As part of SCI’s growing Early Careers programme, the Ambassador Scheme was established to increase awareness of SCI activities in universities and industries, whilst also rewarding our most committed young members with opportunities for networking and professional development.
Since launching in early-2015, SCI now has almost 70 Ambassadors across the UK. To celebrate the success of the scheme, encourage networking between the Ambassadors, and to them give the opportunity to contribute to future activities in our Early Career programme, SCI invited them to our HQ in London on Thursday 21 June 2018 for the inaugural Ambassadors’ Day.
The day – led by Early Career Committee (ECC) Chair Professor Alan Heaton – began with a talk from Chair of SCI’s Membership Committee Dr David Witty, who outlined the results of the recent Membership Survey and highlighted the ways that Ambassadors can contribute to SCI activities.
'The day was well organised and speakers were knowledgeable.'
This was followed by a presentation from SCI Digital Editor Simon Frost on the importance of science communication, and how SCI uses different platforms to engage with SCI’s members and its wider community.
SCI Ambassador Teresa Ambrosio then gave a talk on her personal journey into science communication, in which she spoke about launching her blog and other social media platforms. She encouraged the other Ambassadors to get involved, highlighting the positive contribution it had had in promoting herself and her research.
'This was a very well-organised event, with relevant talks and useful workshops.'
To put what the Ambassadors had just learnt to the test, Simon Frost then sent them on a mission to find an object and Tweet about how it embodied the SCI strapline – where science meets business.
Here are the results:
#SCIAmbassadors— Teresa Ambrosio (@teres4amb) June 21, 2018
Plants use sunlight to survive and create beautiful flowers. Inspired by Nature, chem technology enables using this power to illuminate our lives.@SCIupdate #SciComm #science pic.twitter.com/qKlFVhUkSR
The winners were: Fahima Idris, Elijah Nazarzadeh, James Womack, and Beenish Siddique!
Scotch whiskey is becoming more popular. Analytical chemistry is used to understand what makes a good whiskey. Example: the parts per million of phenols in a whiskey tells us how 'peaty' or 'smokey' a whiskey is! #SCIAmbassadors @SCIFoodGroup #chemistry #pubchemistry pic.twitter.com/6Q5x0BLaK6— Jean-Marie Cols (@drjohncols) June 21, 2018
Charles Perez-Storey spoke about his experience at SCI, which began after he won the Thames & Kennet group’s Young Chemist of the Year in 2011. Charles was an early supporter of the SCI Ambassador Scheme, and became one of SCI’s first Ambassadors. He then went on to join the ECC in 2015, where he has continued to influence many ECC initiatives.
The following workshop focused on promoting SCI’s forward calendar of events and activities – both Early Career and within their research interests. Groups initially looked at past Day of Science and Careers events as a case study before applying advice from the whole day to suggest how to increase awareness of selected events over the coming year.
For example, the group said they would like to see more diversity in the types of careers highlighted, including science journalism, careers in government and NGO agencies, and how to transition from academia into industry.
The day finished with an evening reception.
'This was an excellent first meeting of our SCI Ambassadors with an opportunity to share experiences. We were very pleased that participants were able to link with other Ambassadors.'
Professor Alan Heaton, Chair of ECC
The SCI Ambassador Scheme is just one of many initiatives available as part of our extensive Early Career programme. SCI hold numerous career events across the UK each year, and launched a successful Mentoring Programme in 2016 that pairs an experienced SCI member in either academia or industry with a young committed member to help them address specific goals or challenges in their professional development.
More information on SCI’s Early Career activities can be found here.