The first ever STEM Summer Camp for girls recently took place at Nexus - Camborne Science and International Academy’s STEM centre of excellence - with 27 girls from all over Cornwall taking part over three days.

Dr Jo Foster, director of Nexus, said: “We are absolutely delighted that our summer camp was such a success.

“In the UK, it’s an ongoing problem that not enough young people are choosing to study STEM subjects and females are particularly underrepresented. Nothing like this has ever been held before in Cornwall and our girls were incredibly excited to be involved.”

On the first day, the Royal Navy’s Lt. Helen Forster, leading hand Ana Roberts and Lt. Cdr. Niky Wallace led the girls through two workshops. During the sessions, the group learned how a jet propulsion engine works, designed and tested rockets, learnt about wing shapes, created helicopter blades and made obstacle courses for the other teams to try.

Dr Foster said: “We can’t afford to wait until girls are in college to foster their interest in STEM - it’s about inspiring them through events like this from an early age, providing role models and giving them practical experience.

“It was a jam-packed three days from start to finish with the girls captivated throughout.

“They took part in an Engineering challenge where towers were made from marshmallows and spaghetti, then marked according to their design, their height and their weight-bearing capacity. Very unusual activities and lots of fun”

On the second day the girls made a pH column and their own indicators with vegetables, and then explored the big mystery of Hogwarts - who had poisoned Dumbledore. They used flame tests on samples from the suspects’ shoes to find out.

On the last day the girls took part in a day of astronomy, finding out all about the sun, comets and asteroids, and using microscopes to find their very own micro-meteorites to take home with them. They also took part in a stargazing tutorial so that they can take their own family stargazing.

Izzy Curphey, from Rosemellin Primary School said: “I really enjoyed it. The thing I enjoyed most was the Space Day…it was amazing.”

Imogen Spurring, from St. Mary’s Primary School in Truro, added: “I loved the Summer Camp and would like to do it all again. It really got me into science, engineering and astronomy.”

The Summer Camp finished with a presentation event for the girls and their parents, where their many achievements over the past few days were recognised. Thea Sladen from St. Buryan Primary School in Penzance won the award for Most Promising Young Chemist, Isabel Sewell from Bosvigo Primary School in Truro was awarded Most Promising Young Astronomer, and Agnes Wade, also from Bosvigo School, won Most Promising Young Engineer.

CSIA principal Ian Kenworthy added: “Not only was the Summer Camp designed to inspire everyone involved, but to build confidence in STEM - a highly-skilled, highly-paid, high-growth sector industry - and foster a passion for these subjects from an early age.

“It’s vital to encourage girls to pursue these fields of interest, to break down stereotypes and showcase what incredibly creative and fulfilling careers they can have in the STEM industries.”