The Education & Public Engagement (EPE) Champion of the Year goes to someone who has demonstrated commitment to and flair for public engagement and outreach in 2019.
Dr Shubhangi Kakkar, finished her PhD journey with SSPC at University of Limerick, in June this year, during lockdown. Her research included looking at how the active ingredients in drugs form crystals in liquids. “Crystallisation is important for making and formulating many medicines, and I looked at the first step in the formation of these crystals and analysed how these molecules of the drug’s active ingredient cluster together.”
Being part of a Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) funded research centre, Shubhangi had opportunity to engage with the Education and Public Engagement (EPE) team. For her, public engagement has enriched her teaching and learning abilities. It has helped her understand the importance of public speaking and how to handle a crowd as a speaker of Pint of Science.
Shubhangi said taking part in the public engagement activities has developed her transferable skills such as her leadership qualities and communication skills, while explaining her work and its social implications to the society. With these activities, she has directed her knowledge flow to help build a more sustainable and healthy society. She feels like she is now connected to society.
“Even during the preparation of this presentation, I had so much fun. I could have never thought in my life to do this if was not with SSPC Education and Public Engagement (EPE) activities. But now I want to do it every year.”
Shubhangi enjoyed working with students because she was able to demonstrate her abilities without the fear of being judged, while also further developing her life skills and social networking skills. She found these activities were such fun and sometimes even challenge her academic thinking as it points out how we complicate such simple things with our knowledge.
“These activities feel like we are making a difference in society and not just sitting at our computer screens working towards PhD goal.”
Whilst demonstrating and teaching in public engagement activities Shubhangi represented SSPC, which helps society to know more about our organization and the opportunities in it. The activities that she has done in schools, museums and workshops in Universities have helped the public to know about how SSPC works and all our processes.
Shubhangi has completed an outstanding 14 activities in 1 year, and added:
“This past year was special as I had completed my goal for 4 EPE activities at the start of the year, which was highly rewarding and gave me a lift to complete 14 activities in 1 year especially when doing these activities is like an adrenaline boost for a person like me.”
SSPC are delighted to virtually acknowledge Shubhangi on her award and wish her all the best in her future endeavours.