24 June 2015

Two JIC scientists win UEA Engagement Awards

 

UEA has acknowledged two JIC scientists for their outstanding efforts encouraging public engagement with science.

Senior Scientist Kim Findlay, Head of Bioimaging facility won the UEA Achievement Award and Amelia Frizell-Armitage, PhD student at the John Innes Centre and in the School of Environmental Sciences won UEA’s Student Award.

 

Kim is Head of Bioimaging at the John Innes Centre. She has been working in public engagement alongside her scientific imaging work for over twenty years.

After receiving a persistently high volume of requests to visit the bioimaging facilities, Kim decided to host specific days for school visits to avoid the drain on research time available to scientists. She then developed a website to supplement site visits as well as provide an opportunity to learn more for people unable to visit the facility. The website has been a successful and valuable resource for teachers and students.

In 2000 Kim won a Royal Society/British Association Millennium Award for an educational outreach project, making her a Millennium Fellow. She is an honorary lecturer at the University of East Anglia and was recently awarded the Royal Microscopical Society Vice President’s medal for microscopy research and laboratory support.

On receiving the award Kim said: “Throughout my career I saw engagement as one of my duties as a scientist, even though it was never part of my job description or rewarded, so this award pleases me a great deal, to know that my efforts are now also seen as important and given recognition.  I could not have achieved this alone and have many others to thank, particularly members of the Bioimaging team who always get roped in to help with the annual schools’ microscopy days.”

 

Amelia has been proactive in a range of public engagement and outreach activities since she began her PhD in October 2012.

She has worked at science fairs and events including the Big Bang Fair, the East of England Agricultural Society from Farm to Fork, Fascination of Plants Day, and supported student visit days to UEA and the John Innes Centre. Last year she also reached the semi-finals of I’m a Scientist get me out of here, Plants Zone.  

Amelia said: “Engaging school aged students with science is important in ensuring a scientifically literate public and inspiring future scientists. As my career progresses, I intend to build on these diverse experiences and grow my communication capabilities.”

The judges said Amelia’s nomination was a “good example of instigating a broad range of engagement activity,” and Kim’s nomination “gave a very impressive array of activity.”

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