Scientist is first to join the College Hall of Fame

Leading scientist Kirsty Robb, who has travelled to Antarctica, is the first former college student to be recognised

Julia Belgutay

A scientist who has travelled to Antartica to promote women in Stem has become the first inductee of the College Hall of Fame

The first former FE student has been inducted into a new College Hall of Fame, set up by the College Development Network (CDN).

Forth Valley College graduate Kirsty Robb was presented with her award at the College Expo 2019, Scotland’s largest FE conference, by the country’s FE minister, Richard Lochhead.

The project will recognise the achievements of former college students.

Qualifications: Only half of uni entrants from college get full credit for qualifications

Widening access: 'Scotland's colleges put the country ahead on access to HE'

Background: Almost half of Scotland's colleges 'very good' for student outcomes

FE: 'A variety of pathways to success'

Dr Robb was recognised for her work in science and promoting women in that field. In January, she was one of only three Scottish women on a ship that set sail for Antarctica as part of Homeward Bound, a leadership and science initiative that aims to heighten the influence and impact of women with a science background in order to shape policy- and decision-making.

Jim Metcalfe, chief executive of CDN, said the new College Hall of Fame was a way of highlighting and recognising the outstanding contribution that college graduates make to society and the economy. “The College Hall of Fame also demonstrates the variety of pathways to success,” he added.  

Dr Robb began her professional journey at Forth Valley College’s Falkirk Campus with an NQ in applied biological studies, where she was presented the award for the best student in the Department of Applied Science in 2009. 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.

'College gave me the foundation'

Now a post-doctoral researcher at the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Science, Dr Robb is working in collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in the fight against superbugs.

She said: “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. If I had to do it all again, I would do it exactly the same way, 100 per cent.”

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Julia Belgutay

Julia Belgutay

Julia Belgutay is head of FE at Tes

Find me on Twitter @JBelgutay

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