The Gratnells sponsored Science Technician of the Year award 2018/2019 has been awarded to Razika Berboucha from Lampton School Academy in Hounslow, Middlesex.
Now in its eleventh year, the competition is open to Science Technicians in secondary schools, colleges and academies across the world. Entrants much be 18 years old, with at least two-years’ experience in full or part time employment. The judging panel, consisting of esteemed industry professionals, look for evidence of individuals who go ‘above and beyond’ in their daily work - Science Technicians who embrace their work, enjoy the challenges and look to offer continuous improvement in the services they deliver.
A Science Technician for 20 years, Razika has worked at Lampton School Academy for the past 12 years. During this time, her passion for physics has been infectious and led to many students joining the Science Club that she ran for 3 years. Today she runs a STEM club which includes Biology, Physics and Astronomy projects.
Amongst many successful projects she has been involved in, Razika was responsible for overseeing 32 Biology students working on the Genome Decoders Project, a collaborative bioinformatics research programme. Aimed at identifying all the genes in the DNA of the human whipworm, a tropical parasite responsible for widespread diseases, the project was so successful that the students have been invited to showcase their project at the Wellcome Genome Campus in Cambridgeshire.
In addition, Razika has driven The Vertigo Project – where 5 Physics students have attached a Vertigo kit to a drone to measure its movements at different positions in order to find the best roll in degrees. They imported the data into Matlab, a programming language that is commonly used for data analysis, and in July last year they showcased their project at the Big Bang Fair in London.
In her latest project, she is leading a team of Physics students on a mission to help professional researches analyse data from the Spitzer Space Telescope. The objective is to produce the first fully classified catalogue of the stars and identify the ‘space gems’- all of which will be of incredible scientific value. Razika carries out weekly updates with her students to help keep track of their progress and provide guidance when required.
Outside of her school commitments, Razika is also involved in external events, preparing and running termly workshops for a dozen technicians in the local area as part of the Capital Physics Programme, run by the IOP initially and more recently the Ogden Trust. She has also run sessions on electronics for technicians at the National STEM Learning Centre at the University of York.
Razika was presented with the award by Gratnells International Marketing Director, Richard Picking, at a ceremony held at Lampton School Academy recently and received £1000 worth of vouchers for her school and a personal cheque.
On receiving her trophy, she said: “It is an absolute honour to receive the Gratnells Award for Science Technician of the Year 2018/2019. I fully believe that in this day and age, the roles of technicians have become way more than just preparing experiments for lessons. I put my heart and soul into my job, to help add to the learning of the students at my school. When I found out I had won, I was ecstatic. I have dreamed of this moment, and it’s wonderful to see that the work of technicians is also rewarded. It means a lot to me to have won this award, and I hope other technicians out there are inspired to try different projects at their schools to help broaden the students’ horizons”.
Mr Picking commented “It was a real privilege to present Razika’s with this award. She has shown a true passion for her profession and thoroughly deserves the recognition. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our prize sponsors, Timstar, SLS Select Education and SciChem.”
Runner Ups were Emma Riley from Christ the King Catholic Voluntary Academy in Nottingham and Julia Milligan from The Halley Academy, London. Emma and Julia win vouchers for their school, together with an assortment of Gratnells products.
The STOTY awards will be launched again in 2020, with a new judging panel and entry process. Full details will be posted on www.gratnells.com in the coming months.