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Pre-School Futures

We’re delighted that a generous gift of $100,000 USD from honorary graduate Nicholas Donofrio has enabled the University to launch Pre-School Futures, a five year early intervention project designed and led by Dr Joanna Collingwood.

The project will be implemented in partnership with childcare practitioners at the University of Warwick Nursery and will explore cultural messages about females in STEM roles, when these messages become embedded, and the influence of formal educators, parents and the wider community in this process. The project will place fresh emphasis on the integral role of early intervention in effectively challenging barriers to gender equality in STEM, and the importance of tackling this longstanding societal issue.

Dr Collingwood, Reader of Biomedical Engineering, the Athena SWAN lead in the School of Engineering at the University of Warwick and Chair of the University’s Gender Task Force commented:

We are delighted to have Nicholas Donofrio’s support for Pre-School Futures. His philanthropic commitment will enable us to deliver a long-term initiative which will help us explore the role of unconscious bias at a very early and thus critical stage in a child’s learning and development. This unique project has the potential to influence best practice in the sector and create ambassadors for the future that can help bring about societal change.

Debbie Castle, Nursery Manager at the University of Warwick said:

Our child care practitioners are looking forward to implementing Pre-School Futures in the University Nursery, and this work will complement and strengthen some of our existing activities around STEM education and awareness. We are grateful to the donor for his support of the University.

Nicholas Donofrio joined IBM in 1964 as a co-op college student and he progressed into senior management positions where he led the strategy for developing and commercialising advanced technology across IBM's global operations. He has led many of IBM's major development and manufacturing teams and in 2008, he was elected an IBM Fellow, the company's highest technical honour. Mr Donofrio is a strong advocate of education and actively promotes the education of STEM subjects as the keys to economic competitiveness. He is particularly focused on advancing education, employment and career opportunities for underrepresented groups of young people and women.

Dr Joanna Collingwood

Dr Joanna Collingwood