Professor’s work to promote science wins royal seal of approval
A Swansea University academic has been honoured by the Princess Royal for her dedication in sharing a passion for science with other women.
Professor Yamni Nigam is a world-renowned expert on the science and therapeutic use of maggots. Discoveries by her research team have led to a greater understanding on how maggots work in wounds but it was her work promoting her profession that has led to her winning a prestigious WISE Award.
The annual awards provide an opportunity to recognise inspiring organisations and individuals who have addressed the core concerns of the WISE campaign promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to girls and women.
Professor Nigam delivers interactive sessions in her fields of microbiology and entomology to pupils at local schools and regularly takes part in community outreach programmes such as Swansea Science Festival.
She was presented with the WISE Innovation Award by the Princess, who is patron of WISE at a ceremony in London.
Judges paid tribute to Professor Nigam’s enthusiasm and praised her for her work to influence the Welsh curriculum with resource packs aimed at encouraging more girls to apply for STEM subjects.
“She is developing a new antibiotic from maggot secretion at a crucial time and is a fantastic STEM ambassador,” they said.
Professor Nigam said she was thrilled to have won and now plans to work even more closely with the WISE campaign.
She said: “The whole evening was totally awesome from start to finish. All the finalists were brilliant and I feel very honoured to have won. Huge thanks to my top researchers in Team Maggot!
“I am passionate about science and determined to do what I can to promote more girls becoming enthralled with, and pursuing STEM subjects.”
Swansea University’s Senior Pro Vice-Chancellor Hilary Lappin-Scott – and fellow microbiologist – was there to see Professor Nigam lift her award.
She said: “I am absolutely delighted for Yamni whose dedication to promoting STEM careers is inspirational.
“She is among the many remarkable academics we are lucky enough to have at Swansea who set girls and women the perfect example about what STEM can offer them.
“Events like these are so important because they help us ensure we continue to developing female talent within our institutions.”
The awards are organised by the WISE campaign which aims to enable and energise people in business, industry and education by offering expertise, training and networking events.
With more than 900,000 women currently employed in core STEM occupations, which include science, engineering, and information and communications technology,WISE’s target of a million female employees by 2020 is now in sight.
Professor Nigam added: “It’s such an important mission and one which I will happily devote my time to.”