Passions and Projects
At 17 science journalism was in my sights via a chemistry and oceanography degree, but I was seduced by the structures of materials and finally semiconductors. This led me to a Masters and then PhD exploring solar cell technology.
I am driven by making thing work, understanding the why. But everything I do, needs to make a difference and have impact and be useful. I spent a good number of years getting technology out of the research lab into the market place and still love the buzz and excitement of bringing different groups of people together to explore opportunities for commercialising technology.
The projects below are all linked in some way to my thrill for how technology can transform lives and fortunes through tackling climate change, disaster relief and poverty. Here you’ll find details about the eclectic projects I have made happen and how I contribute to the public engagement in STEM.
My other passion is for diversity and inclusion and sharing my knowledge so I have also undertaken a number of roles on diversity committees for a number of organisations.
Discover Science Christchurch
Discover Science Christchurch
Building on local volunteers who helped bring science and engineering activities to Christchurch, Jan is co-founder of a community group working towards a science discovery centre. With funding from the Royal Society of Chemistry, the science of food and showcasing local innovations. ‘Discover Science Christchurch’ will be part of the Aster Homes development of the old police station site in the centre of Christchurch. Connect with DiscoverScienceChristchurch on Facebook
“One of our aims is to create a show-case for the science, technology and engineering that has been invented or developed in Christchurch. For example the black box data recorder, a technology that is now on every passenger plane, and amazing feats of engineering such as ultra-wide span hangars for the Worlds largest aircraft, and bridges in some of the most inaccessible places in the World.”
Safety clothing for women
On behalf of the Women’s Engineering Society I enjoyed working with engineers from Arup, Women and Manual Trades, the Association of Women in Property and WISE. Our aim was to draw attention to the lack of suitable PPE for women and to campaign for better technology to be incorporated into the design and fabric. The survey attracted the attention of BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour where WES members Jan Peters and Philippa Ayton discussed the issues.
The project was in part inspired by hidden stories of women’s contribution to shaping our society such as is uncovered in the Ladies Bridge story. A follow up survey took place in 2016 and the report was launched on National Women in Engineering day at a joint event by Prospect and WISE. And progress? still more to do but now major employers are supplying specially designed PPE that fits!
Community engagement – Time and Tide
My first degree was Chemistry with Oceanography and when I came to live in Christchurch with the double high tide I was thrilled to see the impact of the inland amphidromic point. So it came to be that I ended up working with economically disadvantaged young people to engage them with science and their local environment and storyteller, Martin Maudsley. The Time and Tide project was funded by Business Innovation and Skills and delivered in association with Christchurch Activities for Young People. Read the blog.
The image shows moons we created to explain the impact on the tide.
The BU Code Challenge was a three year project, initially supported by STEMNET and then Bournemouth University. The aim was to increase the number of and connect STEM Ambassadors that coded with schools to engage more young people in coding. The Challenge had tourism, sustainability and then health and fitness as a theme and challenged students to produce a game, website, app or even artwork. Find out more
Wanting to do more for my childrens’ schools than reading or being on the PTA I partnered with other science mums to create the science sisters project. We volunteered across our school pyramid to offer help and support to the science coordinators, deliver activities at the end of term and in science week and also run a pyramid wide science festival in science week. The project is being extended through the School Gate SET initiative.
I’m working with Kate Bellingham to extend the Science Sisters project and create pockets of active parents across the coutnry through the School Gate SET. SGS is a community of parents who volunteer to add hands-on confidence with Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths (STEM) in their children’s primary schools during the school day.
Thanks to a grant from the Royal Academy of Engineering’s “Ingenious” award scheme, we’re able to offer free practical training in a range of activities and confidence-building workshops as well as ongoing support from the network.
WOMEN OF STATION X – EARLY COMPUTER OPERATORS
The Women of Station X project was shaped and managed by Jan for the British Computer Society’s Women’s Group, BCSWomen, the project was conceived by Dr Sue Black, Bletchley Park Champion. The project was shaped and managed by Jan and became an oral history of the experiences and stories of the women who were located at Station X during World War II. The Oral histories were presented by Sue to the Bletchley Park director at an event held as part of the BCS 50th anniversary during National Science and Engineering Week. BCS member Conrad Black produced a video of the women of station X that can be used with primary students learning about the war and the role of women. Professor Sue Black OBE has now written a book Saving Bletchley Park and incldues the projetc.
Advisory and Steering Committees
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