Friday, 8 January 2016

Introducing Helen

My name is Helen Roberts, the newest recruit to the School Gate SET.

My STEM Background: I have a degree in Physics and a PhD in Astronomy. I worked as a research scientist in the field of Molecular Astrophysics for nine years, studying chemistry in space in order to probe fundamental processes such as star birth and star death.

When my final research contract ended in 2009, I was pregnant with my first child. My partner, an electronics designer, had always wanted to work for himself and I wanted to work part-time while our children were small, so, in 2011, we founded Redfern Electronics. Our second child was born in November 2012.

Initially I managed the financial side of the business, but as its focus has changed from consulting, to designing and manufacturing our own products, my role has expanded, too. I have learned to solder and spent many naptimes armed with a pair of tweezers, placing tiny components onto circuit boards, until we were finally able to invest in more sophisticated machinery. We now focus on developing and promoting low-cost science and electronics equipment for schools. In support of this, I write blog posts demonstrating simple project ideas, often "helped" by my children (now aged 3 and 6).

I am very excited to now have this opportunity to help grow the School Gate SET community. I have registered as a STEM ambassador and will be contacting the Science Co-ordinator at my son's school to offer my help. I look forward to connecting with other parents and sharing our experiences inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers.

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