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Female scientists shortlisted in Oxford video competition

June 11th, 2021

Two budding scientists at Monmouth School for Girls have been shortlisted in a video competition organised by the University of Oxford.

Amber and Isobella produced an outstanding multi-media piece on Professor Alison Mary Smith OBE for the Unsung Heroes of Science competition run by Hertford College.

The Year 12 students are vying for the overall top prize and appealing for support in trying to win the Audience Award for the most-watched video.

Both students are taking A levels in Biology, Chemistry, Maths and Further Maths and would like to study a degree at the University of Oxford.

Isobella, 17, said: “We chose to showcase Professor Smith because we are very aware of women in STEM and their importance to young and aspiring female scientists like us.

“Professor Smith’s work is integral to the understanding of plants and yet her name is rarely mentioned and many women’s contributions to science are overlooked and unknown.”

Isobella is hoping to read a degree in Medicine and Amber, Biochemistry.

They both keen rowers have gained much confidence and knowledge from the Monmouth Science Initiative (MSI).

Amber, 17, said: “Professor Smith’s current research is on increasing crop yield, which is becoming a looming issue to solve our demand for food and lack of land, due to climate change. Sharing her work will help her make these advancements.”

Isobella said: “We’ve been taking our practical science beyond our studies with the captivating biology experiments we have been carrying out in MSI.

“We decided to enter this competition to expand our biochemical knowledge and to research a scientist and her important work.

“We shared the workload 50/50 and the hardest part for me was planning out the drawings and their order to match our script to communicate our knowledge to the audience and to have the frames flow like a story.”

Amber added: “I most enjoyed researching Professor Smith’s own research about photosynthesis and starch and translating it for the competition’s target audience of 12-year-olds.”

The Audience Award will be given to the video with the most views by midnight on Sunday 27th June.

Award-winning science writer Angela Saini, in conversation with Professor Alison Woollard, the judge of the competition, will announce the full results in an online celebration on Tuesday 30th June.

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