WIT’s Calmast brings STEM fun to GSK Family Day

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Three WIT postgraduate students demonstrated the fun side of STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) and engaging with more than 1,300 visitors

On Sunday, 11 August 2019, the GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) site in Dungarvan hosted their annual GSK Family Day at the Ballinroad Soccer Club in Dungarvan.

For the second year in a row, Calmast, Waterford Institute of Technology’s STEM Engagement Centre, took part in this event. WIT postgraduates Mariana Gavendova, Thomas Byrne and David Conway demonstrated the fun side of STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) and engaging with more than 1,300 visitors of all ages.

Stimulating curiosity

Mariana and Thomas, both research postgraduates at WIT’s Pharmaceutical and Molecular Biotechnology Research Centre (PMBRC) regularly showcase activities at various events across the South East. “We brought maths games and chemistry activities to this event which turned out to be great mind teasers for all the family members”, says Mariana. “While the math games led to a few head scratchings, particularly with some of the sets of pentominoes, the chemistry station on the other hand sparked some very stimulating discussion and curiosity.”

Mariana and Thomas agree: “This as an inspiring opportunity for the younger audience and hopefully the start of a career for many future chemists. It is always magical to see the faces of kids when they discover the unusual colour changes many chemical reactions offer.”

Once again, Calmast delivered just that. The show stopper was the tornado in the bottle, which inspired and encouraged many tornado enthusiasts and appeared to even lead to a number of future STEM fun clubs. “It was overall a successful event – luckily mainly because we avoided the rain,” say all three postgrads. “Thank you again GSK for having us and especially to the event organisers who were quick to facilitate any extras needed on the day, so big thanks to you guys!”

About Calmast

Calmast is Waterford Institute of Technology’s STEM Engagement Centre. Calmast was founded in 2003 and runs several festival and a myriad of activities in all areas of STEM. Calmast’s events engaged more than 20,000 participants in 2018 in the region. The guiding spirit is “STEM for all” with particular efforts to ensure inclusion regardless of gender, socio-economic background, ability or location. In addition Maths Ireland was founded and is run by Calmast engages over 400,000 in Ireland and Northern Ireland annually through Maths Week in October. 

About PMBRC

The Pharmaceutical and Molecular Biotechnology Research Centre (PMBRC) is an applied research centre which aims to support the sustainable growth of the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry in the south east of Ireland. Situated in the heart of the region on the WIT campus, the centre seeks to stimulate research and innovation, allowing companies to embed R&D into their activities. One of 15 Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateways, the PMBRC consists of a 800 m2 state-of-the-art facility with 34 highly-trained research personnel. The PMBRC has established links with national and international partners in industry, academia and medical care institutions.


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