Four students at the University of Cambridge have received Gold Awards from Volunteering England in recognition of their contribution to voluntary work.
A Student Volunteering Gold Award is presented for exceptional leadership, dedication and/or achievement and is a prestigious mark of excellence in student volunteering.
This year's winners have demonstrated their commitment to volunteering across a range of areas.
Sam Bennett, an Engineering PhD student, is one of the four Gold Award winners. He has been an active volunteer for the Department of Engineering's Outreach team for a number of years.
As Science and Engineering Ambassador he has helped to promote engineering to local young people, through assisting groups of children to complete design-build-test projects, and mentoring gifted and talented students.
His nominator Joy Warde the Department's Outreach Officer said: "Sam has been an active student volunteer for the Outreach team from October 2006 when he joined the University as a PhD student. The Engineering outreach programme aims to promote the fun and excitement of Engineering to local young people. Teams of undergraduate and postgraduate students help make engineering and the University of Cambridge accessible through hands-on design-build-test projects.
"As part of our educational outreach programme, Sam is registered as a Science and Engineering Ambassador. The Science and Engineering Ambassadors scheme forms part of a UK National STEMNET programme to enhance young people's scientific and technical capabilities and raise awareness of the importance of these skills to society.
"Sam is a very enthusiastic, energetic and reliable volunteer who has participated in numerous outreach events involving school aged children (aged 8-18) and their parents and/or teachers. So far he has donated over 350 hours of his time to the outreach programme over the last three and a half years. As part of his role as a Science and Engineering Ambassador he has:
- led whole class teaching for both primary and secondary schools,
- mentored gifted and talented school students,
- assisted small groups of children and their teachers or parents to complete a design-build-test project,
- given tours of the Engineering Department for schools,
- worked as part of the outreach development team to design new outreach resources,
- designed and delivered other University outreach projects e.g. at the Whipple Museum and on the Arts bus.
"Sam is a brilliant volunteer who works professionally and efficiently with the participating school children as well as other Science and Engineering Ambassadors, teachers and parents. He has demonstrated enthusiasm and commitment to all of the many activities for which he has volunteered. He will be leaving Cambridge in the August 2010 and he will be greatly missed by the outreach team."
Emma Wenborn, Community Affairs Officer at the University, said "The Gold Awards are a fantastic opportunity to recognise the outstanding achievements of our student volunteers. Around 5,000 University of Cambridge students volunteer each year, giving 85,000 hours of time to community initiatives. The four winners have demonstrated exceptional dedication, leadership and achievement in their voluntary endeavours. They are an inspiration".
The Awards were judged by the University's Committee on Community Activities, which oversees community engagement activity across the University.