Hi, my name is Amy, and i am a self confessed Chemistry nerd, and life long science enthustist, come and read my blog as I document my time at through college and university as I study chemistry to become a chemistry teacher. Please note, glasses are optional

August 2014 - Sorry It's So Late!!

ALW 2014
Amy King and Jan Hodges
Hello, sorry I have not updated my page as much recently, but for those who follow much of my social media sites, you would have seen that I’ve been up to a lot of unusual things, such as the making of films and photo shoots, but I have been unable to tell people why I’ve been doing these things due to being under a press embargo. Fortunately, the press embargo has now been lifted and I can explain.

Back in January, the PR department of my old college in Bromley got back in touch with me, and asked for my permission to put me forward for an award for an event, known as Adult Learner’s Week by a company called NIACE. At that moment in time I agreed, not thinking much would come from it, but I still submitted an application and then promptly forgot about it, as I continued on with my degree studies.

Then back in March, I had a phone call from my college, informing me that I had won a regional award as a Young Adult Learner of the Year for London, and that I had (some how) been shortlisted for the National Young Adult Learner of the Year award. I was then placed under an embargo, and asked to take part in producing promotional materials for the project, which included being filmed by a member of the BBC and a photoshoot with a top celebrity photographer.
The time soon quickly came around for me to attend the first of the NIACE award ceremony, which was held (on the hottest day of the year) at London Canal Museum, on the 12th of June. I attended this ceremony with the closest members of my family, and old chemistry teacher, head of science and my personal idol, Ian Davis. It was a tear-jerking evening,  I was called up to make a speech (off the cuff I might add, as I wasn’t informed I needed to make one!), thanking both my mum and my teachers, at Bromley. My mum was then called to the stage to come and accept the award with me, where I gave her a hug, and told the room how much I loved her and without her I wouldn’t be where I was today….safe to say, the whole room was in floods after I was finished!

The following Monday, the 16th of June,  was the national award ceremony, and I was extremely nervous! I was told before we had arrived that we would be attending the event at 8 Northumberland avenue, but we had no idea that this was the location of the Grand Hotel. Walking through the hotel’s plaza, I felt like Julie Roberts in Pretty Women, it was so unbelievably beautiful and I could hardly believe I had been asked to be there! Which, consequently, made me all the more nervous! A buffet lunch laid out for myself, other winners and guests, a beautiful hotel room had been booked where my family and I could go and freshen up, and all the help on hand if we needed it. It made me feel like an utter princess, and for the first time, like someone that was very important!

During this time, we were still in the dark with who had won the award. I had been entered into my category with two lovely boys, David Ian Simpson and Max Bennett, who both had amazing stories, and were absolutely incredible people. We, as well as close to around 300 other guests, were given a gourmet dinner in the hotel’s Ballroom, as each award was announced. The Young Adult Learner of the Year award was the second to last award of the night, and with each passing award, I became increasingly more nervous. The award was introduced with each of our finalist videos being shown to the room, before the award was read out (Oscar style) from a silver envelope by Jan Hodges, a sponsor of the award, from a foundation called The Edge Foundation. Those few seconds as she tore into the envelope, seemed like the longest in my life, as I repeatedly told myself it wasn’t going to be me,  I wasn’t even in the running!

Suddenly, I heard Ms Hodges announce that I had won, and I, in Oscar style, burst into tears. All the hardships I had faced and all the times I had struggled had been vindicated, and all the work I had done to help those who were struggling like I had, been recognised. I was over the moon, as well as shaking like a leaf! After the two wonderful boys had collected their awards, I was called to the stage to address the room. I felt like I was walking on air, as I walked up on stage to a sea of applause, (even with the slight Jennifer Lawrence moment I had on the stairs). Learning from my previous award evening I had tried to prepare some things to say (including an educational quote from Einstein), in the extremely unlikely event that I did win the award, but in such shock from being picked, I had forgotten everything I had planned to say! I managed to bumble my way through an interview with one of the members of the NIACE team, before being escorted off the stage (mostly I believe so I didn’t go flying again!), before rounding off the night off with some PR shots.

The next morning, my mother and I found ourselves being escorted through the House of Commons, for a parliamentary reception with all the winners, their families and local educational minsters and MPs. The morning was a rush of faces, names and congratulations, in such an amazing and beautiful surroundings, I could barely believe I was there in the flesh. Our reception was finished up with a series of talks, the CEO of NIACE, the MP for Eastbourne, and the MP for West Suffolk (and minister for Business, Enterprise and Energy).

Since these awards, I have been featured in many local papers in Bexleyheath (where I am from), Bromley and Medway (where my university campus is based). I have also been involved in some advertising campaigns for Bromley College (the most recent featuring on the back of a bus). I was also interviewed by the Royal Society of chemistry to be featured in their 175 faces of chemistry, which is an incredible honour! Also through these awards, I have been given a chance to study a fully funded PhD, after my master studies are completed to a satisfactory level. As well as being involved in many other interesting and exciting opportunities and projects.

In the next coming months, I am due to return back to university, this year I’ll be juggling my studies, alongside be being president of the universities chemical Society, continuing my work in STEM as a STEM ambassador and running my STEM based charity, GlamSci, as well as working as ambassador for a number of important organisations, including NIACE, and WorldTeachIn.

I am extremely excited and utterly humbled by the future holds now for me as a young woman studying chemistry. In my wildest dreams I could not have imagined doing even the fraction of the things I have done in the past few months. My only hope is now, that I can continue this work and inspire more young people into the chemical sciences and related fields.

Thank you to all my readers, for sticking by me for so long and here’s to the next coming years! May all our work be successful, and that we keep pushing the envelope and changing the world through chemistry! 
Posted by Amy King on Aug 9, 2014 6:52 PM Europe/London

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