Below are two nominations that have won in the past, and are a good example of how to set out a nomination and tell the story of your chosen nominee.
Example Nomination 1
What they did
This student is the only placement rep for the MAC department this year (21/22) and has said ‘yes’ every time they have been asked to promote the benefits of a sandwich year placement to current L5 students. They took part in the introductory lecture, recorded a Zoom chat with the Employability Lead to be shown in lectures, provided quotes for open days and social media, and attended numerous lectures across the dept to talk to students on different courses. Despite the demands of their final year, this student has been tireless in their enthusiasm for promoting placements and has shared the positive experience they had on placement and the benefits it has brought for their final year and beyond. They have been cheerful and positive every time.”
What was the Impact?
They have given all students in MAC the chance to hear about the benefits of a placement from ‘the horse’s mouth’. This has been of huge benefit to the EL, the EA and other members of staff when promoting placements because it makes a big difference if the message comes from someone who has just done a placement and is of a similar age and experience as the student audience. Hearing about such a positive experience encourages students to consider a placement for themselves.
How it inspired others
The student’s enthusiastic and positive message about their sandwich year placement inspired L5 students to consider doing a placement next year and sign up to Handshake to look for opportunities. Students have told the EL that the placement rep has inspired them to do a placement. The rep also made themselves available to L5s by sharing their email address with students and chatting to them informally about what it’s like being on placement and the benefits it brings.
Example Nomination 2
What they did
This student has overcome significant adversity on their route to reaching the final year of their degree and are on course to graduate with a class I degree in Physics. They are from an economically disadvantaged background, have certain disabilities, which were diagnosed very late, lost a close family member during their A-levels, and have suffered severe mental health issues since a young age. One A-level teacher even told them that they should try something else – not to pursue physics!
Despite this, through tenacity and passion for the subject, they have excelled during their degree, and are actively pursuing PhD study at SHU and elsewhere. They undertook a placement year at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, where they gained experience in a research environment, which has stoked their fire for pursuing a doctoral degree. In my mind, to achieve success after facing such adversity is worthy of recognition. The student impressed with their determination and commitment as well as professionalism throughout the placement. The huge growth in confidence and skills over placement has enabled the student to return to the university and pursue opportunities for further study. Whilst on placement the student continued outreach work and support work for the university such as supporting IOP accreditation.
What was the Impact?
On the back of their achievements, this student has applied for a PhD scholarship from the IOP Jocelyn Bell-Burnell fund. If the application is successful, the award would bring £35k funding in order for this student to continue study at SHU and pursue cutting edge research in nuclear physics, thus raising the profile of the department. They are also pursuing funded PhD opportunities elsewhere. Their final year project is to perform a nuclear physics experiment in collaboration with STFC, which has opened up new research collaboration opportunities between the STFC ISIS laboratory and SHU. I also believe one of the main impact of this student’s achievements is that of inspiring others.
The high quality work whilst on placement will lead to a paper and has helped increase knowledge relevant to a limiting problem at the facility.
The student is applying for funding to study a PhD at SHU which if successful could lead to further funding and increased research opportunities at SHU for leading nuclear science research and increased collaborations with national and international facilities.”
How it inspired others
Due to their time on placement at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, the STFC website now features an article about this student, outlining the challenges they had faced, along with the research they were undertaking at the lab. I believe that other students who saw this article would feel inspired to pursue their ambitions, even in the face of adversity. This student also supports the university as a student ambassador at open days and outreach sessions, where they can share their unusual path into academia and showcase the success of a minority student in STEM. They also share their passion for the subject by assisting me as a voluntary teaching assistant during Atomic and Nuclear Physics tutorials, one hour per week.
An article was published on the STFC website detailing the student’s journey and the challenges. This and the other outreach work has helped inspire other student to apply for placements and that it is possible to overcome challenges, adversity and become an academic researcher. I believe this helps demonstrate that science is not just for the privileged and that hard work, determination and commitment it is possible to achieve and this is inspirational.