The winner of The Josh Award 2022 is... Eva Ernstzen.
The Josh Award is the UK's national award in STEM communication and as part of this, Eva will create a special event for this year's Manchester Science Festival exploring humans' relationship with food and how we feed ourselves, our families and our communities.
Eva said: "I am so pleased that the panel like my idea and I am really looking forward to working with the community to bring it to life."
My passion for science stems from a natural curiosity about the patterns I observed in the world around me. I am motivated to study and share my passion for science as I believe thinking scientifically is an empowering tool for communities to improve their health and the health of the planet.
Growing up in East London during the 2012 Olympic legacy, there was a big focus on studying sport and business and there were not many local science activities or role models that looked and sounded like me in STEM. However, I was inspired by my GCSE science teacher, who encouraged me to further study Biology and Chemistry at A Level.
I now live in Sheffield after finishing my Biology degree at the University of Sheffield. I work for Brightbox Makerspace, a social enterprise that works across South Yorkshire to break down barriers to the creative, tech and engineering industries through community and youth-led training and workshops. This is a rewarding role for me as I am passionate about improving access to spaces and activities that spark our imagination, spirit and creativity—particularly the life sciences, which I've experienced to be overwhelmingly white and middle class. Like the rest of the team I am also a firm believer that learning should be exploratory, playful and fun.
Throughout my personal life and academic career, I have become increasingly determined to improve awareness of the magic that communities create when they grow their own food. Community allotments and green spaces are powerful tools to improve our wellbeing and connect with nature and I believe the mental, physical and emotional benefits of horticulture should be accessible to all.
About the Josh Award
The Josh Award is a national prize for early-career science communicators who are passionate about continuing to work in this field in the future, including students, volunteers, researchers or creatives. It has been run in conjunction with Manchester Science Festival since 2007.
As well as recognising the achievement of talented individuals, the award is a long-term project that offers the opportunity for winners to deliver an activity at Manchester Science Festival, develop their communication skills and gain access to professional networks.
The award is inspired by and named in memory of Josh Phillips, who was the first Science Communication Officer at the Science and Industry Museum and proposed the first Manchester Science Festival. Josh was also the Chair of BIG, the UK's premier science communicators network, at the time of his passing.
The Josh award has given me some amazing opportunities in science outreach... [it] has allowed me to steer my science engagement career in the direction that I want and has opened up countless opportunities to me.
Winning the Josh award was a great opportunity to promote myself and boost my profile, and it was wonderful to do a big project and give many people the chance to interact with maths at the science festival... It was huge fun, and wonderful to honour Josh's memory by continuing his tradition of sharing a love of science!