Materials science postgraduate awarded Robert Perrin Medal
Rhys Archer, PhD researcher in the Department of Materials and founder of the Women of Science story-sharing campaign, has been awarded the Robert Perrin Medal by the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3).
The prestigious award recognises an outstanding and sustained commitment, from an individual working in university or industry, to outreach activity covering materials science and technology targeted at 11 to 19-year-old students.
Supported jointly by the Worshipful Company of Armourers and Brasiers, the medal is one of a range of prizes presented by the IOM3 to recognise personal achievement.
Rhys is currently finishing her PhD in materials science with Professor William Sampson and Professor Prasad Potluri, and will start an EPSRC fellowship with Professor Julie Gough and Dr Chris Blanford in biomedical materials engineering later this year.
Her Women of Science campaign, set up in 2016, aims to share relatable stories of women in STEM for three goals: as role models for young people; to support current women in STEM; and to change perceptions among the general public. She shares her interviews and pictures on the campaign's website, via social media and on postcards for young people in schools.
For the past five years Rhys has been a Widening Participation Fellow, delivering materials science workshops to widening participation schools in Manchester, as well as a Manchester Access programme tutor.
She also runs a treasure hunt activity - to find portraits hidden around the site - at Bluedot Festival each year. In addition, she has presented a digital photography exhibition at the People's History Museum, and has helped to deliver activities such as the University's Community Festival.
Recently, Rhys won a £10,000 grant from the Royal Society of Chemistry, which she is using for three projects: an educational colouring-in book for primary schools, working with local illustrator Eleanor Thomas; mentor circles for current women in STEM, including writing retreats and talks; and a touring UK photography exhibition of the portraits taken through the Women of Science campaign.