The STEM Challenge trophy and individual cash prizes for themselves and their school were awarded to the team ‘Fresher, Faster Water Supplies’ from South Wilts Grammar School this year. Five teams from three schools, totalling 21 girls, entered the competition, now in its second year, to encourage local girls into careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The competition for girls in years 8&9 in local schools was sponsored by Gilo Industries Group of Semley, and run by Salisbury Soroptimists. The teams were asked to research what simple sustainable innovation could make life better for people living in poverty in the developing world.  They were challenged to design and create a prototype.

The winning team focused on providing eco-friendly and sustainable water supplies to Yemen. Their entry made use of aluminium piping and solar-powered batteries for a generator to pump the water.

Judges were Helen Harrison, Deputy Head of Electrical Engineering and Construction at Wiltshire College, Rhian Griffith, Design Engineer at Gilo Industries and Cerys Rees, Fellow at DSTL. Announcing the results, Lisa Scandling, Chairman of the Judges and President Elect of the new Soroptimist Club said: “It was a difficult task to make a choice between the excellent entries. We were particularly impressed by the high level of research carried out by the winning team in their study of the issues, and their great teamwork.”

The judges selected runners-up, Starchy St Ed’s of St Edmund’s Girls School, who they felt showed a strong approach to project planning and research through several experiments. She paid tribute to all five teams for their “high level of presentation, the level of research and the dedication of time that each team had put in and the teamwork you all showed.”

At the award ceremony hosted by South Wilts UTC, Rhian Griffith, Design Engineer from sponsors Gilo Industries presented the prizes, and a bespoke trophy designed and manufactured by Apsley Precision Engineering.

Other schools’ finalists who received certificates of achievement were Tomorrow’s Masterminds, Dauntsey’s Team 2 from Dauntsey’s School, and SITNC from St Edmund’s Girls School.

The second Salisbury STEM Challenge starts in September, and girls in KS 3&4 in local schools have until February, 2020, half term to develop their entries.

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