Physics and Astronomy

Ambassador roles

This page contains details of our outreach programme for our undergraduate and postgraduate students here at the University of Sussex.

Our outreach programme in the School of Mathematical and Physical Science delivers approximately 100 events to 10,000 people each year, far too many for the outreach officer to deliver alone!

To ensure that we can deliver all these events, sometimes for hundeds of people in a single day, we rely on a pool of trained undergraduate and postgraduate students to help.  Details of how to get involved in this programme can be found below.  If you require further details, please contact the Physics & Astronomy Outreach Officer.

How it works

At the begining of each academic year (typically October or November), we organise outreach training sessions - notification of this is circulated to all our undergraduate and postgraduate students in the relevant department via email.  The training consists of an introductory talk and time to get familiar with some of the activities that we take out to schools. 

Once trained, our helpers are added to our email list, and the process of helping with an event is typically as follows:

  • Teachers contact the outreach officer asking for a specific activity on a certain date, or an event will be organised on a certain date.
  • The outreach officer emails all the trained helpers to ask who is available to help with upcoming events on the specific days.  This email is usually sent out once or twice a month.
  • Those who are able to help with events reply offering their availablity, and the outreach officer makes a selection out of those who are available to help at a particular event (usually on a first come, first served basis).

We also appreciate that doing a degree or PhD is very demanding on your time, so some helpers may only be able to help twice a year, whilst others may help a few times a month - but both are welcomed!  In fact, June & July is our busiest time of the year - typically we do 1 or 2 events per week, but during June and July we are doing 1 or 2 events each day! - so even if you are only available to help then, it is massively appreciated.

What types of events would I be involved in?

We host a wide variety of events, sometimes schools and colleges visit us at the University of Sussex campus in Falmer, sometimes we travel to schools, and sometime we run events in public venues.

Typical events include:

  • Workshops for schools & colleges (we have detailed lesson plans with step-by-step guides, so our demonstrators know exactly what to do)
  • Stands with table-top demonstrations, either in schools or in public venues
  • Public or school talks (for our more confident outreach helpers!)

Note that novice helpers will be paired up with more experienced demonstrators for their first few events, and helpers are always in pairs, if not larger teams - it really depends greatly on the event.


What's in it for me?

Our undergraduate and postgraduate students gain hugely from the exerience of helping deliver our outreach events. 

Benefits include:
  • It looks great on a CV.
  • You will gain useful transferable/inter-personal skills, which are highly desirable by employers.
  • It helps contribute to a strong reference letter for future job applications.
  • Helpers get paid for their outreach work.
  • It helps you to explore a career in teaching.
  • And it's great fun!