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Summer school succeeds in informing students about careers in electronics

Students take part in an electronics lab session with Dr Geoff Merrett

More than 70 students took part in this year's electronics and computer science summer school organised by Dr Geoff Merrett and Dr Reena Pau of the University of Southampton. The annual summer school aims to attract prospective undergraduate students from across the UK and beyond to experience university living and learning.

The week-long course included lab work, lectures from leading academics, and visits to specialist facilities, such as the Tony Davies High Voltage Laboratory, the Southampton Nanofabrication Centre and Professor Mark Nixon's Biometric Gait Chamber.

The summer school provided A-Level students with an introduction to degree courses from electronic and electrical engineering to computer science and software engineering. Activities included using disguises to learn how facial recognition technology works, and visiting J P Morgan and Imagination Technologies to discover how technical skills are applied in business and industry.

Throughout the week students worked on a team challenge to design a technological solution for social good, before presenting their ideas to an audience of judges, parents and peers. The winning team conceived a sensor system for the homes of elderly and disabled people, which used image processing to recognise falls and would contact healthcare professionals as necessary. They claimed that their idea would decrease response time to accidents and foster a feeling of security for vulnerable people in their homes.

In a survey 100% of participants stated that they enjoyed taking part in the course, and now feel more informed about degrees and careers in electronics and computer science. Following the course, 44 students are intending to apply for degrees in electronics or computer science.

The organisers were delighted that over a quarter of participants were girls, a figure greatly above the national average for female students enrolled on electronics and computer science degrees. Johanna, a participant from Dorset, commented: "I am definitely doing a Bachelors in Computer Science."

Next year's electronics and computer science summer school at the University of Southampton will take place from 25 to 29 July 2016. Students about to start Year 12 can register their interest now.

Tom Austin-Morgan

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