Student expands pioneering business to encourage even more children to love science

A student will be expanding the innovative business she set up to teach young people about maths and science after graduating this summer.

Jessica Okoro won £1,000 plus a package of support at De Montfort University Leicester's (DMU) Pitch2Win awards, helping her to concentrate full time on her BeScience STEM movement over the coming year.

Jessica main

Around 4,000 youngsters have already been inspired by creative learning sessions run by Jessica and a team of volunteers at shopping centres, libraries and pop-up shops.

Winning the entrepreneurship award means the Pharmaceutical and Cosmetic Science student can encourage even more children to love science.

Jessica said: "BeScience STEM is going really well and I have a few collaborations with big companies in the pipeline.

"I was nervous about Pitch2Win and nearly pulled out, but it has given me confidence.

"An added bonus is having business consultancy support and access to a law firm for six months.

"I do believe what we're doing is having an impact on students and the community and the outreach is unique."

Jessica's own experiences at school inspired her to start BeScience STEM, supported through DMU Square Mile, which uses the skills of staff and students for the good of the community.

She said: "I couldn't pick up information as quickly as my classmates and always found exams incredibly stressful."

When she didn't do as well as hoped in her A Levels, she took her brother's advice to apply through Clearing.

"It was really easy," Jessica said. "It was a massive relief to know that I was able to go to university as I planned."

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Landing a place at DMU has enabled Jessica to realise her full potential, as she was diagnosed with dyslexia while studying for her degree.

She said: "It felt amazing to know there was a reason for my academic problems. Not only did DMU help identify my dyslexia, the university gave me so much support."

Her pioneering approach to helping other children overcome similar challenges led to her presenting evidence in Parliament to help shape policy on how children are taught STEM subjects - science, technology, engineering and mathematics - in school.

In the future, she would like to do a PhD in education. Meanwhile, she is looking forward to introducing BeScience STEM to different cities and will continue to use what she has learned at DMU to benefit others.

Jessica said: "I've loved making hand creams, lipsticks and shampoos and am going to start classes for the public to engage more girls in science.

"University has been an amazing experience and I've had opportunities with the basketball team, boxing and tae kwon do.

"I've met wonderful people and have had lots of support for the business.

"It has been challenging because of the dyslexia but I pushed my own barriers and have taken risks and it's been a rewarding experience."

Posted on Saturday 2nd July 2016

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