Until May 12, more than 100 STEM influencers, young engineers, technicians and scientists from 35 different chemical and pharmaceutical companies will give nearly 150 guest talks. It happens in schools in Flanders to inspire more girls and boys for science and technology, in short STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics).
On April 21, 2023, approximately 200 Don Bosco Haacht students experienced an interactive STEM day of action with guest lessons from eight STEM influencers. They gave a chemistry fair with Technopolis and a look at the innovations of the future in the field of climate, energy, environment and health.
Studies show that still too few girls and boys opt for a technical or scientific course. STEMfluencers want to change that. Because a sustainable future requires more technology, digital crackers, math and science heroes.
By speaking passionately about their studies and how they use these STEM skills in their work today, they try to make more young people enthusiastic about chemistry and science, engineering and technology.
Of the eight STEM influencers, all under the age of 35 are engineers and lab workers from chemical and pharmaceutical companies. Such as Jonas Caes (BASF), Yannick Engelmann (Evonik), Roeben Floren (BASF), Pieter Mampuys (Covestro), Joris Panis (Novartis), Tim Truyens (Celanese), Maja Vanhalle (Borealis) and Sari Walscharts (INEOS Inovyn) . Emiel Dehouwer, former student of Don Bosco Haacht and science vlogger at Technopolis, the Flemish DIY center for science and technology in Mechelen, created the wow effect with a dazzling chemistry show full of spectacular experiments.
Essencia and Vlajo work together at STEMfluencers. Ann Wurman, director of essenscia Vlaanderen: “Together with our STEM influencers, we want to convince young people that STEM is the future. That they can really make a difference with this scientific knowledge and these technical skills to help design and produce the sustainable innovations of tomorrow. You don’t just choose STEM. You are doing this to have a positive climate, environment and health impact in your future employment. It’s great that so many chemical and pharmaceutical companies are sending enthusiastic STEM influencers to empower thousands of young people.
Peter Coenen, director Vlajo“Science and technology are at the heart of the gigantic challenges facing our society. A new generation of boys and girls has the potential to create solutions. As true role models, STEM influencers convey their passion for STEM to students through a lively talk and from their daily practice. To make it clear that you can confidently face the future with STEM skills and can contribute to a better and sustainable world.
Don Bosco Haacht
David Vanreusel, director of the Don Bosco Haacht college: “STEM is not a buzzword for our school, but a label of quality. Our team of passionate teachers launched a high-quality STEM offering in a short time. With result: 161 first years followed the STEM talent module and 178 second years opted for STEM-Technieken, STEM-Sciences or Modern Languages-Sciences. This means that half of the students in our college follow a STEM direction. A positive development as our society counts on more STEM talents.
INEOS process engineer
Sari Walscharts, STEMfluencer and process engineer at INEOS Inovyn: “Being a STEMfluencer is super cool. I am allowed to share my practical experience and knowledge with young people. This way I can show that sometimes boring textbook formulas are very useful for making new inventions or making better materials later in your job. I’m doing this for the second year in a row because I think it’s important to inspire boys, but especially girls, for science and technology. Because it is the generation that is in school today that will contribute to providing solutions for greater sustainability tomorrow.
“Food expert. Unapologetic bacon maven. Beer enthusiast. Pop cultureaholic. General travel scholar. Total internet buff.”