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Students honoured for science outreach

(28 June 2018)

Pen-Yuan Hsing giving a demonstration at a public Science Day

Two Durham University students have been honoured for their work to inspire communities to get involved in science.

Pen-Yuan Hsing and Beth Kazmierski each received the Science Postgraduate Excellence in Outreach Award from the University.

The award recognises outstanding contributions to public engagement with science.

MammalWeb

Pen, a PhD student in the Department of Biosciences and a member of Ustinov College, has helped run the MammalWeb project, a joint venture with Durham Wildlife Trust which involves members of the public monitoring wildlife with motion-sensing camera boxes.

Since 2015, over 80 citizen scientists have submitted over 230,000 wildlife photos to the project’s website, www.mammalweb.org, from where the animals photographed are classified.

- Watch a video about MammalWeb

Pen has also worked with Year 9 pupils at Belmont Community School, in Durham City, encouraging them to become Ecological Ambassadors; and showcased the MammalWeb project at Durham University’s Celebrate Science festival and even Glastonbury Festival.

'Opening a window of opportunity'

Julie Ryder, from Belmont Community School, said: “Involvement with projects linked with Durham University is a vital part of the extra-curricular provision we provide for our students.

“Opening a window of opportunity for our students to work with the University is crucial if we are to increase the aspirations of our students.”

Hands-on science

Beth, who recently completed a PhD in the Department of Chemistry, helped develop the ChemSG (Chemistry for Scouting and Guiding) project, which provides hands-on science sessions for Scouting and Guiding groups.

Since 2016, ChemSG’s two sessions, Cool Materials and Amazing Light, have been delivered to over 3,500 children.

Science beyond the classroom

Dr Pete Edwards, Durham University’s Director of Science Outreach, said: “Pen and Beth are great examples of how we at Durham University take science beyond the classroom and the laboratory and out into the community.

“Both Pen and Beth have done great work in engaging members of the public with science and they thoroughly deserve their awards.”