Second year Chemistry student wins Royal Society of Chemistry’s Chemical Sciences Apprentice of the Year.


Katty O’Brien-Quilty received the award for her work with Thames Water

University of Greenwich Chemistry student Katty O'Brien-Quilty has won the Royal Society of Chemistry's Chemical Sciences Apprentice of the Year for work she did whilst at Thames Water. The Chemical Sciences Apprentice of the Year award is given in recognition of outstanding contribution made by an apprentice working in the chemical sciences sector.

Katty had the below to say about what it was like to win the award.1713844

"My Team Leader at Thames Water had mentioned to me briefly that she was nominating me for the Royal Society of Chemistry's award of Apprentice of the Year, this came completely out of the blue and seemed like such an outlandish possibility. She asked me to send along a few bits of information, including my CV and she did the rest. Hannah wrote a short piece about me, documenting my time at Thames Water and all the activities outside of work that I had been involved in over the nearly three years I have worked there.

I, amongst all the other analysts at the Thames Water laboratory, work towards completing nearly one million tests a year on clean water and wastewater from London and the Thames Water region to ensure it is safe to drink and safe to release back into the eco-system. Over 55,000 of these are carried out by me and my team. Our work consists of analysing a sample collected in the field for a variety of tests, from the pH of the water to the number of biological organisms to the level of various pesticides. To do this I would prepare the sample for analysis, run it through the appropriate instrument and then look through the results, ensuring all quality checks have passed, before then reporting the results to the customer.  

We are just one part of the process of how clean water runs from your taps and how your wastewater safely makes its way back into the ecosystem.

I wholeheartedly give most of the credit to Hannah, my Team Leader, as the words she wrote were so positive and uplifting – to me I had just been doing my job and carrying out tasks expected of me throughout my time at work.

It's fair to say when the email first came through, I had to check that it was from a legitimate email address! I was very shocked to receive the award, I never thought I'd win in a million years. It was a very nice surprise and made my day (and the weeks following) a lot brighter.

Usually, there is a ceremony held where all the winners of the various prizes and awards that year attend. It's unfortunate that that cannot happen this year, but the RSC have kindly made it possible to celebrate with my team once it is safe to do so – this is something to look forward to.

I'm ecstatic to receive the award and am attributing it to the fantastic team that I work with, they push me to take opportunities presented to me and generally bettering myself in my field as well as outside of it."