The CREST Youth Panel is a vital part of our CREST Award Scheme and consists of several volunteers who are students that have taken part in the programme. They range between the ages of 13-19 and come from all over the UK. They discuss important science topics, help us to shape new ideas about how we can get more students involved in the scheme, how we can improve our support for student's project work, and how we can communicate the many benefits of the scheme effectively. The panel meets twice a year and are in regular contact with each other and the British Science Association via social media.  

Volunteers like those in the Youth Panel are an extremely valuable part of the BSA and we are utterly grateful to have them. Therefore, we thought it would be great for you to hear about their experiences in their own words. Below are a number of extracts written by members of our Youth Panel covering their thoughts and feelings about volunteering: 



I  really do enjoy volunteering for the CREST Youth Panel as it is not only a great opportunity for people to meet other science enthusiast (like me) but it really gives me something to look forward to every year. The main reason I volunteer- or do anything- is because I genuinely enjoy being in a room with people who share different opinions the world of science. As quite a new member, I haven't been to many meetings, but the ones I have been to have encouraged me to volunteer for other fantastic opportunities like this. What makes the panel so enjoyable is the freedom of speech that the young people can have to express their opinions on matters that are classed as 'adult', so I enjoy having debates and talking with the other members about things like new discoveries and ongoing research. I also volunteer because I like to think that I'm contributing a little bit back to science and I want other children across Britain to enjoy science like I do. By joining the youth panel, I can be part of a fantastic scheme which encourages children to go into Science, Engineering, Maths and Tech. Personally, I think that when I volunteered for the CREST Youth Panel I expected it to be a bit boring but it really has exceeded my expectations and that's why I volunteer. To do something unexpected.  

Aarushi Wuppalapati 


Volunteering with the CREST Youth Panel has been a great opportunity for me to voice my thoughts and have real influence on the approach that organisations, particularly the British Science Association, take in engaging the public in science and engineering. It has inspired me not just to participate in STEM, but also to promote it to others for them to enjoy too. My involvement with the panel has taught me how to effectively present and discuss my ideas with other people in a clear and convincing manner and I have enjoyed engaging with other young people who share my passion for science and engineering. I have also learnt about other opportunities I can take to further my involvement in STEM, such as attending the Richie lecture. Volunteering experiences like these and interactions with other panelists have helped me to diversify my knowledge of science and engineering and widen my perspective. Overall, I have found my time volunteering with the CREST Youth Panel to be thoroughly rewarding. 

Tara Crees

Volunteering is one of the most amazing experiences that leave me feeling like I've made an impact on the world, and it's no different volunteering for the Youth Panel. The Youth Panel brings a range of young people in one room to discuss the most important issues surrounding our world today. With bright young minds coming together it means brilliant ideas, socialising and debates that output incredible concepts and notions. Personally, I love hearing the distinctive arguments on certain issues and voicing my opinions during topic discussions. However, my favourite is meeting younger or older students who are as passionate as I am which creates an astounding atmosphere to share thoughts and opinions, and of course making new friends! 

Amanjit Somal 


I have really enjoyed volunteering with the CREST Youth Panel and have had many memorable experiences with them; meeting other like-minded people and sharing ideas to help develop the CREST Awards Scheme. I really enjoyed and benefited from the CREST Award Scheme and taking part in it has changed my views around what science is really like beyond the classroom. It is nice to help develop the award scheme so that others may also be inspired and encouraged to initiate and take part in independent study projects. Furthermore, volunteering with the CREST Youth Panel has given me so many new opportunities, from taking part in new, exciting and interesting projects to learning some incredible skills like science busking. These are all things that I wouldn’t have done if I hadn’t been part of the CREST Youth Panel. I have learnt so much from the other volunteers and from the team at the BSA who encourage and guide you to do things that I would never have had access to without their support. Volunteering has helped me improve some key life skills like teamwork, communication and problem solving; skills which I have then been able to apply to other areas of my life. 

Jade Mae Lucas 


Initially, I thought that volunteering was just a way for me to give back to the community; and with regards to the CREST Youth Panel specifically, a way to help improve schemes for other young people. However, the more I volunteer both inside and outside this organisation, the more I realise that the skills and personal development gained from such a unique experience is incomparable to any other. 

I started volunteering with CREST three years ago, and have not only enjoyed being part of a panel but have learnt an incredible amount from my peers at meetings. The chance to contribute ideas, explore my creativity and to hear about other people’s ideas is a privilege. Furthermore, being able to meet other like-minded people who are passionate about science across the UK has been truly eye-opening. 

As a member of the CREST Youth Panel, I have also had the chance to get involved with other science events. For example, I attended the Ri unconference in Year 11 where I was able to share ideas about issues such as global warming, medical privacy and fracking. This allowed me to learn more about different problems in an exciting way and that aren’t discussed in schools. 

