Enhancing the Psychology Student Journey Through STEM Outreach

Kimberley Hill, Linda Davis-Sinclair

Research output: Contribution to ConferencePosterpeer-review


Psychology is a valuable Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) discipline, but one which could do far more at communicating its value to the wider public. This poster discusses Psychology’s inclusion in The University of Northampton’s STEM approach, considering challenges surrounding activity provision, recruitment, engagement and cross-discipline collaboration. It will be suggested that these activities enhance the Psychology STEM journey by providing students with valuable professional experience and by fostering the development of employability-related skills beyond those obtained during their degree. Despite challenges, Psychology STEM outreach activities not only improve participation and engagement, but may also improve Psychology’s STEM membership. Outline: This paper will focus on enhancing the Psychology student journey through STEM outreach. The University of Northampton has a unique, cross-university STEM Steering Group, which champions STEM activities and fosters cross-discipline collaboration across the University. Over the last two years, Psychology has been represented, for the first time, in a range of STEM outreach activities, including recruitment of Psychology students through the University of Northampton’s STEM Champions programme. A successful Psychology STEM Team Leader pilot initiative has also demonstrated the potential value for these activities on the Psychology STEM student journey. This work addresses how Psychology STEM outreach activities potentially increase HE participation in Psychology, as they enthuse young people with a new and exciting topic often only introduced at FE. In addition to this, Psychology educators involved in STEM outreach activities have the opportunity to use their subject-specific expertise to develop creative and inspiring learning environments, which could enhance their HE teaching and learning practice. Importantly, it will be suggested that involving HE students in STEM provision provides psychology graduates with essential knowledge, skills and experience of working within professional psychology-related environments, which is valuable for graduates success within competitive psychology careers. Those interested in this paper will be looking to enhance the STEM Psychology student journey, as well as increasing Psychology’s STEM membership and enhancing their learning and teaching practice. Educators and support staff both within and beyond Psychology may also be interested in this work. The poster will engage delegates by including photographs of Psychology STEM activities, feedback from students and staff involved in Psychology STEM provision and recommendations for future practice. It will also provide a critical insight into challenges related to Psychology STEM outreach activities. This poster will focus on a number of key areas: 1.Engaging the wider public in psychology •Psychology’s position in STEM •Importance of public engagement •Engagement issues 2.Psychology’s inclusion in STEM at UN: •STEM Steering Group, STEM Champions, Team Leader •Challenges related to activities, recruitment, engagement and collaboration •Staff and student Feedback 3.Conclusions and implications for practice •Psychology STEM membership •Student engagement •Implications for practice Key Messages: 1.Psychology is an important and impactful STEM subject, but more needs to be done to promote its value to the wider public. 2.Psychology STEM initiatives provide important public engagement and participation opportunities, which potentially reinforce Psychology’s STEM membership. 3.This work may enhance educator’s professional practice and student employability prospects, but must involve student representation.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017
EventHEA STEM Conference 2017: Achieving Excellence in Teaching and Learning - Manchester Conference Centre, Manchester, United Kingdom
Duration: 1 Feb 20172 Feb 2017


ConferenceHEA STEM Conference 2017: Achieving Excellence in Teaching and Learning
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • Psychology
  • STEM
  • Education
  • Children
  • Primary education
  • Secondary education
  • Further education
  • Aspirations


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