A Physics postgraduate student has been awarded the prestigious Stevenson Fund bursary for female scientists.
The Stevenson Fund, named after its benefactor Dr Greta Stevenson, funds three bursaries of up to £7,500 a year. The bursaries are awarded to students of Physics, Chemistry, Maths, Life Sciences and Geology and are used to fund international research placements with a leading female scientist at another institution.
Amy Smith is a joint PhD student in Physics and the Centre for Higher Education Research and Scholarship (CHERS), studying Physics Education Research. Amy’s £7000 award will give her the opportunity to undertake a three-month placement with Professor Anna Danielsson and her science education research group at Stockholm University, working on gender in science education. She will work with a variety of PhD students, postdocs and academics on projects including the “Unlikely Scientists” and “In(ex)clusion in HE maths and physics” projects which look at identity enactment and the trajectories of those who enter physics.
Professor Danielsson continuously works with a social justice lens to improve the experiences of women within physics. She embodies how I want to continue my work as a researcher”. Amy Smith
Amy said: “The broad aim of my PhD is to increase the sense of belonging for underrepresented groups within physics – this award therefore exemplifies what my research aims to achieve. Professor Danielsson’s trajectory into physics education closely resembles my own in that it began with physics study before moving to physics education – she is therefore an incredible role model to me. Professor Danielsson continuously works with a social justice lens to improve the experiences of women within physics. She embodies how I want to continue my work as a researcher”.
One of the aims of the fund is for students from collaborating institutions to reciprocate the visit in future years and to grow international networks amongst our students and researchers. This placement will support the growth of Physics Education Research at Imperial and potentially lead to further collaborations with the international community of physics education researchers.
Dr Camille B. Kandiko Howson, Associate Professor of Education, Centre for Higher Education Research & Scholarship, said: “It is a great pleasure to see Amy awarded a bursary from the Stevenson fund. Amy’s research is key to exploring students’ identity and sense of belonging in physics and is part of a wider agenda to support inclusion and address awarding gaps in the Department of Physics. This also supports CHERS’ agenda in developing discipline-based educational and pedagogical research.”
Amy said: “Whilst I have no definitive plans for what I want to do after my PhD I know that it will be continuing my work to make physics an inclusive space: whether that is through research, through policy or through teaching. Working with Prof Anna Danielsson and her research group will give me experience working in the broader field of science education and I am sure that the opportunity will guide my decision. What I do know is that whatever path I choose, my time spent in Stockholm will make me more confident in working in new environments and sharing my research more widely!”
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