Springtime healthcare science blog


30 / 4 / 2014 10.30am

Sandra Richards is one of the Science Council's top 100 scientists and the engagement lead for Lab Tests Online UK. A chartered biomedical scientist by background, she is also a keen healthcare science ambassador and sits on the National Council of the Institute of Biomedical Sciences (IBMS).

Sandra's Springtime blog

Hello and welcome to my Springtime blog, the weather is becoming warmer and the flowers are starting to bloom! And we’ve also just had National Science & Engineering Week, and I hope it was great for you too. I was up at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham for 4 days of the Big Bang Fair. I worked as a Careers Captain and also was part of the careers activity ‘Meet The Future You’ and I met with and spoke to over 500 students in 21 sessions across the 4 days. Wow, it was so fast paced and crazy, but such great fun. 
The Careers Captains activity  enabled over 1,700 young people to enter the ‘Whose Crew’ sticker collection competition (and many more besides), meaning that over 7,000 careers conversations took place between Careers Captains and visitors over those 4 days. An absolutely bumper event this year, seeing some 70,000 visitors overall. Beating the year before! 
I was ‘Health Crew’ and my conversations with children were hilarious, and somewhat serious at times. I was told that ‘the tongue is the strongest bone in the body!’….
I was asked ‘If I poured acid into my eyes, what would I then need to add to neutralise the acid?’. This young lad had been learning all about the pH scale at school, and we had a great conversation about acids and alkalis – vinegar on chips, stomach acid, and car battery acid for example.
I was also asked ‘how many cigarettes would it take to get a person hooked’? I made sure I scared him away from smoking! Then his mum and I had a fantastic chat about the way in which we were able to shed the shackles of nicotine – by reading the ‘Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Stop Smoking’ book. 
I spoke to thousands of students (ages 5 to 19) about science and biomedical science careers, eating healthily, getting quality sleep, the dangers of sun bed use and it’s massive increase in malignant melanoma – many students said there should be an outright ban on sunbeds use in the UK. I couldn't agree more. We talked about checking one’s breasts and armpits, and I also include males in this, because men get breast cancer too. 
The conversations were many and varied, and I came away after four days on non-stop science utterly exhausted, but feeling great inside. 
And I had the absolute pleasure of seeing my nephew Daniel Saul there go on to win one of the ‘Young Engineer of the Year 2014’ awards, he will be going to Los Angeles in a few weeks to represent Great Britain at an International Young Engineer of the Year awards. Fingers crossed for him!
So if the Big Bang Fair wasn't enough, a few days later I did the same again at the 11th Annual Schools Science Conference held at the offices of the Royal College of Pathologists, this time I worked with the Institute of Biomedical Sciences. I helped to man a stand and to answer questions on biomedical sciences. Again I met lots of students and was able to talk to them about the many varied careers in biomedical and how they might become a future biomedical scientist.
I also won another award!

Remember, I'm always happy to answer any questions and hear from you. Drop me a line at Sandra.Richards@ouh.nhs.uk. 

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