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Women in Conservation group

Members of the Women in Conservation group: MSc Conservation Science and Policy students Ella, Katie, Catherine, Emily, Caitlin, Deborah, Sarah and Anna

Masters students shortlisted for national award

Masters students at the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus were shortlisted in this year’s National Societies & Volunteers Awards which took place on 6 May. The Women in Conservation group were nominated in the ‘Opportunities for All' category for their successful ‘Women in Conservation’ conference. The Falmouth and Exeter Students’ Union, along with Bristol Students’ Union, were commended for the number of nominations in this category.

The all-female group of students from the MSc Conservation Science and Policy course came together to address their shared concern and passion for gender equality. ‘Women in Conservation’ was born from a desire to improve the diversity of external speakers coming to talk to students at the University, and also within the internal teaching staff. The group decided to host an annual conference showcasing some of the amazing women that have managed to overcome societal obstacles in conservation.

The inaugural event took place on 5 March, aligning with both British Science Week and International Women’s Day, and attracted over 140 attendees from the campus and the broader Cornwall community. The students put together an impressive line-up of guest speakers, keen to share their personal journeys through this male-dominated sector. Experts came from all around the UK and included world record stand-up paddle boarder Cal Major and Naomi Stratton, the lead advisor in terrestrial biodiversity at Natural England.

Emily Stevenson, Women in Conservation committee member says, “There are often inequalities that we experience in our lives, with little opportunities to be proactive and do something about it. We’re grateful that the University has been so supportive and helpful, hopefully this is something that can continue every year to ensure future students can benefit from what we have started here together.”

Catherine Lee Hing, another member of the committee, added, “As someone coming from a multicultural background, I value diversity in all aspects of my life. I think it is very important to learn from, and share ideas with, people from all backgrounds, especially if we are striving to expand our horizons, which is why we chose this as the title of our conference.

The nomination came as a surprise. None of us were expecting to receive one, let alone be shortlisted against other universities. While we did not win in our category, the shortlisting made us all the more grateful to have put on such a memorable event."

You can find out more about the group on their Facebook page. If you have any questions for the team, or would like to find out how you can help/join next year, please email:

Date: 7 May 2020

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