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Warwick’s outreach initiative celebrated by Times Higher Education

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With the Sunday Times recently announcing that 22 of Warwick’s subjects are in UK’s top ten, it’s seemingly awards season here at the university. And now, it’s Warwick’s outreach’s turn to be celebrated. The Times Higher Education Awards (THE Awards), or the self-proclaimed “Oscars of the higher education sector” have released their shortlist for this year’s nominees, and the University of Warwick has been nominated for an award in the “Widening participation or Outreach initiative of the year” category.

The Times Higher Education (THE) is a weekly magazine that publishes articles relevant to higher education. They are most famous for their annual “World University Rankings,” in which Warwick most recently ranked 82nd. They are also known for their aforementioned THE Awards, in which universities can be nominated for an award in one (or more) of 19 categories. The winner is revealed in a glamorous awards ceremony, taking place at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London on the 30th of November.

This includes many activities for a range of ages, such as inviting primary school pupils to perform basic experiments in the labs…

One area in particular that has been commended is Warwick Chemistry’s ‘Schools Outreach Programme’, led by Nick Barker. This includes many activities for a range of ages, such as inviting primary school pupils to perform basic experiments in the labs, and giving talks and demonstrations to surrounding schools. The demonstrations are always very exciting and Nick’s undying enthusiasm and ability to inspire those he meets makes him the perfect person to engage with the children.

In fact, if you attempt to look for him on Google, every picture is likely to be of him looking like a mad scientist in the middle of an experiment. It’s no surprise that this has resulted in his programme receiving overwhelmingly positive feedback, with both helpers and participating schools calling it “highly rewarding” and “breath-taking.” PhD students who help out are offered money, but often donate their proceeds to the programme because they enjoy the experience so much.

It’s no surprise that this has resulted in his programme receiving overwhelmingly positive feedback…

And it’s easy to see why it’s so enjoyable. I volunteered to join ChemSoc’s Outreach programme and it was my best decision of the year by far. Overseen by Nick and run by elected students, we go to schools and exhibitions to give talks and demonstrate some basic experiments. I’ve found it to be an enriching experience and it’s always great to see the children reacting to the experiments in awe. For those joining the Chemistry department this year, I would highly recommend joining this initiative.

Of course, for those not studying Chemistry, there are other departmental outreach programmes you can participate in, such as Engineering and Computer Science. If your subject doesn’t offer a volunteering programme, there are other ways to get involved, such as through Warwick Volunteers and Warwick Bright Stars, where you give talks to primary school classes and lead classes in campus-based activities.

For those joining the Chemistry department this year, I would highly recommend joining this initiative…

So, if you’re looking to enhance your experience at Warwick, there are plenty of opportunities to be involved with our (potentially) award-winning university. For now, I’m sure I speak on everyone’s behalf when I wish the best of luck to Nick Barker and everyone else involved in an outreach programme, in the hopes that the University of Warwick takes home an award this year.

 

 

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