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Research Fellow nominated as a Rising Star

26 May 2017

Dr Emma Yhnell - HD slogan

An award scheme celebrating the achievements of women in Wales has shortlisted Cardiff University’s Dr Emma Yhnell for her engagement activities and research into Huntington’s disease.

Dr Yhnell, who is a Health and Care Research Wales Research Fellow at the University’s Neurosciences and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI), is one of just three women to be chosen in the scheme’s Rising Star Award category.

Organiser Chwarae Teg, which works to build the confidence and skills of women in the workplace, received more than 300 nominations across 12 categories for this year’s Womenspire awards initiative.

Public engagement

Dr Yhnell’s nomination recognises her exceptional achievements since securing a highly competitive three-year Research Fellowship from Health and Care Research Wales to examine the role of brain training in people with Huntington’s disease. Dr Yhnell also works to engage the general public in science and research, giving school talks, participating in SciCafes and helping deliver Brain Games.

In February, Dr Yhnell was included in a list of Welsh women at the forefront of scientific innovation, and she recently campaigned to break the stigma of neurodegenerative conditions during Huntington’s Disease Awareness Week.

Designed to celebrate the extraordinary achievement individuals and organisations have made in leading equality in industry, award nominations were welcomed from the business, art, sports, STEM and education sectors.

On Wednesday 21 June, finalists selected from across Wales will come together for a formal awards ceremony where the winners will be announced at the Wales Millennium Centre, in Cardiff.

Dr Emma Yhnell BNA
Dr Emma Yhnell presents a research poster at BNA Conference 2017 in Birmingham

Inspiring young women

“I’m absolutely thrilled and honoured to be named a finalist in the Womenspire awards,” said Dr Yhnell.

“It is our duty as scientists to inform and inspire others, including the next generation of young minds by communicating our research in an accessible manner. This is particularly important for girls and women who are currently underrepresented in the Science, Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) areas. Science should be accessible to absolutely everyone, and through my engagement and outreach work I want people to have fun and enjoy learning about science.”

“Too many young girls do not even consider science subjects when thinking about their career options. I feel it is important for us as academics to take some responsibility for showing women and girls in Wales what career paths are on offer and encouraging them to believe that they too can achieve great things in STEM.”

Other finalists to be shortlisted from Cardiff University include Wendy Sadler, Lecturer and Director of Science Made Simple, and Dr Sophie Buchaillard, Associate Registrar (Strategy), both in the STEM pioneer category. Paul Chaney, Professor and Co-director of WISERD, has been selected in the Man of the Year category for his work into gender equality.

Video interview with Dr Yhnell can be found on the NMHRI Engagement page:

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