Adult learning helped me change the lives of others

My name is Amy King and I won Young Adult Learner of the Year in 2014. I was nominated by my college London and South-East Colleges (LSEC), formerly known as Bromley College. I studied with them for my A-levels in Biology, Chemistry and Physics in 2011-2013.

My life has completely changed since winning Young Adult Learner of the Year and I have been working to expand and improve my educational charity, GlamSci. I set up GlamSci in 2013, as a personal project that acted charitably by going into schools and running talks related to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).

I used my own personal educational journey to motivate disadvantaged young people into studying STEM. But after losing my grandmother after a short battle with cancer in 2015, I decided to register GlamSci as a non-profitable charity dedicated to the memory of my Grandmother, Vera King.

Now, GlamSci works with volunteers up and down the country running hands-on events and workshops in STEM subjects. This involves motivational talks, study clubs and teachers CPD sessions, to help encourage disadvantaged young people – particularly young women and young men from lower social and economic backgrounds to study STEM at university and take up STEM jobs. GlamSci has also partnered with several Governing bodies and other educational businesses to put on larger STEM events, such as: the WISE, the Royal Society of Chemistry and Immersive Experiences. 2017, is set to be GlamSci’s busiest year yet, with bookings months in advance and having our volunteers attending some of the largest educational fairs in the UK, including Bett Show, Regional Big Bang Fairs and New Scientist Live.

Outside of my charity work, I am still continuing with my education. During the period of my grandmother’s illness and with complications that came from my own disability, I was forced to leave Greenwich University, half-way through my Master’s degree in Chemistry. However, I promised my Grandmother on her death bed that I would return to my studies regardless of the outcome of her illness, which I honoured by joining the Open University.

I have since changed my focus of my Master’s from cosmological chemistry, to medicinal chemistry, with an emphasis on drug development, particularly those relating to oncology. My dream is to work with teams to develop new cancer drugs, specifically in asbestos cancer, mesothelioma – the cancer that my grandmother died from.

Adult learning has not only changed my life, but also, using my knowledge and my expertise, has helped me change the lives of others, either through my charity work or through work with my degree. I have been able to create my own dream career in a sector I would have never thought of joining. I mostly work with disadvantaged schools and community centres in inner London.

I have had the privilege to work with some of the greatest minds, and the most determined and brightest young people in education.  I can only hope, that through further adult studies, CPD and hard work, that I will be lucky enough to be able to do more of this in the future.

If you know someone like Amy that you feel is an inspiration and would be deserving of a 2018 Festival of Learning Award, please vote for them by visiting our nominations page