership with UnLtd organised a 2-day Hackathon-style event. 100 young people aged 16-19 collaborated with University tech students and mentors from the TechCity community to develop 11 tech start-ups that solve social problems in their local communities and worldwide.

AcornHack embarked on a mission to unlock young people's entrepreneurial potential by inspiring them to get creative with coding, programming and digital technology. The purpose of this event was to equip young people with tools that will enable them to become change-makers and entrepreneurs of their own lives.

The UCL Academy embraced the opportunity to be part of such an enterprising event, sending a number of teams to take part. Most notably, all-female team Natural Network (made up of Sixth From students Sarah, Neila, Nohamin, Ona and Shayma) received the Most Investible Idea Award and the 'I can't believe it doesn't exist' award for creating an app/platform that allows women with curly, kinky and /or afro hair to connect with each other, embrace their locks, and find products that suit them.   

They also received a range of prizes including:

  1. Demo Day in front of investors at TechHub (Google Campus)
  2. Day in an office experience at Firefly
  3. Virtual Reality sets
  4. Free Codeacademy classes in UX/HTML/CSS
  5. Eligibility for UnLtd grant
  6. Free pitching workshop with Metaspeech
  7. Rob Fitzpatrick books
  8. Free tickets to all team members to TechCrunch Disrupt - worth £800-£1200 each
  9. Masterclass with Will King - half day

Sarah, captain of the Natural Network team was also the proud recipient of a Samsung Galaxy tablet which recognised her incredible effort of coding the app using MIT App Inventor.

The UCL Academy prides itself on providing real-world experiences that set their students up for life beyond secondary school and university. The Academy also has a real emphasis on promoting STEM and entrepreneurial careers, especially to female students. 

Diarmuid Molloy, Assistant Principal for STEM at The Academy said: "I am so proud of all the hard work and commitment of all The UCL Academy teams that took part in AcornHack. In particular, the success of our all-girl team, Natural Network, is a true testament to the potential of women in tech-related industry."

Acorn Aspirations founder Elena Sinel said: "This is the first event of its kind and our hope is to inspire and empower young people through technology and entrepreneurship in order for them to become change makers and entrepreneurs of their own lives."

Judges from the AcornHack competition included Mike Butcher - Editor-at-Large TechCrunch, Will King - CEO King of Shaves, Sherry Coutu - Investor at LinkedIn, Nancy Fechnay - Interim Director at Techstars, Neeta Patel - CEO New Entrepreneurs Foundation, Tanya Laird - CEO Digital Jam and Emily Atkinson - Senior Software Engineer from Moo.

After the jam-packed weekend where teenagers learned coding, branding, marketing through social media and pitching, as well as collaborated with developers to create prototypes, all teams will now continue to be mentored to ensure that every idea has the best chance to progress from a prototype into a viable business. 

The following tech start-ups have been created:

  • Provo: an app/platform to gamify/simplify charity donations/engagement inspired by the success of the 2014 Ice Bucket Challenge.
  • Musinex: A platform to match people with similar music interests, to go to concerts together, rather than staying at home listening to Spotify.
  • Sportaneous: An app that hosts video content of 'how to' practice in terms of sports (football, basketball) and engages members to collaborate and also geo-locates sporting venues.
  • TapOn: An app for people visiting cities, helping them find out things to do, and then directing them there, taking a cut from the participating establishments.
  • Restricted: An app that helps prevent 'excessive' use of social media, helping people concentrate on the real world, rather than the social one.
  • WEEEdrop: An app to help people recycle their electronic gadgets and white goods.
  • Natural Network: An app/platform that allows women with curly, kinky and/or afro hair to connect with each other, embrace their locks, and find products that suit them. 
  • Helpr: A free peer-to-peer visual learning platform where students can share LIVE interactive white-board sessions with each other.
  • TeenTasker: Think TaskRabbit for Teens. A platform where young people can start off doing tasks at a certain level, the 'level up' to get better, paying tasks as they prove themselves. 
  • Clone: An app/platform allowing young people to express themselves and emotional state, ask for help and interact as part of a community. A mix of Secret/Whispr.

The overall winning team was a group of 5 girls from Tower Hamlets that came up with StudyPlus - an EdTech app for teens, 'gamifying' revisions and helping students revise more effectively, both 'competitively' and 'collaboratively'. 

Judges have commented in the following ways:

"It is truly inspiring to see that so many young people have sacrifices their weekend to progress with their venture for social good. These are exactly the type of young people UnLtd wants to support, full of passion, ideas and the desire to transform the world in which they live." - Zain Miah (UnLtd).

"I've been amazed by a few things this weekend. Firstly, these young people turning up on a cold wet Saturday morning, and sacrificing two days to their ideas. Second, the ideas are incredible! I'm really, really impressed. Each idea has been considered deeply from both a human and impact perspective. It's exciting to be here, there is a lot of talent in the room." - Edmund Ovington (Percolate).

About Acorn Aspirations

Acorn Inspirations is an award-winning early stage EdTech social enterprise on a mission to connect disadvantaged young people aged 11-19 with technology and unleash their creative entrepreneurial potential by providing them with a digital platform and opportunities to conceive ideas, raise funding through our dedicated crowdfunding platform AcornFund, develop businesses, get mentoring and work experience in tech companies and corporates. For more information about AcornHack please visit: http://acornaspirations.co.uk/

STEM Week 2015 

The UCL Academy has Science, Technology, Maths and Engineering (STEM) at the heart of its curriculum and on March 16th - 20th we celebrated STEM week at The Academy with a series of fun packed events. 

Our objectives for all students in Foundation, Level 1 and 1 +, Level 3 and 3+ were:

  • To get a major STEM experience that draws together the STEM discrete subject knowledge, in responding to creative authentic challenge situations and the opportunity to work alongside a volunteer entrepreneur from the 'Founders 4 Schools' organisation.
  • To challenge the misconceptions and prejudices that prevents women thinking about STEM as a career choice.
  • To make links between learning, careers, work experience and a palette of skills that are necessary to compliment academic achievement for future success. 
  • Engage with the community on many different levels.
  • To provide encounters with excellence, especially with successful female STEM entrepreneurs from very diverse backgrounds. 

The key events included a visit from Dr Wu, an expert on black holes, a collaborative programme of STEM activities with primary school pupils, an Astronomy trip, a viewing of the solar eclipse, and a number of assemblies hosting a wide range of prominent women CEOs and company founders.