When Saheefa Ishaq began a school project on kitchen hygiene in year 7 she never imagined that it would lead to her winning a prestigious science prize.
Now a year 9 pupil at The Redmoor Academy in Hinkley, Leicestershire, 13-year-old Saheefa has been named as this year’s winner of the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Girl Award.
The WISE awards celebrate the achievements of women who have demonstrated drive, commitment and a passion for science and engineering.
Saheefa was nominated by Jo Cox, head of science and STEM co-ordinator at Redmoor, and received her award from the Princess Royal at London’s Science Museum earlier this month.
Ms Cox told SecEd: “Saheefa is brilliant to teach. We are incredibly proud of her achievements. She is passionate about anything to do with STEM and wants to learn all the time.”
The 550-pupil school runs a host of STEM lunchtime and after-school activities. Saheefa has been a keen STEM club member since year 7, when she first decided to research how effective kitchen and food preparation hygiene can help to prevent disease.
“This is such a fantastic award to win,” said Saheefa, who was recognised both for her project and for developing a website to share her work. “I want to develop my interest in working on the links between food hygiene and disease so that I can help people in a real and practical way.”
And this isn’t the first award Saheefa has won. Earlier this year she was a runner-up at the “National Science + Engineering” competition.
The WISE awards also paid tribute to Kathryn Boulton-Pratt, assistant head of Sheffield High School, who won the Advisor Award for her role in inspiring girls to pursue careers in science and engineering. For more information, visit www.wisecampaign.org.uk CAPTION: Royal approval: Saheefa with her award (top) and receiving her award from Princess Anne during the ceremony (above)