The Forth Valley College graduate was presented with her award by Richard Lochhead MSP, Minister of Further Education, Higher Education and Science at College Expo19.
College Expo is the landmark exhibition and conference for everyone in vocational education and training. It is a celebration of college excellence and a hub for staff development. This year it takes place on Wednesday 12 and Thursday 13 June at Perth College UHI.
Kirsty was one of only three Scottish women on a ship which set sail in January 2019 for Antarctica as part of Homeward Bound, a leadership and science initiative for women. The initiative aims to heighten the influence and impact of women with a science background in order to influence policy and decision making.
Jim Metcalfe, Chief Executive of College Development Network (CDN) said:
“The new CDN College Hall of Fame is a way of highlighting and recognising the outstanding contribution that college graduates make to society and the economy; and demonstrates the variety of pathways to success from college. Kirsty is an inspiration and we are delighted to extend our congratulations to her on being the first inductee to the CDN College Hall of Fame.”
Forth Valley College Principal Dr Ken Thomson, said:
“We are all extremely proud of what Kirsty has achieved both while studying at Forth Valley College and as she has progressed in her career. There is no doubt she is an inspiration, not only to future science students, but to all those who attend our college. She epitomises our ethos of Making Learning Work and shows what can be achieved when you work hard and focus on being the best you can be. She is a remarkable person, scientist and ambassador for the further education sector and I am sure she will go on to even greater things in the future.”
Kirsty works in the fight against superbugs at the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Science (SIPBS) – one of the leading UK centres for research and training focused on the discovery, development and delivery of better medicines. She began her remarkable professional journey at Forth Valley College’s Falkirk Campus with an NQ in Applied Biological Studies.
She excelled as a student at Forth Valley College, and in 2009 was presented with that year’s Best Student in the Department of Applied Science at the College’s annual graduation ceremony. She then enrolled at Strathclyde University on the third year of a BSc Hons degree in Biochemistry and Immunology, graduating in 2011 and beginning her PhD in Structural Dynamics of Bacterial GntR Proteins.
Now a Post-Doctoral researcher at the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Science (SIPBS) in Glasgow, Kirsty is working in collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in the fight against superbugs. Her science-based expertise and her adventurous nature – Kirsty is also an experienced mountaineer and Mountain Leader, qualified to guide people in the Highlands of Scotland – took her on the most exciting stage of her career journey to date with her trip to Antarctica.
“I did not have a traditional route into a career in science, but I am proud to be a Forth Valley College graduate and I loved my time there. I was a Science Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) Ambassador at FVC and I am still doing that role now. I just love going out and giving something back as I am really passionate about encouraging youngsters to be enthusiastic about science.
“Forth Valley College gave me the foundation to get to where I am today. When I went to university my practical skills were way better than my classmates in their third year at uni. The lecturing staff at FVC were fantastic and were all very encouraging. They nurtured something that was inside me.