2021 winner: Rose Russell
An Art and D&T Technician at the Ursuline Academy Ilford, Rose Russell has dedicated her personal time to leading a STEM club and championing extra-curricular activities since 2010. She has changed perceptions, stereotypes, and aspirations for girls of all ages and has lead many through National Science & Engineering Competitions. Her tireless hard work has been supported by school leaders and formed part of the Ursuline Academy's 2015-17 improvement plan to remain a Centre of Excellence for STEM.
WES Trustee and Head Judge Chrisma Jain said:
“As WES strives to further diversity and inclusion within engineering, it’s heartening to learn about the efforts of so many individuals outside of STEM roles who are dedicated to doing the same. Their invaluable support has helped to make real change and will play a vital role in the future of women in engineering.
“On behalf of the judging panel, I would like to commend all of the nominees for the excellent work that they have done to help, encourage and of course inspire women to achieve as engineers. The high standard of nominations we received made for a fascinating and challenging judging process and I would like to thank everyone who applied for the transformational impact that you have made.”
2020 winner: Fiona Hopkinson
Congratulations to Fiona Hopkinson who was selected as winner of the 2020 Amy Johnson Inspiration Award, having been the driving force behind a school’s cultural transformation to a leading school for STEM as noted in the Good Schools Guide. She also supported teams to win the TeenTech Challenge, is an MSx student at the University of Liverpool reading Organisational Psychology, a non-executive trustee of TeenTech and a volunteer for the Tech Talent Charter.
Fiona is an outstanding example of an individual who is not an engineer, yet understands the importance of raising the profile of STEM with young people and works tirelessly to improve girls' perception of engineering. Head Judge Alex Knight commented that “Fiona's dedication and commitment to furthering diversity within engineering and applied sciences is remarkable. She is an inspiration to others and a well-deserved winner of this award.”
2019 winner: Natalie Cheung
Since joining STEM Learning, Natalie recognised there was a disconnect between STEM Ambassadors and young people they wish to inspire. This is largely due to the STEM Ambassador cohort not being representative of the diversity in the communities they serve. Natalie committed to improving understanding in existing volunteers of barriers for underrepresented groups to join engineering and similar fields. One of Natalie’s first tasks was adding further content to training programmes to ensure better understanding. Natalie has also driven to recruit new volunteers from underrepresented groups including as BAME, LGBT+ and previous apprentices. Since joining the team, Natalie has committed to collaborating with equality and diversity groups and supporting women in engineering events, where there had not been collaboration previously. Her efforts above and beyond her role have resulted in a volunteer cohort with better understanding of barriers into the industry for underrepresented groups and there is now a 51% of female STEM Ambassadors in the London cohort.
As an award-winning YMCA volunteer, Natalie was nominated to deliver a TED-style talk at the YMCA175 event in 2019 and chose the topic of Women In Engineering. She shared the volunteer work she has led in communities overseas to develop vocational skills and mathematical literacy to vulnerable young women. Her TED-Ed talk was to an audience of over 3000 leaders across the YMCA youth movement from over 100 countries – as well as further viewers on the live-stream. Through this talk Natalie reached a diverse and international non-STEM audience who were then inspired to consider engineering in their everyday lives and to consider science in their activism. As a member of multiple engineering committees and panels, as well as youth charity groups, she drives change and programmes to highlight diverse engineering role models through ICE communication campaigns and connecting to community groups where the role of engineers is not well known. Natalie is an advocate for intersectional diversity in STEM in all parts of her life including improving existing programmes at work and leading change through volunteer organisations.
2018 winner: Tabitha Goldstaub
The 2018 winner of the award was Tabitha Goldstaub, co-founder of Cognition X, an expert advice platform for businesses and organisations looking to learn about and implement artificial intelligence (AI). Noting that the majority of software engineer / AI conferences and publications consist of mainly male contributions, she organises the annual Cog X festival, bringing together several thousand attendees and inviting leading academics and women engineers. Chair of judges Betty Bonnardel-Azzarelli commented: “I have been impressed with the quality of applications received for the Amy Johnson award this year. Tabitha’s approach to artificial intelligence and how she uses it to support to women in tech impressed the judges. She is using her positions in highly visible roles with government and the mayor's office to promote diversity in tech.”
2017 winner: Dr Alice White
The 2017 winner was Dr Alice White, Wikimedian in Residence, Wellcome Trust.
Sarah Peers, Vice President of WES and chair of the judging panel said “Our 2017 Amy Johnson Award winner, Alice White impressed us with the impact of her work as Wellcome Wikimedian in residence. Her wikithons have taught hundreds of people how to get the stories of women in science and engineering online and making significant changes to Wikipedia content.”
2016 winner: Jane Priston
In 2016 Jane Priston became the first, very deserving, winner of the award for her work on The Amy Johnson Project. WES was impressed with Jane's drive and determination to make Amy Johnson's story known. She worked tirelessly to get an Amy Johnson Bronze erected in Herne Bay, which has proved a striking landmark and will ensure that Amy Johnson, her life and her achievements, will be known to future generations.