In celebration of National Biomechanics Day 2023 (Wednesday 5 April), the Biomechanics Research Group within LJMU’s School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, delivered an exciting, fun-filled, activity packed event with schoolgirls from a Liverpool primary school.
Led by postgraduate researcher Bex Walker, and supported by Dr Richard Foster, the event - Women in Biomechanics: A Powerful Force – aimed to promote women in biomechanics and was externally funded by the National Biomechanics Day initiative and International Women in Biomechanics.
Women, especially those from marginalised groups, are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics professions around the world. Diversifying role models for our existing and future students of all ages is crucial. It is possible to do this by participating in outreach activities with schools to challenge the stereotypes of what biomechanics is, what scientists “look like”, and ensuring all children know of their belonging in the world of sport and exercise.
The National Biomechanics Day initiative offered the perfect opportunity to provide a successful, empowering event with female role models at the forefront for 25 schoolgirls aged 10 and 11 years old from Much Woolton Catholic Primary School in Liverpool.
The girls visited LJMU’s world-leading biomechanics research environment. They explored biomechanics in a friendly and enjoyable way through discovery, experiment and play. Activities focused on how to use 3D motion capture to track both sport and clinical focused movements, how foot pressure changes during walking, how to make stairs safer for older adults, and how to help an injured athlete return-to-play.
Each activity was led by female postgraduate research students, undergraduate students or female biomechanics staff, who were able to engage children in biomechanics and be role models to showcase how women in biomechanics are indeed a powerful force.
Bex Walker, Postgraduate Researcher at LJMU, said: “Our event offered the opportunity for young girls to envision themselves working in STEM and sparked interest into a discipline of science outside of anything they may have seen before in the classroom.”
Miss Rogerson, teacher at Much Woolton Catholic Primary School said: “Today the girls have got that outlook that science isn't just science, there's so many strands to science, especially as girls growing to be women, there's no reason why they can't go down those avenues and I think they've become very interested in biomechanics and how it works.”
Children completed the day leaving with smiles, bags, pens, stickers and takeaway messages of how they too can be a powerful force in science.
Many thanks are offered to Much Woolton Catholic Primary School, The National Biomechanics Day Initiative, International Women in Biomechanics and all staff and students involved in creating an inspiring day.
Video created by Fabian Nowak, final year undergraduate, Liverpool Screen School.