Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
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14 December 2008 - PR 08/163

PhD research by Loughborough student benefits school children

Research by a PhD student at Loughborough University has helped two local school children become shortlisted for a regional award.

Chloe Freeman, Leanne Franklin and Natasha RoseLeanne Franklin, who is studying in the Human Sciences department under PhD supervisor Dr John Cromby, is assessing a number of youngsters on the effect a culture of fear has on childhood and parenting.

Chloe Freeman (12) and Natasha Rose (13), from Garendon High School, are taking part in the programme to promote science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills. The pair have entered a ‘news report’ about juvenile fears for a regional media award and will know if they have won a top prize on December 10 when the Awards are announced at the National Space Centre in Leicester.

The students have become absorbed by a current science research project at school being lead by research psychologist Leanne, along with a group of other 14 year olds at Garendon. They decided to write about their experience and their report has so impressed the judges that it has been short-listed in the 2008 STEM Student Journalist Awards run by the East Midlands Development Agency (emda)-funded STEM Partnership.

Leanne said: “The students at Garendon are very kindly helping me out, as are students at Woodbrook Vale High School in Loughborough and Djanogly City Academy in Nottingham. I have only completed a few focus groups with the students so far, but their responses have been very articulate and insightful. I am delighted that the girls have been shortlisted for an award, which I believe is testament to the hard work they have put into the project.

“All of the children I have been working with have expressed intelligent and perceptive opinions about the issues facing people of their age. I am now looking for parents willing to give an hour of their time for my research. They can email me at L.V.Franklin@lboro.ac.uk.”

The STEM report written by the two girls goes on to describe the varied work of psychologists, from helping to overcome depression or phobias to speeding-up recovery from brain injury. It is their observations of Leanne’s research work which is so important in bringing science alive in the news reports being judged on 10 December. The purpose of the reporter project run by the STEM Partnership is to encourage greater take-up of STEM subjects at school and college ensuring a larger pool of talent for the future.

– Ends –

For all media enquiries contact:

Jo Lumani
Senior PR Officer
Loughborough University
T: 01509 228697
E: J.P.Lumani@lboro.ac.uk

Notes for editors:

Leanne Franklin did her undergraduate degree in Psychology at Loughborough University and continues her studies within the Human Sciences department. She is interested in social psychology, emotions, how people interact and the social world they are part of. Her PhD thesis is concerned with behaviour in an age of anxiety. Leanne is interested in how this culture of fear is affecting parenting and childhood by conducting a newspaper review and focus groups with both parents and children.

The 2008 STEM Student Journalist Awards take place on Wednesday 10 December at 4.30pm at the National Space Centre, Leicester. The Awards are hosted by BBC East Midlands and One Show reporter Des Coleman.

The East Midlands STEM Partnership (www.emstempartnership.org.uk) – the voice of science, technology, engineering and mathematics education in the region. Through its members, the Partnership provides the stimulation, skills and support for STEM professionals of the future. Coordinated on emda’s behalf by The Marketing Division (TMD), it aims to:

  • join up regional STEM activity across schools, further and higher education
  • work on the solutions for gaps in provision
  • promote opportunities and programmes to the STEM education and business audiences
  • present a model of best practice to other regions

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry and unrivalled sporting achievement.

It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top fifteen of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2008 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top five universities in the UK, with 22 out of 30 of its subject areas being ranked in the top ten for overall satisfaction. It was named winner of the 2006 and 2007 Times Higher award for the UK’s Best Student Experience and winner of the 2007 award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes – an achievement bettered by no other institution.

It is a member of the esteemed 1994 Group – a set of internationally recognised, research-intensive universities – and has a reputation for the relevance of its work. Its degree programmes are highly regarded by professional institutions and businesses, and its graduates are consistently targeted by the UK’s top recruiters.

Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

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