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STEM Learning Awards 2022

Lara Mosunmola Lalemi holding her award at the event.

1 July 2022

Lara Mosunmola Lalemi wins Highly Commended Outstanding Contribution to Widening Participation, Diversity and Inclusion in STEM at the STEM Learning UK Impact Award ceremony.

We celebrate and congratulate Lara on the news of her Highly Commended Outstanding Contribution to Widening Participation, Diversity, and Inclusion in STEM award, recently given at the STEM Learning UK Impact Award ceremony. Lara impressed the judges with her constant drive to engage with young people, introduce and enthuse them to STEM subjects, ensure young people from all backgrounds know that Higher Education is accessible to them, mentor young people, and support them through their education.

In 2019, Lara wrote the "BME in STEM" report; a report has been widely used within the UK to highlight barriers that Black, Asian and Minoritised Ethnic groups encounter within Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and identify positive interventions for each. In 2020, Lara also organised a joint Biochemistry, Chemistry, Engineering and Maths cross-faculty university taster day for Year 10 Black and Minoritised Ethnic pupils to provide essential hands-on experiences that many pupils do not ordinarily have access to. Due to the impact of her work, Lara was awarded the position of student representative of the BME 100 List and has since set up the Creative Tuition Collective, to provide free education and mentorship for pupils from areas of low engagement within, and groups that are under-represented in, Higher Education. 

"Before today, I never thought studying STEM subjects at university was an option for me. Lara is a wonderful role model." – Attendee, Black and Minoritised Ethnic in STEM taster Day.

Another important focus of Lara's work is within the LGBTQ+ community, again a group underserved within STEM. Lara works with the Royal Society of Chemistry to platform more diverse authors of STEM blog posts, broadening the voices and experiences heard within STEM subjects and provide important visibility of role models from a variety of society. Lara also worked with the British Antarctic Survey to produce a report on the importance of creating intentionally inclusive spaces in STEM. This report resulted in the formation of an action plan of practical steps that can help to make education and work environments be truly inclusive and welcoming to all. As a member of the Inclusive Research Collective, Lara aims to highlight inequalities within STEM and implement actions to eradicate these.

Lara has a passion for bringing new, innovative, and progressive practices to education. She is the driving force behind a series of “Decolonising Science” workshops that run throughout UK institutions which have resulted in changes being made to STEM teaching content, through their provision of tangible steps that staff can make to start diversifying the curriculum. This has allowed staff to confidently take their first steps in an on-going journey that had previously felt inaccessible. As CEO of the Creative Tuition Collective, Lara has created a unique platform for free 1-2-1 tuition, mentoring, hands-on activities, and mental health support and speaks candidly about the importance of providing mental health support for young people the importance of providing young people with mental health support.

 "I'm massively excited and grateful for the opportunity to be mentored by Lara, mainly because it means there is someone that wants to invest in my career plans, wants to invest in myself and wants to help me out in terms of any obstacles I face as a minority academic.” – Feedback from a Chemistry student.

Lara believes change is possible and personally endeavours to make long-lasting differences to people’s lives through diversity, inclusion, and social mobility. Lara’s work is constantly evolving, to ensure inclusivity and accessibility for all and we are delighted to see this was recognised by STEM Learning UK.

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