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Double celebration for GNS Science at 2016 Technology Valley Awards - 10/06/2016

GNS Science staff won two of the eight awards presented at the 2016 Technology Valley Awards this week.

Jerome Leveneur and Karyne Rogers with the trophies they received for winning their categories in the 2016 Technology Valley Awards. Photo - Margaret Low.

Jerome Leveneur and Karyne Rogers with the trophies they received for winning their categories in the 2016 Technology Valley Awards. Photo - Margaret Low. See more images in our image library.

The Hutt City Council sponsored awards, now in their second year, celebrate the best talent in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and manufacturing in Lower Hutt.

Award winners in eight categories were announced at a gala function in the historic Ford Motor Company Building in Seaview, Lower Hutt, on Thursday evening.

GNS Science isotope chemist Karyne Rogers won the Outstanding STEMM Educator (tertiary and community) category, and nanotechnology scientist Jerome Leveneur won the Outstanding Individual category.  Both work at GNS Science’s National Isotope Centre at Gracefield, Lower Hutt.

Dr Rogers is a strong advocate for making science accessible to local communities through school and public engagement activities.  During the past 10 years she has built up a number of successful science outreach events, particularly in the Hutt Valley.

This includes the monthly Café Scientifique held at Wholly Bagels in Lower Hutt and the bimonthly Hot Tales Cool Science held at the Lower Hutt War Memorial Library.  She initiated the annual school open day at GNS Science’s National Isotope Centre, where senior students and teachers from Hutt Valley schools are invited to spend half a day seeing applied science and learning about career pathways in science.

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The diversity of her activities and support of young people into science far exceeds expectations

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Her outreach team have also won funding from the government’s prestigious Unlocking Curious Minds initiative to deliver earth science programmes through community libraries

The Award judges said Karyne’s contributions had gone above and beyond the requirements of her day-to-day job.

“The diversity of her activities and support of young people into science far exceeds expectations.

Her drive, passion and community-wide involvement has encouraged young people to explore and realise the opportunities that STEMM has to offer,” they said.

Dr Leveneur works in the Environment and Materials division of GNS Science’s National Isotope Centre where he leads teams who research and develop surface coatings, novel sensors, and advanced surface modifications.

A good deal of this work is accomplished at the nano-scale. For instance, some of the surface coatings that his team develops are 1000 times thinner than a human hair, yet they result in new or enhanced properties such as water repellence, super hardness, and improved corrosion resistance.

The Award judges described Jerome as a pathfinder - constantly scanning the wider horizons of science and markets for opportunities.

“He is dedicated to pushing the boundaries of knowledge and also where possible deliver initiatives to create better outcomes for society,” they said.

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