Catching up with the winners of the 2018 STEM Inspiration Awards, we talked to Sophie Finch, our Outstanding STEM Technician.
I had just returned to work after a fantastic A level physics course at the National STEM Learning Centre, and had received an email from the course leader saying “I think this would be great for you Sophie.”
Opening the email, it was the link to the STEM Inspiration Awards and some information about it. I had a good look and decided that I was going to apply. At the time I didn’t know how big the awards were and what could happen I was just thinking it would be nice to enter.
The application process was fantastic, it really gives you a chance to reflect upon the fantastic work we do as technicians. The staff and students I work with also helped by writing some statements for me to send, along with photos and videos that showcased the work I do in schools and my local community.
The morning I received an email to say I had been shortlisted felt amazing, I didn’t expect anything to come of my application and to be shortlisted felt like a prize in itself. My whole school was behind me and kept me very motivated throughout the weeks before attending the House of Lords ceremony.
My husband and I travelled from Yorkshire to London for the awards – it felt amazing to be attending a ceremony in the House of Lords, and it was even more special to be in the running to win one of the awards.
We had a chance to mingle and meet new faces and this gave me a chance to think that just being here is a prize in itself and whatever happens, I am very lucky to have made it this far.
When my category came up I was smiling so much - I was in the House of Lords representing science technicians in the UK, what an achievement it felt! Lord Sainsbury talked about the role of a technician and the important work that we do. When he announced me as the winner, I was so ecstatically happy.
What have I achieved in the last 12 months after winning the award?
I have been asked to do some one-off science events in the community, including Beaver Scouts and children’s events. It has also given me the confidence to set up an Instagram account that shows the day-to-day life of a technician (@s.finchscience18) and started with some fun videos about science fun at all ages. The most exciting news is that after winning STEM Technician of the Year, I have been successful in being promoted to Senior Science Technician in my work.
I am very proud of the work I do and love playing a part in helping children and adults have fun with science at home or in school. In two and a half years, I have worked my way from a Trainee Science Technician to a Senior Science Technician, all by the age of 27!
Could you be a STEM Inspiration Award winner?
Applications for the 2019 STEM Inspiration Awards are currently open and will close on 10 September 2019.