University of Bradford student wins prestigious Royal Society of Chemistry grant

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Saarah Kanval was interested in being a teacher from an early age, and now, thanks to a £28,000 teaching grant she is able to fulfill her ambitions.

Saarah, who is a Bradford native, is awaiting her final results but will commence her training in the autumn. She was supported through the competitive RSC process by her tutors in the School of Chemistry and Biosciences, which included an initial application, followed by an interview and test in London, together with a presentation and a group exercise. Although it was Saarah’s first trip to London, she sailed through.

The benefits of chemistry

Saarah believes that her Chemistry degree at Bradford has prepared her for a career in teaching, but also has taught her the wider elements of Chemistry and the effects and benefits that Chemistry has on the wider, everyday world. As Saarah says, “Chemistry plays a part in most things people take for granted, from the make-up you wear, to the medicines you take for a variety of common conditions. Without chemistry, the world would be a very different place.”

Working towards gender equality

Saarah wants to take this outlook and share it with children who may not see the connection between chemistry and the wider world. She is especially keen to get this message out to girls, as she believes there is currently gender inequality in the sciences due to gender stereotyping. “At Bradford, it was great to be mentored and taught by a mixed team of staff,” said Saarah. The University of Bradford is actively working towards gender equality and the School of Chemistry and Biosciences has just been awarded the Athena Swan Bronze charter-mark for their efforts in this area.

Saarah hopes that in the future she will be able to play a part in connecting local schools with the University through ongoing work, like the STEM festival in May 2018.

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