Asya Panchalieva

Associate Solicitor

DATE PUBLISHED: 03 Apr 2024 LAST UPDATED: 15 Apr 2024

Ellis Jones Sponsors and Attends STEAM challenge Finals 2024

Ellis Jones is extremely proud to continue to sponsor Soroptimist International’s STEAM challenge, the finals of which took place on 21 March 2024 at Bournemouth University.

What is the STEAM challenge?

The STEAM challenge encompasses Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics and is aimed at challenging girls only, in order to promote participation and raise aspirations in typically male industries.

The STEAM challenge, which has been running for 11 years now, is designed to encourage young women aged between 12 to 14 to research, design and create a project/prototype. The hope is that these talented young women will then continue their interest in various STEAM subjects leading to further education, apprenticeships and employment.

Asya Panchalieva, Associate Solicitor, Leah Sharman and Georgie Standhaft, Trainee Solicitors, Liz Perks and Casey Craig, Personal Assistants, attended Bournemouth University in support of the STEAM challenge finals. There were 7 projects to be judged, created by Year 8 and Year 9 students from local schools. They were all judged and awarded first, second or third place.

2024 STEAM challenge focus

The students were tasked with designing a sustainable idea that will overcome a problem. The majority of the projects were targeted at developing nations and included a water purifying invention called “AquaPure”, a sustainable planter used to grow food in Mumbai, a home made and locally sourced pads helping women in Vietnam with menstrual hygiene and an air cleaning device called the “Lung Lifeline Project” to assist people in Nepal and prevent COPD. The students had to design and test their ideas in advance and present their product to a panel of judges including experts in the STEAM fields. The event was attended by Robert McAlpine, Bournemouth University, Ellis Jones Solicitors LLP, Soroptimist members and friends as well as special guests including His Majesty’s Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Dorset Mrs Helena Coniber, the Mayor of Christchurch, Cllr Vivienne Charrett and the Chairman of BCP Council, Cllr Lesley Dedman.

During the awards’ ceremony, Asya Panchalieva, spoke in support of the projects and the importance of more girls taking up STEAM subjects as degrees and future careers. Helen Denham from Robert McAlpine and Saskia Elliott from the Jurassic Coast Trust then gave inspiring presentations focusing on the varied ways in which women can become involved in STEAM subjects such as becoming an engineer or a geologist.

How does Ellis Jones support women?

At Ellis Jones we recognise the continuing importance of advocating women in the workforce. We recently celebrated International Women’s Day with a Lunch & Learn focusing on the “Inspire Inclusion” theme, and the need to promote the message of equity. This includes enhanced maternity and paternity pay leave, flexible working policy in terms of hours and location and structured career pathways. At Ellis Jones we are proud to say that our firm is made up of 75% women. 70% of our Senior Associates and 29% of our Partners are women.


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