13 December 2021

Former Sheffield chemistry student awarded prestigious education prize

Dr Emma Owens has been awarded a Royal Society of Chemistry accolade for her contributions to education.

Emma Owens

A former University of Sheffield student has been awarded a prestigious Royal Society of Chemistry accolade for her contributions to education.

Dr Emma Owens, who completed her undergraduate degree and PhD in the Department of Chemistry, has been named the winner of the Society’s 2021 Early Career Prize for Excellence in Secondary and Further Education.

Judges recognised Emma for “demonstrating outstanding skills and knowledge in curriculum design, practical chemistry and contextualisation” at Horizon Community College in Barnsley, where she teaches.

Throughout her PhD, Emma was a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the undergraduate teaching labs and supervised numerous MChem and MSc students through their research projects. 

She also had the opportunity to teach at Nanjing Tech University in China through as part of a partnership with the University of Sheffield, and received recognition for her contributions by becoming a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA).

Dr Sebastian Spain, Emma’s PhD supervisor, said: “Throughout her time in Sheffield, Emma demonstrated exceptional dedication and aptitude for education. I am very pleased to see that this has been recognised since her move to HCC.”

In her role at Horizon Community College, Emma was appointed to a Teaching and Learning role within the science department after just 19 months of teaching, due to her outstanding work ethic, high standards and outward thinking approach to teaching science. 

Judges heard how Emma had also been an invaluable member of the science extracurricular team, with her after school sessions drawing unprecedented numbers of students.

The Royal Society of Chemistry 2021 Education Prizes recognise individuals, teams and schools across primary, secondary, further education and higher education, for their exceptional contributions to chemistry education.

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