Geography staff shortlisted for the Postgrad Awards 2023

A Doctoral Researcher and a University Teacher from Loughborough have been shortlisted for this year’s Postgrad Awards.

Dr Leigh Martindale, who is a University Teacher in Sustainable Geographies based in the School of Social Sciences and Humanities, has been shortlisted for ‘Master’s Teacher of the Year’. This award celebrates those who create a positive and encouraging learning environment, providing students with high-quality feedback and demonstrating a passion for their subject.  

Leigh joined Loughborough in 2022 and since then has been presented with two Staff Awards within his School. In his first year, the School Senior Management team commented: “Leigh has shown incredible commitment to making the new module, ‘Mapping and Modelling the Sustainable Development Goals’ a success. This is one of the key modules in the two new Climate Change Master’s programmes and as such, crucial for their successful launch. As a newly recruited University Teacher, Leigh took initiative from the start, assumed a key role in the design and delivery of the module, including the coordination of the input from a number of staff members, and has gone far beyond expectations in offering support to students.” 

One of Leigh’s innovative approaches to teaching has been developing board games to help students understand new modelling concepts they may not have covered in their undergraduate studies. He has expanded this style to be used in summer schools held by the Centre for STEER for participants in less developed countries. More information about Leigh’s pedological approach can be found in a recently published paper which is available to view online.  

The prestigious PhD Student of the Year category has shortlisted Rhianna Garrett, who is also based in the Geography and Environment Department at the University. This award recognises an individual PhD student who is an excellent and inquisitive researcher and has made a big impact on their peers and research community.  

Rhianna’s research aims to investigate the significant underrepresentation of racialised minority academic staff in UK higher education, with a focus on the career trajectories of racialised minority PhDs and early career researchers. As part of the CITHEI Centre for Doctoral Training, She has received more than £20,000 in funding to facilitate her research, advocacy work, and community building. Her multiple award-winning work has been presented at multiple national and international conferences, and also takes time to undertake additional leadership roles at the University including being a Chair of the ERA EDI working group, Vice-Chair of the Doctoral Researcher Experience Board, and sitting as a member of the Board of Trustees for the Students’ Union. In addition, Rhianna mentors master’s and PhD students and shares her own personal stories and insights as a Chinese mixed-heritage woman in academic on her blog, Rhi-Mixed Views, and consults multiple institutions to support and further their race equity agendas 

The winners will be announced in September. A full list of the nominees for each category can be found on the dedicated webpage.