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Showcase 2023 Student Spotlight: Sophie Puffett

Student Spotlight featuring BSc (Hons) Product Design student, Sophie Puffett and her project, Creating a Children’s Educational Product to encourage teaching about Gender Stereotypes.

Render of Sophie's design

The project

The product is an interchangeable figurine for Children in Early Years Foundation Stage in Primary School, which teaches them about gender stereotypes and how they can break these stereotypes and grow their own thinking. Working on this issue at an early age really helps children understand the world they are growing up in and how to focus on the activities and products they enjoy and not the items they should enjoy because of their gender.

The inspiration behind the project

The project is inspired by personal experience and how Sophie viewed the world when she grew up, but when you dive into the subject, there are so many issues surrounding gender stereotyping and for no reason other than it’s just the way it is. It is confusing growing up in the new age of social media and immediate access to the internet and media, and helping the children growing in this environment and understanding it from a young age should benefit the children as they grow.

The project has been incredible to work on. The issue surrounding gender stereotypes is something which has always interested me, so getting to talk to the people I have interviewed about this, who are experts in their field, has been amazing to discuss their research and opinions. Additionally, the design and production element has been fun too, I am getting to develop and test my product properly, which I haven’t been able to do in previous years.
Render of Sophie's design

Being part of NTU

Sophie's time at NTU has been fun, difficult and varied in many ways. As someone who joined NTU in September 2019, there have been many obstacles during her degree, and it’s only in her final year that there has been a normal university experience. That itself has taught her a lot about being flexible and open to new ideas. The course challenges her everyday when learning new skills and developing old ones. Sophie has had some great opportunities to work on skills she wasn’t even aware of leaving school. She's learnt to use 3D Printers, to design for industry, use CAD software to a professional standard and many more skills.

Her most memorable moment at NTU is nothing that exciting but it sticks in her mind. The first day of final year, it really felt like the beginning of the end but it was so exciting at the same time. She never thought that day that she'd be at this point in her final project, feeling happy with what she has produced and positive about the outcome of the project.

Closing remarks

Keep an open mind and allow lots of new design opinions and opportunities to shape your learning. Don’t stress too much in earlier years, everyone is learning and in the same position!

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