Former student’s gift cements St Mary’s ground-breaking STEM lab plans

Former student’s gift cements St Mary’s ground-breaking STEM lab plans

24 June 2021

St Mary’s School in Cambridge is set to open a brand new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths) Learning Lab at its Junior School this September – and its plans have received a big financial boost thanks to the enormous generosity of a former student.

The heart-warming donation from Miss Ivy (Yingting) Qian was gratefully received by the team at St Mary’s and will enable the independent day and boarding school to take its STEM provision to the next level. St Mary’s already has an exceptionally strong STEM offer that encourages a love of the sciences among its pupils. When it opens in September, the new specialist lab will enable St Mary’s dedicated STEM teachers to further nurture students on their journey to becoming tomorrow’s innovators. The dynamic new learning space, which will be named The Yingting Qian STEM Lab, after Miss Qian, will be equipped with everything students need to experiment, explore, design, test and perfect their STEM innovation ideas and will include the very latest teaching resources.

Miss Qian, an overseas boarding student who attended St Mary’s Sixth Form from September 2012 to June 2014, made a substantial personal donation to the school. The donations express Miss Qian’s gratitude for all that the dedicated staff at St Mary’s did for her during her studies and as she laid the foundations needed to achieve her academic and career goals.

Commenting, Miss Qian said:

“I’ve always wanted to find a way to say thank you for what St Mary’s did for me. The school’s support helped get me to where I am today. I feel extremely lucky that St Mary’s was my first stop in the UK. Charlotte Avery and her team inspired and nurtured me – giving me the confidence to pursue my ambitions after leaving school. In turn, I hope my donation will help educate and motivate the next generation of St Mary’s girls!”

Charlotte Avery, Headmistress at St Mary’s School, said: “We are hugely grateful to Ivy for her very generous donation. I strongly believe that sparking an interest in STEM subjects at a young age is vital if we want to encourage more young women to pursue careers in this field. For years, women have been underrepresented on STEM university courses and in associated occupations. Much progress has been made over the last decade, but the onus is on the teaching profession to do more. It’s well-known that girls are much more likely to study STEM subjects at a single sex school like St Mary’s. Ivy’s substantial donation will allow us to inspire even more girls via our specialist STEM curriculum and lay the groundwork for their future careers in science-based subjects.”

From St Mary’s Sixth Form, Miss Qian continued her education at Cambridge University and graduated in 2018 with a BA Hons degree. She ranked top five in her second year of her studies at Cambridge University and was awarded a Knight Third-Year Scholarship and an Anne Jemima Clough Prize at Newnham College. After leaving Cambridge, Miss Qian completed an investment banking internship at Morgan Stanley in Hong Kong before joining the Real Estate Debt Strategies team at Blackstone in London.

Miss Qian is now due to take up a post in Shanghai working for Goldman Sachs in its Special Situation Group.

Discover what the lab will look like when it is finished:

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