A University of Portsmouth astrophysicist has been shortlisted for an Asian Women of Achievement Award.
Dr Jen Gupta, the SEPnet/Ogden outreach officer from the University’s Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation (ICG), has been nominated for the ‘Young Achiever’ award, which recognises the talents of rising stars in the UK across all sectors.The awards, co-founded in 1999 by Pinky Lilani, who received an OBE for her work to celebrate women’s achievements, recognise the often unsung Asian heroines of British life. They aim to unearth women who make a huge contribution in fields as diverse as business, entrepreneurship and social and humanitarian work.
Dr Gupta was nominated for the scale of impact in her life and career so far including her breadth of vision and personal charisma.
Since joining the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation in 2012 Dr Gupta has revolutionised its schools’ outreach programme. She has personally delivered talks and workshops to over 10,000 people in Portsmouth and beyond, including over 5,000 school children. Dr Gupta has also performed astronomy themed stand-up comedy in front of hundreds of people and organised numerous stargazing events for members of the public. She also regularly appears on local radio and television.
She said: “I am delighted to be shortlisted for this award. The last few months have been really busy with lots of events to engage and inspire people with astronomy so I’m honoured that my work has been recognised in this way. I’m extremely passionate about making science accessible for everyone and particularly enjoy working with young people who may not have been exposed to science and astronomy much before.
“As a young Asian woman working in physics I often feel I’m in a minority and I hope that my outreach and public engagement work goes some way towards helping young women and men to realise that science can be for them, regardless of their background. I’m now really looking forward to the awards evening and meeting all the talented women who have also been shortlisted.”
Dr Gupta will talk about her current work and future plans at the next stage of the judging process later this month. Winners will be announced in May at a gala ceremony in London.
Dr Karen Masters, a leading female astrophysicist also from the University, who recently won a Women of the Future Science award, nominated Dr Gupta for the award.
She said: “Jen is such an excellent candidate for this award. She is a talented young astrophysicist and science communicator who is a fresh young voice bringing astronomy and science to new audiences.
“The Asian Women of Achievement Awards are part of the wider Women of the Future initiatives, which are a fantastic platform for successful young women in Britain today.”