Here comes the chemistry….regional coordinator appointed

Posted by pt91 at Oct 31, 2011 11:14 AM |
New science champion to work with University of Leicester

Issued by University of Nottingham Press Office on 31 October 2011

A science champion who will work to promote the value of studying chemistry — and open people’s eyes to the impact it has on the world around us — has taken up a new post in the East Midlands.

Heidi Dobbs has recently been appointed regional co-ordinator for the Midlands by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) to support the society’s activities in the region – including the University of Leicester - and raise the profile of the wide range of educational resources it offers.

Heidi said: “My job title is co-ordinator but I think of myself as of a chemistry ‘fixer’. My role is all about developing networks and providing resources to, and links between people with a passion for Chemistry education — whether they are teachers, students, academics or professional scientists from industry.”

The Royal Society of Chemistry is Europe’s leading organisation for the advancement of the chemical sciences and they offer a wide range of educational resources and chemistry-based events and activities, many of which are free to access.

Her new role will see her drawing on a lifelong passion for science which started, somewhat ironically, when she fainted during a physics lesson at school. The chemistry preparatory room where she was taken to recover was little more than a store cupboard but to Heidi, with its shelves laden with row after row of bottles, jars and unidentifiable yet intriguing objects, it was an Aladdin’s cave. People say there is a lightning strike moment that sparks a passion in a subject — that was mine.”

She left university with a master’s degree in chemistry before going to work in the City as a management consultant for the pharmaceutical industry. After leaving to work as a freelance for a couple of years, she followed her desire to make more use of her expertise in chemistry by retraining to teach the subject to secondary school pupils and, later, to students on the foundation course at university. “If anyone had ever told me that I would one day be teaching science I would have laughed in their face but I absolutely loved it — and having free reign over my own preparatory room!”

However, when the RSC announced its intention to employ a regional coordinator to promote its activities, Heidi jumped at the chance. “When the RSC role came up, I knew it was my opportunity to show many more people what Chemistry has to offer and hopefully cause some ‘lightning strikes’ of my own.”

"Put simply chemistry has a part to play in every aspect of the world around us — everything from the food that we eat to the latest technologies we use to work and play. More than that, as a discipline, it can offer a wide range of transferable skills which are extremely attractive to employers and can help to further careers, including logical thinking, problem solving, numeracy and practical ability.” 

One of Heidi’s key tasks in her new role, based in the University of Nottingham, will be to take the excellent outreach work already being done by universities in the East Midlands and promote ‘best practice’ across the whole of the region which also includes Birmingham, North Staffordshire and the West Midlands.

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