New Fellowship for STEM is full STEAM ahead

The University of Wolverhampton has appointed a Fellow of Public Engagement for Science, Engineering and Maths (STEM) – the first of its kind in the organisation.

Martin Khechara 39, from Wellington, is Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Science in the Faculty of Science and Engineering and joined the University of Wolverhampton in 2008 after working for the Ministry of Defence in their science technology laboratories.

The new role will see Martin promote the value of public engagement with the Faculty of Science and Engineering and will focus on developing ways in which the local community can work with the faculty to access STEM subjects.

Martin said:  “I’m really excited about my new role. It will include high profile collaborative public events and exhibitions in the local community as well as a series of more low key events like pub science nights where anybody can engage in discussion that really matters with our scientists.

“As a Fellow I’m aiming to reach out into the local community and raise aspirations in people, parents, children - anyone really - and show them that they can be a success in Science, Technology and Engineering subjects and try to dispel the myth that STEM subjects are just for geeks. I want to be able to inspire those people that may be from more deprived backgrounds and show them university is for them too, it’s not just for posh kids.

“I also want to bring the arts into STEM to make ‘STEAM’. There is science in everything - the biology of movement in dance, the sound and physics in music - so why shouldn’t we combine it all to make even more engaging experiences for the community? Performance and science theatre is something that I like very much and I’m hoping to explore this more in my role.”  

Professor Nazira Karodia, Acting Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering at the University of Wolverhampton, said: “Martin has developed a unique and engaging teaching style and is highly regarded by students and staff as being a truly inspirational lecturer. His greatest passion is the communication of science and engaging the public in science and debate, having real talent for making even the most complicated of topics understandable.

“The University is committed to promoting STEM subjects – especially to girls and women – and Martin will be key to championing these subjects through a wide and varied programme of public engagement events.”

Martin has a keen interest in technology and how people use it to learn in the classroom and much of his current research at the university is in this area where he is investigating ways to use video and virtual reality to help people learn skills better in the laboratory.

He also established the performance science group, Science Shack, a group of academics and technical experts which use exciting demonstrations, interactive theatre and comedy to engage school children and the wider public in all aspects of science. The group has received awards for innovation and the quality of the experiences it has given to hundreds of children and adults over the last few years and continues to promote science across the West Midlands.

Anyone interested in studying at the University of Wolverhampton should visit the next Open Day on Saturday 4th February 2017.

ENDS

For more information please contact the Media Relations Office on 01902 32 2736 or 01902 518647.

Date Issued:  3rd February 2017

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