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Celebrating Science Oxford’s Young Scientists of the Year 2022

Tuesday 22nd November 2022

Committed, determined, hard-working, resilient, talented, enthusiastic, passionate, curious, supportive, encouraging. These are just some of the words teachers used to describe Year 13 students nominated for the 2022 Young Scientists of the Year awards. With attributes like these in our young people, the future of STEM looks bright!

Each year, in a formal celebration, Science Oxford recognises outstanding Year 13 STEM students from secondary schools across Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire in the categories of Young Biologists of the Year, Young Physicists of the Year, and Young Chemists of the Year. This year, Young Psychologists of the Year were also recognised. Teachers from over 30 schools across the two counties nominated nearly 60 students, highlighting a strong foundation of talent in young people about to embark on STEM careers.

The 2022 event was held on 16 November at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, supported by Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, the Science and Technology Facilities Council, UK Research and Innovation and Bentley Motors.

Woman talking into microphone in low lighting
Madelaine Swift, Science Oxford STEM Projects Officer, addresses the group

“It was truly inspirational to see so many faces for our first in-person ceremony since 2020, and to celebrate young people who have stood out among their peers in science. It was wonderful to host this event against the backdrop of scientific excellence represented within the Oxford University Museum of Natural History,” says Madelaine Swift, STEM Projects Officer at Science Oxford and responsible for coordinating this event. “Thank you to our host, sponsors and amazing speakers for their inspirational, and sometimes humorous, insights into the world of STEM.”

Guest speakers at different phases of their own STEM journeys – from principal scientists at the top of their fields to students only a little further along their journey than the nominees themselves – entertained and encouraged students with their career advice.

Dr Parinaz Mehdipour shares her STEM journey and inspiring words

Dr Parinaz Mehdipour, a Principal Investigator at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in the Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, recognised that embarking on a STEM career can be challenging, but encouraged students to follow their passions and skills. She assured them they would be rewarded with an interesting STEM journey and career. Dr Mehdipour is leading research into epigenetic dysregulation and its role in cancer development and treatment.

Rupo Mapanga, a placement student working at the Science and Technology Facilities Council, highlighted the value of curiosity and collaboration in forging a STEM Career. She is inspired by her environment at the world-leading centre for research in physical and life sciences, which provides unique insights into the properties of materials on the atomic scale.

Luca Di Giovanni is a past recipient of the Young Scientists of the Year awards, and a former beneficiary of another of Science Oxford’s STEM Career activities, STEM Insight Week. He spoke to the students about his determination to proactively create opportunities that would open doors for him. Since receiving a Young Scientists of the Year award, he went on to further his education and is now pursuing an Engineering Degree Apprentice Scheme with Bentley Motors.

Reflecting on the event, Science Oxford’s Head of Education Outreach and Training, Andrew Kensley, said, “It was great to see so many parents and teachers supporting the young people who were nominated. We hope our informative and entertaining speakers inspired our young people as they consider the first steps in their career journeys.”

The event is a highlight in the broader Science Oxford STEM Careers Programme, which incorporates activities for students of all ages across secondary schools, and aims to create opportunities for students to learn more, gain insight and inspire them to enter STEM careers.

Connecting with young people like this group of STEM achievers and learning about their commitment, determination and journeys so far instils confidence that a strong and flourishing future lies ahead for STEM. Congratulations to all students nominated this year!

Gathering of people at night (low lighting) in Oxford University Museum of Natural History, among exhibits

Here are some words that have been shared about the students nominated for awards:

He has been working hard to share his infectious enthusiasm for physics with others.
She takes up opportunities to expand her knowledge and to challenge herself.
She is an exceptional biologist with an interest in the subject that goes far beyond the A-level curriculum. She actively shares her passion for biology with the school community by writing articles for the STEM magazine, and in teaching science lessons to primary school students.
He is a bright and studious young man, driven from within, and with extremely high standards and expectations of himself.
She has natural inquisitiveness and curiosity that shines through. Her hard work and genuine enthusiasm for the core principles and applications of chemistry is evident in her range of reading and activities.

We look forward to seeing such a dynamic group of Year 13s next November at the Young Scientists of the Year 2023.


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