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Nick Barker - Chemistry

Public Engagement

Tell us a bit about your role…

I work in the Chemistry department and run a schools outreach programme.

Tell us about your award-winning project/work…

I've been running an outreach programme for 10 years. I work with primary, secondary and special schools, and I particularly like to work with schools which serve socially less advantaged areas. On average I will work with three different schools each week. The whole point is to introduce this University to the talent that can be found where our students don't tend to come from and to introduce those young people to talent they might not realise they possess.

How does it feel to have won the Public Engagement award?

Very nice and slightly embarrassing at the same time.

Why do you think people should get involved with nominating for the University Awards?

You will cheer up the person you nominate no end! The Awards are a kind and gracious dimension to working life.

What was a personal highlight for you from the Awards evening on 18 May?

I will remember the day because in the morning I left a school in East London where I had spent the week working with some brilliant young people who don't have a great deal in the way of opportunity or self-belief. In the evening somebody shone a big light on me and people clapped. It was a very poignant and humbling contrast. I hope some day those children will be applauded because they are wonderful people and if they are allowed to be successful they will make the world better, I think.

The University Awards are a great way for the University to improve and learn from staff initiatives over the year. If you could change one thing at the University, what would it be?

To bring more children onto campus to do interesting and meaningful activities. All the time. Until we are totally familiar with them and they are totally familiar with us. Please do some outreach!

What would you like to say to the person – or people – who nominated you?

Thank you for thinking of me. I want to keep doing what I have been doing.

Enjoyed reading about Nick's experience? Take a look at what the other award winners had to say

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The whole point is to introduce this University to the talent that can be found where our students don't tend to come from and to introduce those young people to talent they might not realise they possess."