Ilford ‘Rising Young Star’ inspires girls to study Stem

Worldpay's Nichole Viviani, Rising Star winner Vanessa Madu and The Honourable Emily Benn. Picture:

Worldpay's Nichole Viviani, Rising Star winner Vanessa Madu and The Honourable Emily Benn. Picture: Erroll Jones - Credit: Archant

A young woman from Ilford who was awarded as a Rising Young Star for her commitment to getting more girls involved in Stem subjects at an early age is our Recorder/Rotary Young Citizen nominee this week.

Rising Star winner Vanessa Madu. Picture: Rose Russell

Rising Star winner Vanessa Madu. Picture: Rose Russell - Credit: Archant

Vanessa Madu is seriously passionate about science, technology, engineering, and maths - together known as Stem - and breaking the stigma that it's not a cool career for young girls to get into.

The 19-year-old was awarded as a Rising Young Star on November 7 by Women of the Future, which aims to recognise high achievers aged 16-21 who are showing exceptional promise within their industry, university or school.

Vanessa, studying maths at Imperial College London, said that even at the university level there aren't a lot of women studying maths and she wants to change that.

She told the Recorder: "Society deems maths to be a boys' subject and people have the misconception that you have to be a genius to be in Stem."

Rising Star winner Vanessa Madu. Picture: Rose Russell

Rising Star winner Vanessa Madu. Picture: Rose Russell - Credit: Archant


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Vanessa realised she had a knack for maths at 13 at a funfair in Ilford when she guessed the number of marbles in a jar (432) after doing a rough calculation of the volume of the jar.

When she was a pupil at Ursuline Academy Ilford, the school didn't offer a further maths A-level so she decided to teach herself.

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While at Ursuline she presented a school project about protecting the bee population to Princess Anne.

She said: "Exposure needs to be developed at the primary school age and it needs to be worked on by everyone, from parents to teachers."

Young Citizen Awards has launched again for 2019.

Young Citizen Awards has launched again for 2019. - Credit: Archant

Vanessa started Project Insight recently which aims to provide Day in the Life videos, interviews and information into as many Stem careers as possible so young people aren't left guessing in the dark about their future.

The Recorder/Rotary Young Citizen series celebrates the young people of Redbridge.

Each month a winner is chosen from the nominees, the finalists will be invited to the Mayor's Community Awards night in March and the overall winner will be announced.

The winner will receive £100 from Redbridge Rotary Club and will, along with the runner-up, go through to the national Young Citizen final run by Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland.

Worldpay's Nichole Viviani, Rising Star winner Vanessa Madu and The Honourable Emily Benn. Picture:

Worldpay's Nichole Viviani, Rising Star winner Vanessa Madu and The Honourable Emily Benn. Picture: Erroll Jones - Credit: Archant

You can nominate any person from Redbridge, as long as they are under 25, by emailing imogen.braddick@archant.co.uk.

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