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British RoyalsPrincess Anne and Family

Princess Anne honours women in STEM as ‘Covid Unsung Heroes’

Princess Anne sends good luck message to Team GB ahead of the Beijing Winter Olympics
Photo by Buckingham Palace

The Princess Royal has been championing women in STEM for the past two decades, and she had the opportunity to recognise six of these exceptional leaders for their work during the pandemic.

Princess Anne, who has served as patron of Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) for 22 years, presided over the WISE Covid Unsung Heroes Awards at Windsor Castle on 24 February.

Amongst those honoured included Fiona Bennington, a product engineer from Belfast, who was given the Responsive Hero Award for her work to fight against PPE shortages in her city during the first wave of the global health outbreak.

Princess Anne presented the D&I Award to Tolulope Oke, Amazon Web Services’ Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Customer Engagement Leader. Oke was honoured for her work re-launching “a network of over 1,400 diversity and inclusion ambassadors within 28 countries to provide additional support during the pandemic.”

The Community Champion Award was given to Susan McDonald, who serves as Energy Lead at Deloitte, for her efforts to make at-home testing available to everyone. WISE also praised McDonald’s efforts to improve accessibility for underserved communities and those required to shield.

Educators and researchers such as Dr Amy Thomas, a research associate at the University of Bristol, and Dr Anna Young, a lecturer in mechanical engineering at the University of Bath, were also recognised.

Thomas was given the Tech Award for creating a saliva spit test for children as an alternative to a nasal swab test, while Young was honoured for her work making sure that engineering students received a quality education while switching to a virtual model.

Finally, the Data Solution Award was presented to Ming Tang, Interim Chief Data and Analytics Officer at NHS England and NHS Improvement. Tang was awarded the honour thanks to creating a Covid Data Store “to ensure that critical care staff, PPE and medications were being placed in the right locations at the right time.”

Princess Anne has attended many events for WISE over the years, such as the organisation’s celebration for the WISE 1 of the Million campaign in 2021. During the virtual event, she shared her desire for women in STEM to “keep sharing their stories.”

“STEM workers are essential contributors, and equal among them, and often leading the way, are many, many women,” The Princess Royal said. “To reach one million women working in STEM was no mean achievement, and every one of the million can make a difference to the next million.”

About author

Kristin is Chief Reporter for Royal Central and has been following the British royal family for more than 30 years. Kristin has appeared in UK and U.S. media outlets discussing the British royals including BBC Breakfast, BBC World News, Sky News, the Associated Press, TIME, The Washington Post, and many others.