Volunteering brings a variety of opportunities, challenges, and the satisfaction that you have helped the community for the better - it is definitely something that I would like to continue to do in the future. 

Mythri Sutharson 


I’ve really enjoyed volunteering with the Youth Panel since September 2015. At first, it was just an honour to be chosen for this role and to get the excitement of travelling from Ireland to attend meetings, but over time I’ve learned so much. 

I love interacting with like-minded teenagers, people who are passionate about science and its place in society (and the same age so we can complain about exams together!). I also enjoy the great work the organisers at the BSA put into Panel meetings and connecting the Panel members with opportunities and organisation like the Wellcome Trust. It’s hugely satisfying being able to represent young people, who sadly often get overlooked. That said, the biggest benefit volunteering in this capacity has given me is confidence and an improvement in 

my ability to articulate my ideas verbally on the spot, to improvise and to speak publicly. 

The ability to get your point across is crucial in so many areas of life. People don’t often think of scientists when they think of someone for whom public speaking is a part of the job, but I believe it’s really crucial that scientists be capable of communicating their research both to other scientists and to the general public. At the Youth Panel, we learn how to release science from dusty textbooks to the fundamental spark of curiosity that fuels scientific enquiry, which is what we need to make it part of ordinary life. And that’s something I can get behind! 

Elle Loughran 


I have been volunteering for over a year now. I work Saturday mornings for a charity called Boys Brigade that helps youngsters from underprivileged backgrounds. I work in their shop called ‘Anchor’, which is located on Shirley High Street. The shop was set up as a means to raise further funds for the main work of The Boys’ Brigade & Girls’ Association in Birmingham. I wanted to reach out and do something for children like me and the shop was the best place to start as I was only 13. I started with a few hours every Saturday morning. I met boys similar to my age. I was taught to help in the shop, accept and sort out donations and organise the shop wares. I made new friends from very different backgrounds. As I grew more accustomed to the shop and the people, I was allowed to talk to customers and help with the tills. I was excited. It was different to going to school, learning computer coding (my first love), playing badminton or going swimming. 

I learned: 

* Kindness. 

* Patience. 

* Communication skills. 

* Organization skills. 

* Empathy. 

I hope to do more. 

Atash Giridharan 


The Youth Panel has provided me with an array of opportunities that would not have been available otherwise. It gave me a way to express my opinions and ideas to MPs, educators and people in different scientific industries, as well as other students all over the UK who want to explore beyond the day-to-day school curriculum. 

I have enjoyed the biannual meetings that are filled with heated debates and discussions. They cover a spectrum of scientific issues, such as the ethical dilemmas science faces and how we could improve science communication. During these meetings, we as a panel discuss with associations and companies (past examples being The Wellcome Trust and Debating Matters) their current ideas and how they can be improved in order to target our generation more affectively. However, the best thing about these meetings is they are not limited to just science. We have meetings with other panels from arts and music groups so we can collectively find ways that different specialised areas of education can be combined to benefit society and education together. 

As well as these meetings, what has been personally beneficial and great about the panel is the additional opportunities provided. One of my best experiences was having my voice heard on a variety of different areas in current affairs (such as scientific funding, laws and especially education) at the House of Lords by a variety of people from major companies, universities and charities. The experience on the panel has given me the confidence to challenge and discuss other people’s views, as well as broadening my knowledge on science’s contributions and impact on society, far beyond what is taught in school. 

Scarlett Li-Williams

I first joined the CREST Youth Panel in September 2013 after competing at the National Science and Engineering competition. I first saw STEM volunteers at the Big Bang fair and marvelled at how these people worked to inspire people and gave up their time freely, which convinced me to join the CREST Youth Panel. Since then I have been inspired by STEM and the wealth of opportunities that are available. The Youth Panel has allowed me to truly make a difference in the world of STEM and to further the opportunities even more. STEM volunteering has allowed me to really contribute to the discussion around diversity in STEM. I have also been able to represent young women on STEM at events such as the CLA’S STEAM hack, Imperial Stemettes Panel, BSA’S roundtable and IET Young Persons Board and provide a voice that perhaps is not always heard. This, I think helps to make an impact and truly make STEM an integral part of society. I then go back to my local community and attempt to implement new initiatives such as CREST by volunteering as a STEM mentor and by running competitions to really engage more people in STEM. Being able to give back to my community and STEM means a lot for me as it has provided me with a real career aspiration and drive to make a difference and I feel that by doing all of these STEM activities will truly make a small yet visible difference.  

Floriane Fidegnon

For more information on the Youth Panel and how you can join, click here: