The Awards are an opportunity to celebrate the strength of commitment to equality and diversity at Oxford and to recognise individuals and groups who have inspired others, demonstrated leadership and made a difference to equality and diversity in the University’s working, learning and social environment.
Three of the five categories were won by representatives from MPLS, and several other individuals or projects were highly commended or shortlisted.
Overall winner: Lauren Rudd, DPhil student, Zoology and Green Templeton College
Lauren has spearheaded equality, diversity and inclusion initiatives as the VP for Equality and Diversity at Green Templeton College, an active member of the Zoology Race Equality Task Force, an MPLS EDI Fellow and co-founder of the BIPOC STEM Network.
Highly commended from MPLS: Rebecca Colquhoun, DPhil student, Earth Sciences and University College
Rebecca leads initiatives that tackle racism, homophobia and ableism at department, college and divisional level and beyond Oxford.
Shortlisted from MPLS: Geoffrey Mboya, DPhil student, Mathematical Institute and St Peter’s College
Geoffrey is the founder of the Mfano Africa-Oxford Mathematics Virtual Mentorship Programme, a mathematical science mentorship scheme for Black research students from Africa (also shortlisted in the Promoting Awareness Project category below).
Shortlisted from MPLS:
Alexandra Ramadan, Postdoctoral Researcher, Physics
Alex works towards an inclusive academic environment and mentors younger students within her research group. She participates in a range of outreach activities, mentoring students from under-represented backgrounds, hosting students for research placements and giving regular talks in schools.
Leanne O'Donnell, Administrator, Astrophysics
Leanne has been the driving force behind ensuring that the department’s public engagement events really are inclusive and open to all, and has spearheaded the development of a dedicated Stargazing event for children with additional support needs and their families.
Lucy Taylor, Junior Research Fellow, Dept of Zoology and Christ Church College
Lucy’s commitment to improving mental health for staff and students has had a lasting impact on the University community. She was the driving force behind the MPLS Mental Health Awareness Week in 2021.
Projects: Inclusive Culture
Overall winner: Unlearning Racism in Geoscience, submitted by Rebecca Colquhoun, Earth Sciences
Earth Sciences is a subject disproportionally taken up by White students and taught and led by predominantly White academics. This programme gave members of the Earth Sciences department an opportunity to educate themselves on what it means to be anti-racist and identified actions the department could take.
Projects: Promoting Awareness
Overall winner: Challenges and Changes in Physics, submitted by Alexandra Ramadan, Postdoctoral researcher, Physics
Challenges & Changes in Physics was founded in September 2020 to raise awareness of the challenges posed by the lack of diversity in physics and promote changes the department can make to build a community that is more diverse, equitable and inclusive. It began as a series of events with speakers from a wide range of backgrounds and now includes a monthly reading group which meets to discuss EDI topics and consider concrete changes that department members can themselves realise and advocate for.
Shortlisted from MPLS: Mfano Africa-Oxford Mathematics Virtual Mentorship Programme, submitted by Geoffrey Mboya, Mathematical Institute
The programme has provided opportunities for mathematics students from Sub-Saharan Africa to work on a research project with Oxford-based mentors and receive support to develop postgraduate research applications.
Other MPLS nominations
The Diversity Awards panel acknowledged that they received a remarkable range of nominations in the Student and Staff Champion categories, and had a difficult task drawing up the final short-list. Also nominated from MPLS in these categories were:
Breaking Barriers in Biology Group, undergraduate students, Zoology Department
Daisy Hung, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager, MPLS
Hannah Ravenswood, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Facilitator, MPLS
Kathryn Boast, Access Officer, Department of Physics
Tanesha Allen, Strategic Outreach Associate, Dept of Zoology
Heather Harrington, Professor, Mathematical Institute