Reena Pau is an enthusiastic communicator who is inspiring the next generation of computer scientists. She is passionate about introducing young people to the world of electronics and increasing the number of women entering the technology sector. Reena visits schools to run motivational sessions and full-day programmes as the Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) department’s Outreach Officer.
As part of her PhD, Reena explored factors which influence how female students perceive electronics and computing careers at different ages. Her research was applied in work with 11 to 19-year-olds as a computing workshop coordinator for the Technocamps project and later as a freelance diversity consultant.
Today, Reena is thriving as the ECS Outreach Officer and was recipient of a Vice-Chancellor’s Award in July 2015. As part of her role she can often be found at local schools running assemblies, classes and full-day workshops on the world of technology. “It’s the most inspiring thing in the world,” she says. “With a finite amount of resource, we can make the biggest impact.”
Contact Reena if you’re interested in supporting or helping with the department’s outreach and public engagement activities. “We’d love for people to come with me into schools and see what we do,” Reena says. “It’s the best possible thing you could do with your time. Teach young people what you’re passionate about.” You can get in touch with Reena using the contact form on this page.
Companies can support Reena’s work by offering role models, sharing advice and contributing to outreach activities. “Let’s get what you’re doing into our workshops,” she says.
A typical school visit would begin with an assembly on a chosen subject before Reena leads a class for a day. She would set them a challenge on a topic such as educating younger children about healthy eating and get the group to look for technological solutions to achieve their goal. She often uses games to make these challenges seem more exciting. The pupils present the outcome to their parents at the end of the day and other classes later in the week as they demonstrate what they’ve learned.
“The best thing about my job is seeing young people progress,” Reena says. “We track students from Year Seven onwards and see what subjects they do. We know of students who are opting to do computing at GCSE and students getting tutors to learn more about maths so they can consider a technology degree. We are opening their eyes.”