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Aberdeen student wins fellowship award

Heidi Gardner

A top Aberdeen student is to undertake a world tour to learn more about strategies that could help tackle problems facing the UK.

Heidi Gardner, a PhD student at Aberdeen University, has been awarded one of 150 prestigious fellowships created in memory of Winston Churchill.

Ms Gardner, 26, will be travelling to the USA, Canada, Singapore and Hong Kong to explore the process of science blogging to share ideas.

“I hope that blogging breaks down barriers and stereotypes of what people think of when you say ‘scientist,’” said Ms Gardner.

“By blogging and undertaking the fellowship also hope to encourage more scientists to blog and show that we’re not all middle aged white men in lab coats!”

There were 1096 applications for just 150 fellowship positions.

Ms Gardner was successful after an interview in London during which she showcased her project.

“I was terrified to begin with but I was discussing a topic I’m really engaged with and passionate about and it felt good to have other people being interested in it too.”

The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust was created in 1965, after Sir Winston Churchill’s death. The trust allows 150 fellows each year to travel overseas to learn more about strategies to tackle problems facing the UK.

Ms Gardner is now preparing for her travels in 2019.

She is encouraging fellow students to apply for the fellowship when applications for the following year open on April 27.

“The fellowship is so flexible and open and you don’t need to have a specific background or qualifications,” she said.

“It’s all about having passion for your subject. It’s an unbelievable opportunity.”

To apply for the WCMT, visit www.wcmt.org.uk/apply.

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