Outreach and origami

Posted on: 14 March 2024 by Dr Muhammad Awais in March Posts 2024

A group photo of school children in lab coats with Dr Muhammad Awais
Dr Muhammad Awais with the students from Liverpool College

Dr Muhammad Awais is a Senior Postdoctoral Scientist from the Department of Molecular and Clinical Cancer Medicine. He recently visited Liverpool College for a Role Model Day and told us about his visit.

I was recently invited to attend a local school, Liverpool College, for their Role Model Day, where I engaged with approximately 100 year 5 pupils and teaching staff and introduced our research on pancreatic diseases. I also encouraged the students to consider pursuing STEM subjects in their university studies, emphasising their potential to contribute to the advancement of science and technology. I was pleasantly surprised by the students' unwavering attention and their thought-provoking questions!

Keen to make my visit more engaging and to enhance the student experience, I also provided them with lab coats. It was interesting to observe their enthusiasm and joy wearing the lab coats, which made them “feel like scientists”. For the icing on the cake, I also provided students with origami paper sheets to make lab coat origami models.

Having lived in Japan, my family and I have had the opportunity to experience the fascinating culture where origami is widely embraced. The art of origami holds immense popularity due to its profound positive effects on mental health and wellbeing, aiding in anxiety reduction and fostering a sense of calmness and patience in individuals of all ages, from children to adults. I’m pleased to say the students loved the activity, and delighted that the school has incorporated origami into their wet play opportunities for students. I’d hope the activity can be introduced across other areas.

I express my sincere gratitude to Valentina Iorio from the School of Life Sciences' Technical Team for providing the lab coats, Raheela Awais for the idea of lab coats for children as future scientists, Nordine Helassa, the Institute's Public Engagement Lead, for supplying the origami packs, and Diane Latawiec for her support during the event. Together, we were able to create a memorable and enriching experience for the students.