A postgraduate journalism student at the University of Lincoln has won the STEM Journalist of the Year award. The award is part of a journalism project funded by the East Midlands Development Agency (EMDA) to get more people interested in the sciences and maths.

Kayleigh Lawrence was given a certificate and won an iPod for her article, on Wednesday, 9th December, in a small ceremony on the University of Lincoln’s Brayford Pool campus.

Her article was about a conference, held by the STEM Partnership, a group aiming to boost interest in science, technology, engineering, and maths. These are subjects that the government has flagged up as important for the future of the UK.

Lawrence entered the competition purely to check the progress of her skills as a journalist: “I entered on the off chance. I really didn’t expect to win. I feel really lucky, actually, [and] I’m really excited.”

“This is my first year of journalism. I did a science degree at [the University of East Anglia]. I did Environmental Science, [then] I decided that I wanted to go into journalism… It sounds silly but I wanted to see if I was any good at it. So I entered the competition on the off chance that it might be worthwhile me doing, and I won.”

Jodie Delbridge, who works for the EMDA and coordinates their science, technology, engineering, and maths projects, really enjoyed Lawrence’s article: “Its well paced, it reads like something very comfortable. It doesn’t take an effort… It should grab you, and Kayleigh’s was one of the best.”

Delbridge also spoke about the importance of the project and why it is important to get people interested in these subjects: “It is absolutely vital to get people interested in these subjects for the economy… hence the journalism side. Trying to get people interested who might otherwise not be. To pick up an article and read it and really see that it is exciting. To see that there are aspects of it that are worthwhile, different, new, and modern.”

“I hope [the STEM Partnership] might become a real way of debating the changing scene and the changing attitudes towards all science, technology, engineering, and mathematical challenges that are coming up and will be coming up. I think it will have its own energy, its own ability to come forward. I don’t think EMDA will need to push it forward.”