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A Year with ‘Sophia’s Story’

Sophia's Story - AI generated image

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As we wrap up the first year of ‘Sophia’s Story,’ funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund, the journey unfolds with achievements, lessons, and a deep sense of purpose on our way to improving gender representation in engineering and inspiring children to embrace STEM education.

In the first year of ‘Sophia’s Story,’ we sponsored five women to join the Stemazing Inspiration Academy. This sponsorship enabled their training as STEM educators, leading to the successful delivery of six STEM after-school clubs to 87 local children and helped with the transformation of the Brunel Museum’s offerings to families. As one of the women participating in the Academy, it has been a transformative chapter in my life and career. Through this program, I expanded my comfort zone, gained confidence in public speaking, and kickstarted my career at the Brunel Museum as ‘Family Learning Coordinator’ first and now as ‘Learning and Engagement Producer’, in charge of the development of the ‘Sophia’s Story’ project.

Extending our commitment, the second strand of ‘Sophia’s Story’ now reaches out to secondary schools (KS3), presenting engaging workshops designed to spread awareness of gender stereotypes prevalent in STEM disciplines through the eyes of Sophia McNamara Brunel, the “Brunel in petticoats.” By delving into both historical challenges and introducing contemporary issues, our aim is to empower students to pursue their careers without the constraints of pre-existing limitations and challenge the stereotypes for a more equitable future.

With the third strand of ‘Sophia’s Story,’ the Brunel Museum will aim to expand its display, envisioning an experience that elevates the representation of women in engineering. Collaborating with students from Bacon’s College, we’ll embark on a film project to showcase the historical and contemporary achievements of women in engineering.

As we progress, your continued support remains instrumental to the success of ‘Sophia’s Story.’ We are committed to keeping you informed about the project’s developments. The journey ahead, marked by collaboration, empowerment, and breaking barriers, is one we embark on with gratitude and enthusiasm.

We’ll be piloting the second strand of the project in the new year.
If you’re interested in hosting a ‘Sophia’s Story’ session at your school, please get in touch here.

Have a wonderful Christmas and a very happy new year.


Gabriella Codastefano
Learning and Engagement Producer
The Brunel Museum

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