Laser Quantum has recently been involved in an initiative to encourage students to further their interest in physics through a project-based collaboration. Laser Quantum was paired with Manchester High Schools for Girls, where four girls worked alongside Laser Quantum’s Natasha Cutmore to design and develop a prototype cutting press. They spent time at the company, gaining a real insight into the opportunities available within the physics industry. The project culminated with an assessment day in which the students had to write a report, present a poster and attend an assessment interview justifying their procedures.
Laser Quantum was awarded two certificates for its collaboration, the ‘Engineering Educational Scheme’ award from the EDT and a ‘Gold Award Certificate’ from the Industrial Cadets. Both of these awards show the organisation's dedication to the community and encouragement for young scientists of the future to follow a career in physics.
Natasha Cutmore, project lead for Laser Quantum, said: ‘I’m very impressed with the work and effort put in by the students on the project and the passion they have for this subject. The physics industry is under represented by women, so it is great to work with four girls who are so enthusiastic. Hazel Stephenson from MEL chemicals, who did a speech at the assessment day, was very inspiring and I think the whole scheme was a success.’
Amy Howard, Laser Quantum’s representative for the assessment panel said ‘The scheme is fantastic – the students are so enthusiastic, engaged and creative with their project solutions, it is wonderful to see. I was a student on this scheme in 2009/10 and it was a great experience and sparked my interest in physics, so it is nice to now be involved on the assessment side.’
Laser Quantum is always looking to encourage an interest in the photonics industry and promote women in physics, especially in such a male orientated industry.