A Cardiff academic who launched a social enterprise aimed at promoting science-based learning for young people across the UK and beyond has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
Wendy Sadler, who set up science made simple in 2002, has been awarded the prestigious honour after 15 years of inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers, as well as encouraging young women to become engaged in STEM learning.
Speaking of the MBE, Wendy said: “When I got the letter I was speechless. It is a huge honour to be recognised for years of hard work; promoting the importance of science-based learning that is entertaining and engaging for young people. Without my passionate and dedicated team, I would never have been able to achieve anything close to this. I want to thank them and everyone who has supported science made simple over the last 15 years from the bottom of my heart.”
The social enterprise, which employs 17 staff, works with primary and secondary schools by developing and presenting interactive performances for pupils in order to inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers and mathematicians. science made simple has worked in over 30 countries across the world, breathing life into STEM subjects for thousands of young people.
Wendy came to Wales from Wombourne, near Wolverhampton in 1991 to study physics and music at Cardiff University. After meeting her future husband Dan, Wendy stayed in the capital and began a career in science communication at the Cardiff Bay discovery centre, Techniquest.
“Working at Techniquest was my first taste of demonstrating science to young people in a fun and engaging way. Seeing the reactions from both children and parents really brought it alive for me.
Upon the motivation behind setting up science made simple, Wendy said: “It was clear to me that the UK school curriculum only goes so far when it came to science, especially physics. Since our inception, we have aimed to bridge the gap between what is being taught in the classroom and what practical skills and knowledge are essential when pursuing a career in the physical sciences and engineering.
“Our social enterprise looks to enrich the scientific understanding of young people whilst supplementing the curriculum with entertaining methods of learning.”
Since coming to the Welsh capital 26 years ago, Wendy has maintained strong links with her alma-mater, Cardiff University; benefitting from the spin-out scheme that enabled the business to set-up. Alongside her role as director of science made simple, Wendy is also a part-time physics lecturer at Cardiff University and has developed an innovative course that teaches undergraduates about how to communicate physics.
“I am incredibly indebted to Cardiff University as well as the IOP (Institute of Physics) in Wales for all their support.”
Professor Karen Holford, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Cardiff University spoke of Wendy’s achievement, as well as the work science made simple does: “Since graduating from Cardiff University, Wendy has worked tirelessly to ensure that science and engineering are made accessible to as many people as possible. Her passion and enthusiasm for science shines through in all of her work and has helped to inspire thousands of children and adults who have interacted with science made simple.
“Wendy is a flag-bearer for science and an inspirational role model for young women considering a career in the STEM subjects, so this honour is greatly deserved.”
Wendy lives in the Llandaff area of the city with husband Dan and children Oakley, 8, and Maya, 6.
Speaking of what’s next for science made simple, she said: “Our vision of getting young people to think creatively about science will not stop. The education system is under an enormous amount of pressure, so if our work can help relieve that pressure by communicating to young people how science, engineering and maths can offer a rich and rewarding future, then we will be satisfied. I really hope this honour helps spread our message; we want to open doors for young people, especially young women, who might be disengaged with science.”
science made simple reaches over 70,000 young people each year from their Cardiff HQ and additional 3 regions in Manchester, Norwich and Milton Keynes. The company offers science communication and public engagement training using a range of innovative formats ranging from science busking, to non-verbal physical theatre performances.
For more information on science made simple please visit www.sciencemadesimple.co.uk, call 029 2087 6884, email firstname.lastname@example.org and follow science made simple of Twitter, Facebook and Youtube.