A former science student from our Bromley Campus has been creating waves of excitement in the world of science and education since completing her course back in 2013. Amy has not only progressed to studying for a Natural Sciences BSc (Hons) degree with the Open University, she has also established her own charity that aims to encourage more young women and people from disadvantaged backgrounds to study and forge themselves exciting careers in the fields of science and technology.
GlamSci has been four years in the making and has gone from strength to strength since its launch. Amy runs the charity with the help of her devoted mum and business partner Nickie - a former hairdresser. The two started the charity in honour of Amy’s grandmother who was a life-long champion of education and training and believed that only through learning can a person achieve their goals and ambitions in life.
From an early age Amy was interested in science. She was intrigued by how different chemical products used by her mother would produce different colours or hairstyles. “She was always very inquisitive as a child,” says Nickie, “she would sit and study my bottles of peroxide or hair dyes and ask why they did what they did. This led to her looking up at the sky and wanting to know why, on sunny days, it was blue, and why is grass green? I, in turn, would then have to look up the answers and pass them on to her. The two of us learned together.”
Amy has a condition called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) that she has had to cope with throughout her life. EDS reduces collagen levels in the body and can seriously weaken bones, joints, eyesight and even affect the heart. It can lead the sufferer to experience constant pain and disability. It was through her eagerness to understand her condition that she decided she would study science. She would miss long periods of her schooling due to poor health and have to undergo surgery. Despite the frequent setbacks, Amy still managed to achieve a decent set of GCSE results and she progressed, through sheer determination, to then complete her further education course at London South East Colleges.
Amy says: “I didn’t really get all I had hoped for in school. The teachers were less than encouraging to me, and I didn’t ever get the sense that they believed in me. I got a completely different treatment from my tutors at College. They supported me with my disability, gave me choices and set me difficult but realistic targets and challenges. Most of all, they gave me encouragement and inspired me to believe that I could become a scientist. I credit my course tutor, Ian with getting me to where I am today. He’s a truly brilliant teacher.”
Alongside her academic studies, Amy donates every second of her free time to GlamSci. The name was inspired by a throwaway remark made by a lecturer during a recruitment event at a university. She was told she was 'far too glamorous’ to work as a scientist. These words only tightened her resolve to continue and make her mark in the world of science and a career was born.
She now travels around the UK and abroad giving lectures and talks to support (particularly) girls who are interested in science. She gives them scientific demonstrations and practical workshops and offers advice on university applications. She has recently widened her market to include disabled people and disadvantaged youths trying to escape gang culture.
She continues: “GlamSci’s popularity has grown significantly this year. Bookings have gone through the roof and beyond what I ever expected. I guess this is because of our growing reputation and popularity. My work is to enrich the science curriculum in schools and to bring the subject to a much wider audience than before. Science and technology aren't just for boys and shouldn’t be seen as an elite subject. The more people taking part in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), will help the human race achieve a wider and more diverse set of discoveries in the future.”