Stephanie, from Farnborough in Hampshire, worked for QinetiQ for 4 weeks this summer. She spent the summer identifying macro moths on Eelmoor Marsh, a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest. Last Autumn, she was awarded the I-SWEEEP prize for her work – a trip to the International Sustainable World (Energy, Engineering and Environment) Project Olympiad – an international science fair. The contest was held in Houston, Texas, and Stephanie presented her work alongside projects from 70 countries. She was awarded a Silver Medal for her project.
What were the aims of your project, and how did you go about achieving these?
The aim of my project was to catch and identify macro moths on two different locations on Eelmoor Marsh, which is a designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) I achieved this by catching the moths in a skinner type light trap; one of the traps was located on a wet heath and the other on a dry heath. The difference in locations and habitat types allowed any difference to be observed between the species lists, and number of individuals in a species. Using the data gathered, the species richness, abundance and diversity would be determined.
What did you learn most from your bursary experience?
I learnt so many valuable things from my project, but the most important thing was learning how to correctly plan, execute and write up a scientific report. It is these skills which will stay with me forever, aiding me in any future work, making tasks seem more manageable and reducing error in any future reports.
Stephanie Tudgey with Sam Hillman, who also won a Silver Medal at
How have you shared your experiences with others back at school?
I have shared my experiences with others at college by telling friends and teachers of what I have achieved, and appearing on the college website.
What are your future plans, and how did your bursary experience affect these plans?
I plan to read Environmental Science at university, and then pursue a career in this subject. The Nuffield Bursary experience has strengthened my choice and encouraged me to work as hard as I possibly can to achieve my goal.
How does it feel to have won the I-SWEEP prize?
I am still overwhelmed and honoured I have won the I-SWEEEP prize to go to Texas - when I was catching and identifying moths in July 2010 I would never of dreamed that what I was doing would lead to me winning such a fantastic prize. I am looking forward to meeting other award winners from around the world and seeing the variety of projects. Since completing my project one thing has led to another, I have built up contacts in industry, learnt so much about the environment, and been awarded not only the I-SWEEEP award but a GOLD CREST award and a Platinum Award. This is all thanks to the Nuffield Project, which is why I would urge any student with an interest in STEM subjects to take part as it opens up so many pathways and opportunities.