Dr Hephzi Akordor
Dr Hephzi is a mum of two, a research scientist and an entrepreneur with two businesses in the UK as well as being the founding director of a registered international charity.
Hephzi started her career in the biosciences after completing a biomedical science degree before branching out into the pharmaceutical industry after completing a postgraduate degree in pharmaceutical science with management studies. She has a PhD in Skin Biology. Hephzi currently serves as the chair of the Essex, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire branch of the Royal Society of Biology. She has recently been appointed as the chair of creative people and places, Basildon. A 10-yr culture regeneration program for Basildon town by the arts council.
In 2014, she received a national science communication award for her work in engaging underserved communities with science from the Royal Society of Biology. In 2017 she received a highly commended women in science award by Goldman Sachs at the Win trade awards and that same year she was nominated as a finalist in the outstanding STEM ambassador category of the national stem inspiration awards. Queen Mary University also awarded Hephzi with a community champion award in 2018 for her community engagement with science work and she received a Winston Churchill travel fellowship in 2019. Her fellowship has her travel to Finland and Ghana researching on informal methods of STEM education. Hephzi has also been celebrated internationally by being named as a STEM champion by the global telecommunications network, Airtel Ghana. She was awarded the 2021 stem educator of the year award by the UK educators network.
Hephzi’s work focusses on empowering young people from underserved communities to improve their science capital by providing opportunities to enable them to make informed decisions. She also works with community groups and organises an annual street science festival in her local community which has evolved over time since the first event in 2014 and has been featured on ITN news. Hephzi also supports local schools as a STEM ambassador for the Essex region and runs regular STEM inspired activities in the community and public spaces. She operates a learning centre located in the Basildon, which offers after school supported learning and summer school programs from key stage 1 through to A-Levels. Hephzi believes in nurturing the potential of her students to bring out the best versions of themselves.
Hephzi is a member of the association of British Science Writers and she has written internationally for organisations including, Oxbridge Biotech, Research fortnight, tech.co, GhScientific and daily graphic. She is also an international speaker and has presented at multiple conferences, organisations and events across Europe and Africa on education, informal learning, public engagement with science and on engaging with underserved communities including the British Science festival in 2021.
Her experiences in navigating the UK educational system and her pathway to discovering her career interests as well as the challenges faced and the lack of mentors and role models, led Hephzi along her path of working with young people and their families to provide them with a better experience.