Date of release: Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Amy receives her National Young Adult Learner of the Year award from Jan Hodges, Chief Executive of the Edge FoundationThe National Young Adult Learner of the Year is University of Greenwich student Amy King.

The award recognises Amy’s determination to follow her dreams and train as a scientist, and her commitment to sharing her enthusiasm for science with other young people.

That determination and enthusiasm has also resulted in the offer of a post to study for a Chemistry Doctorate at the University of Greenwich as soon as she has completed her Integrated Chemistry Master’s Degree course.

Amy’s route to studying Chemistry at the university’s Medway Campus has been unconventional. She missed many school terms as a result of hyper-mobility syndrome and the major surgery she required.

Undeterred, she studied on her own at home in Bexleyheath for a Maths A-level and achieved an A grade. She then gained a place at Bromley College where she chalked up three more A-levels – chemistry, biology and physics.

Amy, now 23, says being a scientist is all that she has ever wanted to do and she loves sharing the fun and excitement of science with other young people.

She writes a popular blog for the Royal Society of Chemistry and spends any spare time teaching primary school pupils about science as well as helping sixth-formers and special needs pupils. She has also set up a charity, Glam-Sci, to encourage other young women to get involved with science.

“There are lots of young people who, like me, find science fascinating and are always asking the big ‘why’ questions,” Amy says. “There is so much to find out and science is how we can all do it.

“I have received tremendous support from my mother and I want to pass that support on to other young people.”

One subject Amy is keen to research is her own hyper-mobility syndrome – which went undiagnosed until she was 13 years old, and is also experienced by her mother and grandfather.

“So little is known about this genetic condition, which is relatively rare, and much more research is needed. I would really like to get involved in that as a PhD,” she says.

“I had at least two periods of major surgery, including during my GCSE courses, before we were told about the syndrome causing my problems. I had mentioned some of the minor symptoms in our family before but, as we all suffer in varying degrees, we perceived them as normal.

“On a good day I look completely able-bodied – although I am in chronic pain. On another day I cannot go to college at all or will be in a wheelchair, using braces or on crutches.

“My body has a mind of its own and its condition can change dramatically from day to day. I need to manage it as best I can.

“I told as few people as possible about my problems when I first went to college and then university – but it gets difficult.

“When I stand up my blood pressure goes much too low and I can just pass out. That is not easy for other people to cope with. I also lose my vision for short periods.

“Science and chemistry are my first love. Sharing that interest and teaching other young people are things that I have been able to put my energy into when other students may be out dancing and partying.”

Amy says she was amazed to win the National Young Learner of the Year Award. ““It came out of the blue really. First I heard that I had won the regional award for London and then that I’d shortlisted for the national award. It has been an incredible experience.”

Find out more about studying with the Faculty of Engineering & Science at the University of Greenwich at http://www2.gre.ac.uk/about/governance/faculties/engsci or on 020 8331 9000.

Story by Public Relations

Picture: Amy receives her National Young Adult Learner of the Year award from Jan Hodges, Chief Executive of the Edge Foundation.