30 Under 30: Mhairi McCann

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Mhairi McCann, 18, Inverclyde

Mhairi is one busy young woman, and one of the brightest young scientists in Scotland. Last year she was named runner up in the Senior Science category at the Big Bang Competition, which is the UK’s national competition for young scientists and engineers. This places Mhairi in the UK’s top 4 scientists for her age in the whole of the UK.

Of the Scottish competitors at the competition, she was the joint highest placed competitor and the highest placed female Scottish competitor. Pretty amazing, right?

She was also awarded a Gold CREST Award by the British Science Association, which means that she spent more than 70 hours working on a project that contributed new knowledge to the scientific community.

Mhairi is also passionate about engaging other young people in science.¬† She is a member of the British Science Association’s CREST Youth Panel, which influences the science engagement work carried out by the BSA and their partners. She has recently been selected as a member of the Royal Society of Biology’s Student Curriculum Group.

She also is the Scottish Ambassador for the Young Scientists Journal – an international scientific journal which is produced by young people. As part of the outreach team she focuses on promoting the journal to young people across Scotland and encouraging them to publish their work. Mhairi is also a STEM Ambassador.

Mhairi’s other main interest, besides science, is the environment, and as a member of ReRoute: Scotland’s Youth Biodiversity Panel, Mhairi volunteers her time to help Young Scot and Scottish Natural Heritage to engage other young people in nature. It’s something that she believes is vital in ensuring our current protection and enhancement of the natural environment is sustainable for years to come.

If that didn’t sound busy enough, Mhairi also spends all her free time volunteering for projects focused on making young people’s voices heard. She is one of the Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland’s (CYCPS) Young Advisors, and she is involved in influencing the review of the CYCPS’s strategic plan, which will be laid before the Scottish Parliament in January 2018. She is also a member of Children in Scotland’s Children and Young People’s advisory group, and she helps to shape this organisation’s work making sure that they listen to young people.

Finally, Mhairi is the Year of Young People 2018 Ambassador, and she wants to help create a change in how young people are viewed in Inverclyde and also to give local young people more opportunities in 2018 and beyond. Through this role, Mhairi is also trying to influence the science organisations that she is involved in at a national level to provide young people across Scotland with more opportunities and to have their achievements recognised and celebrated.

Pictures courtesy of Mhairi McCann and Alan Richardson, Dundee, Pix-Ar.co.uk. Picture one shows Mhairi’s stand at the Big Bang competition, picture two shows Mhairi receiving her award, and picture three is the Nuffield Research Placements Celebration Event Scotland 2016.


You can see the full list of our amazing 30 Under 30 2017 finalists here, and keep a look out on the blog as we feature a different finalist every day throughout November.

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