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Gates Cambridge Scholars stage Teach-a-thon for secondary school students

Why is understanding past oceans crucial for sustainability? How neutral is science? Is music a language? What helps us to understand what we read?

These and many more fascinating questions will be answered as postgraduates students from the University of Cambridge's prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarship programme take part in a week-long virtual Teach-a-thon as part of the Cambridge Festival in April.

This is the second time that Scholars, who come from all over the world, have put together the Teach-a-thon. Last year's was held in lockdown and was aimed at secondary school students hungry for a wider lens on the curriculum.

It features cutting-edge research on everything from nanoscience, artificial intelligence, antibiotic resistance, genomic medicine and mental health to the history of water.

It consists of short, interactive sessions aimed at introducing secondary school students and covers a variety of topics across the arts and humanities, social sciences and STEM fields.

The event is specifically designed for students who are thinking about whether they would like to study at university or those are in the process of choosing their GCSE or A-level subjects [the team has signalled relevant GSCEs and A-Levels so that students know to look out for them]. The sessions aim to excite and inspire students, teach them about a topic they might not learn about as part of their regular school lessons and give them a glimpse of what it’s like to study at university.

Each day, there will be a new theme and four Gates Cambridge Scholars will lead 30-minute interactive sessions on the area that they research. Each session will have a talk about the presenting scholar’s research, activities that encourage participation throughout and a 10-minute question and answer session at the end, where students can ask anything, from questions about the material to what they studied when they were in secondary school. 

The sessions are designed to require minimal prior knowledge of the topic so that they are accessible to all students.

Emma Soneson, Shalom Henderson and Anna Guasco from the Teach-a-Thon team, said: "We hope this will be a fun opportunity for secondary school students to learn something outside of their usual lessons and get a glimpse of all the incredible topics you can learn about at university."

Gates Cambridge is the University of Cambridge's most prestigious scholarship for international postgraduate students. Established in October 2000 by a donation of US$210m from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to the University of Cambridge - the largest ever single donation to a UK university - scholars are selected for their outstanding intellectual ability, their commitment to improving the lives of others and their leadership potential.

The Festival, which runs from 31st March to 10th April, is the University of Cambridge’s leading public engagement event and tackles and offers solutions for some of our most pressing issues, from the multiple crises in politics, health and climate change to global economics and human rights.

The full Teach-a-thon line-up can be found here - https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/gates-scholars-teach-a-thon-x-cambridge-festival-tickets-275971767987

For more information, contact Mandy Garner on mandy.garner@admin.cam.ac.uk or ring 07789 106435.