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General Manager of National Space Academy in Leicester wins Services to Science and Technology Award at the English Women’s Awards 2018

Kierann Shah meets astronaut Tim Peake in September 2017, following his Principia mission, for which the National Space Academy created educational film clips. These were conducted and filmed whilst Tim was on the International Space Station (ISS) and can be seen on – https://astroacademy.org.uk Photo credit: UK Space Agency

Dr. Kierann Shah is General Manager of the National Space Academy in Leicester; an organisation which works with teachers, 11- 19 year olds and science ambassadors to make a positive impact on the space sector for generations to come.

 The English Women Awards 2018 were developed by Creative Oceanic to showcase the contribution of women to many industries and professions such as Law, Medicine, Technology, Arts and many more. Kierann’s work, and the work of her team, contributes to science education across the globe.

Kierann has a vast amount of experience in her field. After completing a Physics Masters (MPhys hons), Kierann worked at the Multidisciplinary Nanotechnology Centre in Swansea, gaining a research Masters and then a PhD in Nanotechnology.

Throughout her postgraduate studies she worked as a private tutor for GCSE and A-Level students in physics, maths and science.  She also spent time as a support worker at the university, supporting science and engineering students with special educational needs or physical disabilities.

Kierann is a member of the Institute of Physics’ Outreach and Public Engagement Advisory Group, The Royal Astronomical Society’s Education and Outreach Committee and sits on the Advisory Board of the LEAD Curriculum – a project seeking to engage young people with skills for leadership.

Kierann now leads a team based at the National Space Centre in Leicester, who use the context of space to tackle science curricula. The National Space Academy is funded by organisations like the UK Space Agency and ESA (European Space Agency), who believe in making science accessible to all.

The award came as a surprise and Kierann still doesn’t know who nominated her!

“I certainly didn’t expect to win,” Kierann said, “…my role is somewhat of a behind the scenes one so it is a rare pleasure to have external recognition like this, and I am very grateful to have it!”.

Kierann is dedicated to help give as many young people as possible a sound science education.

“I am driven in my work by a belief that developing skills and knowledge in the sciences and engineering can give young people of all backgrounds – and that absolutely includes girls and women – the opportunity to build a great career, and that studying these subjects can therefore facilitate social mobility and social change.”

Kierann went on to thank her team, and the great pool of scientists she works with.

“I am very lucky to work with talented scientists and engineers and some of the very best teachers in the UK, as well as wonderful support team. I see this award as recognition for their hard work as much as mine. Thank you.”

Prof. Anu Ojha OBE, Director of National Space Academy said: “This award is richly deserved, reflecting Kierann’s growing impact and influence at local, regional, national and international levels in inspiring and then cultivating the next generation of scientists and engineers –  vital components of the UK’s future economic and cultural prosperity. Congratulations!”

Visit: nationalspaceacademy.org for more information about Kierann, her team and projects for schools with the National Space Academy. Contact: nsa@spacecentre.co.uk to talk to the team and get involved with a project.