Winners of the 2018 STEM Inspiration Awards
The winners of the 2018 STEM Inspiration Awards were announced at a prestigious event at the House of Lords on 1 November 2018.
We had a fantastic day celebrating some truly inspirational people and organisations, all of whom are passionate about inspiring and engaging the next generation.
Meet the winners
STEM Employer, Small and Medium Enterprises – BeckGreener
BeckGreener is a specialist London-based firm of patent, trademark and design attorneys. They are an outstanding example of how to provide support for young people in STEM, working with stakeholders to support young people more effectively. BeckGreener focuses on schools with above average numbers of pupils claiming free school meals; from minority ethnic heritage; or for whom English is not their first language.
Their STEM Ambassadors have created a "Spot-The-Invention" workshop in which students examine old and new versions of gadgets to identify improvements. They assess the patentability of school science/engineering projects and help students prepare and file real patent applications.
- Runner-up: Innovate Malvern Community Interest Company
- Highly commended: Booth Welsh and Web Applications UK
STEM Employer, Large Companies – Amey
Amey has over 100 active STEM Ambassadors across the UK who have been involved in a wide range of projects to strengthen the diversity of the workforce and raise aspirations in disadvantaged areas, including by showcasing the range of talent within Amey.
This year’s standout innovation was the Girl Guiding badge to address gender diversity in engineering. Each badge takes at least two sessions to complete and requires the girls to speak with parents. With over 65,000 badges awarded, the strength and diversity of Amey’s support for schools and community groups makes them an extremely worthy winner.
- Runner-up: Airbus UK
- Highly commended: Just Eat, Legrand Electric, Nissan’s Skills Foundation and UK Hydrographic Office
Outstanding New STEM Ambassador – Kate McWilliams
Kate is the youngest female airline captain flying for EasyJet. Only 3% of airline pilots are female and there are only 450 female captains in the world. Kate’s STEM Ambassador work has motivated young people to see that they can achieve their childhood dreams.
Students come away from her talks feeling engaged and enthused by STEM subjects and more aware of the possibilities that STEM subjects offer when considering their future careers. Kate has also inspired the teaching staff who work with her and she also takes part in teacher only events which encourage teachers to be the best role models they can be.
- Runner-up: Vicki Johnston
- Highly commended: Harry Beedham and Mariya Tarabonovska
Outstanding STEM Ambassador Award – Kev Stannard
In a field of outstanding STEM Ambassadors, it was very hard to pick only one winner, but the judges were overwhelmed by Kev’s nomination. He is deeply committed to his role and reached over 10,000 young people in just the last three years. His support allows young people to explore science outside the national curriculum: problem-solving and building a range of skills.
He has also helped teaching staff to build their knowledge in new subject areas, providing new contexts for familiar subjects and wider awareness of career opportunities. Kev has contributed to the development of practical activities for primary school students and created a modular STEM education program for 8-14-year-olds.
- Runner-up: Robert Bates
- Highly commended: Kevin Ford and Susan Ross
Inspirational STEM Engagement Project – Get into STEM by the ESH Group, Durham
Launched in 2015 and now in its fourth academic year, Get into STEM engages primary school students in construction, using an interactive workshop and a bright and vibrant construction-themed resource kit. The team delivers a workshop in each school, who are then loaned a free resource kit to use for the next two weeks.
The project aims to open students’ eyes to the world around them, raising the profile of the construction industry and enthusing students about STEM.
- Runner-up: Quantum in the Crowd by the University of Bristol
- Highly commended: Children and Parents as Engineers and the Native Scientist Project
Outstanding STEM Technician – Sophie Finch
Sophie Finch is a science technician at Ryburn Valley High School. The judges really enjoyed reading Sophie’s application, which clearly communicated her confident, caring and passionate approach as a STEM educator.
As a technician and a STEM Club organiser, she has created new, relevant activities that have inspired her students about STEM careers as well as building their confidence and personal motivation. It is clear that the time and dedication Sophie is giving to pupils is having a lasting impact on their lives and education.
- Runner-up: Stephen Pickles
- Highly commended: Lynne Chapman and Marissa Healey
Outstanding STEM Club – Didcot Girls School
The judges praised this club for its impact on girls’ career choices and love of STEM it has inspired. The club is open to all students, providing practical hands-on science experience in a fun and supportive environment with an emphasis on experiments and investigations.
Dr Nickerson has run the club since 1999 and many former members are not only studying STEM subjects and pursuing STEM careers, but are also actively involved in STEM outreach themselves. Didcot Girls' School Science Club is spreading the message far and wide that science is creative, exciting, fun, challenging and rewarding.
- Runner-up: Denny High School in Falkirk
- Highly commended: Bayside Comprehensive School, Ramsden Primary School, Pool Academy and Abraham Moss Warriors.
Joan Sjovoll Award for STEM Leadership – Glynis Dean
Glynis has championed STEM in the Royal Air Force since 2008, starting with a small project to encourage more girls into STEM subjects, and then developing the STEM Ambassadors across the RAF and the wider Defence workforce. She has helped to steer the Ministry of Defence STEM Youth Engagement Strategy, including a £2m investment to reach 2 million pupils as part of this year's RAF100 programme.
Glynis is an inspirational role model to female ambassadors across the wider population. Through her hard work and commitment, other services are following the models created and tested by Glynis and her team, to promote STEM skills and raise aspirations across the country.
- Runner-up: Vicky Stewart, Atkins
- Highly commended: Alexis Monks, PA Consulting and Mike Bowen, Jacobs UK Limited
Lifetime Achievement Award – John Lowe
John Lowe has dedicated many years of his life in both a professional and personal capacity to promoting STEM education and inspiration. He has used his influence and skill to ensure that young people have the best possible chance of experiencing all the wonderful opportunities offered by a career in STEM, whatever their background.
Over the past 20 years, John has worked as an energetic champion of many STEM organisations – not least through his work at Ford and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. To quote Stephen Metcalfe MP: “he is known for relentlessly pursuing the promotion of STEM, particularly in young people”. The words which come up time and again when talking to friends and colleagues are persuasive, convincing, committed and passionate.