Student scoops Ford prize for women in STEM studies

Posted on 11 Jan 2016 by Jonny Williamson

University of London student, Melissa Matthews has been announced as the winner of the 2015 STEM Studies prize.

Ford Prize for Women in STEM Study 2015 winner - Melissa Matthews
Melissa Matthews receiving the Ford Prize for Women in STEM Study 2015.

Recognising that women are traditionally under-represented in STEM (science, technology engineering and maths) and the related professions, the Ford prize aims to recognise the achievements of women studying STEM-based subjects and to encourage other women to become involved.

Graham Hoare, director of Ford Global Engineering Operations, awarded the first prize, of £1000, to Melissa Matthews, who is in her first year of a Bio-medical degree at St George’s, University of London.

Through the assessment process, Matthews demonstrated her skills as a great ambassador for STEM subjects having mentored young girls in maths and chemistry, and showed her continued commitment to encouraging others.

On receiving the prize, Matthews commented: “It was motivating to see women in senior positions within Ford Motor Company promoting STEM careers, and I will do my best to inspire the next generation of women in STEM and to encourage all young girls, with a passion for science, to consider a degree within these fields, the opportunities are endless.”

Runners up prizes (£250 each) were also awarded to the following students:

  • Zahra Farsijani (Electronic and Electrical Engineering, University College London)
  • Alice Goodwin (Aerospace Engineering, Swansea University)
  • Zoe Slattery (Electronic Engineering and Information Systems, Imperial College)

The assessment process was supported by Your Life campaign director, Karen Gregory, who said: “It was brilliant to meet the shortlisted candidates and to see how involved and committed these young women are to promoting STEM.

“Young people need to know that maths and science can lead to all sorts of exciting opportunities and it’s with the help of ambassadors, like Melissa, that we can succeed.”

Industry-led and government-backed, Your Life is an initiative that aims to boost young people’s participation across STEM-based subjects, particularly maths and physics as a gateway into wide-ranging science and engineering-based careers.

Ford is one of eight main corporate sponsors of the Your Life campaign which targets 14-16 year olds, as they start to make key education decisions.