The award recognises students who have been transformed by their experience on the Career Ready programme and who have shown a real commitment to pursuing a career in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) industry.
Nine finalists were selected in these three categories. Louise Cook, Portlethen Academy in Scotland, won the overall award in the engineering category, Scott Baker; Archbishop Sentamu Academy in Hull, won the award for technology; and Siana Siggers, Lyng Hall School in Coventry, won the science award. Owen Fraser, Portlethen Academy, was also recognised with the Judges’ Award for Special Achievement and also received £150.
Siana’s award was given to her in recognition of the outstanding progress she made during her internship at Warwickshire University. She said:
“I never thought I would be put forward for a once in a lifetime award! It’s an amazing opportunity – just being nominated has made me feel like my hard work has paid off.
“Before I joined Career Ready I had little confidence and I didn’t know what career I wanted or what I could study at university. During my internship at the University of Warwick I was able to work on my own research project with the latest technology and cutting edge science. It made me feel like I could make a contribution to the latest scientific developments. I’ve gained independence and confidence – and also realised I want to pursue a career in chemical research.”
Richard Hill runs the Career Ready programme at Lyng Hall School and nominated Siana for the award. He said: “Siana has a passion for Science and has taken every opportunity to explore different areas particularly those where she can help develop solutions to society’s problems, such as in medicine and renewable energy.
“The internship, which she organised herself, developed her confidence and independence and as a STEM ambassador for the school she has organised a number of events, such as open days for the students. I am delighted that her hard work and achievements have been recognised with this national award.”
Louise Cook, who won the engineering award, said: “Before the Career Ready programme I was unsure of my future and what career path I would take. I lacked experience in the workplace and the self confidence to decide my future. My mentor, Andrea from Maersk, was amazing – she went above and beyond for me and inspired me to have the courage to create opportunities for myself.”
Thanks to the support of our strategic partners AstraZeneca, we have 47 STEM programmes in schools and colleges across the UK supported by volunteers from STEM industries. There are currently more than 800 students studying STEM subjects and undertaking the Career Ready programme. Of the 252 students who graduated from the programme in 2015, 35 per cent were girls.
Ian Nichol, National STEM Development Manager at Career Ready, said: “The AstraZeneca STEM award celebrates the potential future leaders of STEM industries, which are vital to the future success of the UK economy. This is an incredible opportunity for our students to witness, first hand, scientific research that’s changing our perception of the world. Well done to all of the finalists and the overall winners of this award – they all have a very bright future in STEM ahead of them.”
Meet the winners
AstraZeneca STEM Student of the Year Award
Winner: Scott Baker, Archbishop Sentamu Academy, North East, Yorkshire & Humber
Runner Up: Lydia Quinn, North West Regional College, Northern Ireland
Third place: Jamie Lamb, Cardiff and Vale College, Wales, South West and Midlands