Women of Achievement pushing the boundaries
The latest in a new series profiling our Women of Achievement Awards 2021 celebrants highlights outstanding accomplishments of colleagues in the field of international research and development.
Dr Rebecca Thompson, Dr Michelle Morris, Dr Elizabeth Yi Wang and Dr Rasha Kadry Soliman (pictured clockwise, from top right) are among our Women of Achievement 2021 celebrants
Amazing achievements of 28 colleagues were recognised during a special online ceremony last month.
Held for the sixth time, the awards aim to acknowledge and celebrate women who share a common commitment to excellence and have performed outstandingly in their fields, whether this be in research, student education or student experience, scholarship, international strategies, leadership of key University initiatives, or supporting vital administrative and technical activities.
The awards highlight the significant contributions and impact the recipients have made across the University and beyond.
The women receiving awards were all nominated by their peers, and are drawn from across the University, from a range of academic and professional colleagues, highlighting how excellence is being achieved throughout the institution.
Building a culture of equality and inclusion
Dr Rasha Kadry Soliman is a Lecturer in Arabic Language and Linguistics in the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies.
She has made a significant contribution to the field of Arabic language teaching and has built a culture of equality and inclusion in the school. Dr Soliman was one of the advisors for the Language Learning Framework (Association of University Language Centres) and has worked hard to develop the Biennial Arabic Language Learning and Teaching Conference.
She said: “As with any award or nomination, the experience is often a humbling one, and provides an opportunity to reflect.
“I feel hugely privileged and honoured in having received this nomination for the work I have contributed to Arabic language teaching and for my role as a lead for equality and inclusion in our school. It’s only right to credit the successes in my journey to my motivated and bright learners, inspiring academic leaders and support from colleagues that have nurtured and sustained my passion in the field of language teaching, which is so critical to bringing cultures and communities closer together in mutual appreciation and respect.
“I see this award as a responsibility to continue to work even harder in my roles and to aspire to achieve higher goals in promoting language learning.”
Dr Rasha Kadry Soliman has made a significant contribution to the field of Arabic language teaching
Dr Elizabeth Yi Wang is an Associate Professor of International Business and was co-chair of the European International Business Academy Doctoral Symposium between 2013 and 2019.
Dr Wang received the Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence on 2018. She has also enhanced international exchange in e-commerce education and e-commerce professional development, as well as opening up avenues for international partnerships between China and the UK.
Dr Wang said: “It’s a great honour and a privilege to receive the Women of Achievement Award.
“I thank the Equality and Inclusion Unit at Leeds for actively promoting gender equality. Women need their campaigners. I would like to also thank my colleagues and particularly my mentor, who has been supporting and encouraging me over the years to assure me that determination and effort to create impact and values for the society is appreciated. Receiving a nomination for this award has therefore been one of the most inspiring experiences I’ve had.”
Dr Elizabeth Yi Wang has been honoured for opening up avenues for international partnerships between China and the UK
Pushing the boundaries
Dr Michelle Morris leads the Nutrition and Lifestyle Analytics team at Leeds Institute for Data Analytics.
Her research focuses on the use of data science to influence healthy lifestyle choices and has inspired countless colleagues in academia, public health and the retail industry, resulting in local, national and international impact.
Dr Morris said: “Receiving this award means so much to me, especially to have been nominated by colleagues.
“This recognition for pushing the boundaries of academic silos, working with industry and policy makers makes me feel quite emotional yet empowered. I hope that I can inspire others to step out of their comfort zone and push the boundaries of traditional ways of working in order to make a real world impact.
“Interdisciplinary research with commercial data partners is challenging – the path is not well travelled and considerable persistence is required. Having a team and colleagues to share in my vision, belief and passion to use novel nutrition and physical activity data to better understand lifestyle behaviours and subsequent health outcomes makes the journey far more enjoyable and rewarding, and we can collectively achieve more together.”
Research by Dr Michelle Morris to influence healthy lifestyle choices has resulted in local, national and international impact
Supporting world-class, international, collaborative research
Dr Rebecca Thompson is the Astbury Biostructure Laboratory Electron Microscopy Facility Manager and Senior Cryo-EM Support.
She has established operations for a world-class structural biology centre via the University’s £17 million investment in the Astbury Biostructure Laboratory.
Dr Thompson has built an outstanding team of scientists that have transformed research capabilities within the Faculty of Biological Sciences and the Astbury Centre, supporting world-class, international, collaborative research and delivering training to hundreds of researchers.
She said: “I was surprised and delighted to receive a Women of Achievement Award alongside such esteemed colleagues.
“Throughout my time at Leeds, I have been lucky enough to work with great people, who have enabled me to fulfil my potential and develop a supportive and inclusive working environment.”
Dr Rebecca Thompson has established operations for a world-class structural biology centre via the Astbury Biostructure Laboratory
Success for all
Leeds has been commended for its work to support the career development of talented women in the form of a prestigious Bronze award under the Athena SWAN Charter. The Athena SWAN Charter is designed to recognise advancement of gender equality: representation, progression and success for all. Faculties at Leeds celebrated a hat-trick of new awards across the University last year.
Further profiles of each of the Women of Achievement Awards 2021 celebrants will be published on For Staff during the coming weeks. Links to these articles will be added to the weekly eNews editions and the Equality and Inclusion Unit website, so watch this space for further information.
For those unable to attend the online Women of Achievement Awards 2021, you can access a recording of the ceremony to watch in full.Posted in: University news