Saturday, 26 August 2017

August Trip I: Lablinn x Stemettes in London

I finished work at my job on the 28th of July, so August has been full of travel, to London, Prague, Brno and Vienna -- only one of which, amazingly, was a business trip. 

On the 2nd of August, I went to London for two days courtesy of the Stemettes to set up a collaboration between them and Lablinn, by creating content on Lablinn's key topics (antibiotic resistance, vaccination and open science) for science clubs the Stemettes support girls around the UK to run. 

I'll have plenty of photos to show you from my tour of the Continent, but I didn't really get to do much tourism on this trip, so there's that. 

Day 1

I spent Day 1 creating new, more hands-on activities for STEMillions clubs and Lablinn workshops in antibiotics, vaccination and citizen science alongside the Stemettes and two interns. I'm really happy with the activities -- for the STEMillions clubs, they've been combined with stuff on cool female scientists, and for Lablinn I think they'll really add a lot to the workshops. 

After we finished working for the day, I had a little bit of time before going to bed so I went shopping for materials for the new workshops and oh man I am happy that I now have an excuse to buy lots of fluorescent things. 

Also, here's a nice photo I took from the plane on the way to London -- I think it looks like a painting. 

Day 2

Day 2 was the STEMillions Leadership Academy, where the STEMettes flew over a bunch of girls to teach them how to start a STEMillions club. I thought it was hilarious that we had an Agile workshop to start the day because that's the kind of corporate-speak that's become a bit of a laughing stock. After that, we practised elevator pitching ourselves and then got set up on all the STEMettes networks. 

To end the day, we went up to the trading floors (the event was held at Bank of America Merill Lynch in London, a place I spent an hour looking for in the morning after getting off the train) and learned about what they do. I learned that traders are basically just salespeople because the algorithms do the work. I also asked our guide what the purpose of BAML (an investment bank) is, because y'know medical researchers cure diseases, civil engineers build bridges, and I don't really understand why people would work somewhere that just passes money around. It did help me figure out my philosophy a bit more -- I realised that I don't actually mind if people aren't saving the world with their jobs like I want to, as long as they're doing something, making something. So for example Snapchat isn't saving the world, but it's a thing you can point at that you made. Money, at least to me, is not supposed to be the end goal -- it's supposed to be an indicator of value created -- and it seems like banks etc are just short-circuiting, skipping the value and going straight to the money. I think everyone should be able to answer "What's the purpose of your work?" proudly. 

It was also interesting to learn that they have whole floors of researchers upstairs, with e.g. one person whose job it is to know all about handbags.

I also met someone who ended up becoming a Lablinn team member there, Alexandra, which was cool. 

So that was London! It was a cool trip, and many thanks to the Stemettes for my flights and lovely hotel. Excited to continue working with the Stemettes to finish up those STEMillions lesson plans and to apply the work to Lablinn -- which, while I was away had a temporary logo made by one of our graphic designers, Eoin. 

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