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Culture, history and society

2020 Daphne Jackson Medal and Prize

Emma Russo for her championing of girls' further study of physics through the creation of events for girls and their parents, and for her advocacy of girls' STEM education with educators internationally.


Ms Emma Russo 2020 Daphne Jackson Medal and Prize winner

Emma Russo is a physics teacher and the director of STEM at South Hampstead High School.

She has been recognised internationally as a leader in physics teaching and a champion for girls and their continued study of physics and engineering through being chosen as one of the top 50 teachers for the Global Teacher Prize in 2019.

Russo set up a partnership event at her former school called Girls in Physics where girls and their female parents heard from female speakers in physics research or engineering.

The events successfully brought together girls who were often in the minority in their physics classes, allowing them to join a network, see professionals who looked like them in these roles and show them and their parents the wealth of opportunities available through studying physics.

Speakers came from a diverse range of backgrounds, sharing their wide-ranging career and personal experiences. Events drew up to 120 attendees and continue as a legacy project for girls across London.

Russo is passionate about championing girls' STEM education on an international scale, especially in physics and engineering.

She has presented at the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai in 2019, the Qudwa forum in Abu Dhabi and worked with STEM lead teachers chosen by the government in Saudi Arabia.

She has also written a blog for the UK government's Department for Education on parental engagement and the importance of networks for young women and will be presenting to education peers at the upcoming Inside Government conference on raising standards and attainment through science teaching.

Russo is actively involved in developing and sharing education research with other teachers.

She was chosen for a European Leadership Scholarship in 2017 by Teach for All (TfA) which allowed her to travel to Sweden to observe best practice in elevating girls to study engineering at university, meeting with teachers and sharing her findings across the international TfA network of teachers.

Emma has recently been made a Network Connector for the TfA network, which involves working with other teachers to create projects and ways that can connect this global network of over 75,000 participants and alumni.

She also created and hosted a podcast called Education Passport with interviews from leading practitioners around the world which ran from 2018-19, showcasing best practice from different education systems.

In January, Emma welcomed 50 teachers to her school to share experiences of teaching physics and incorporating technology in the classroom.

Russo also presented at the WomenEd conference in October 2019, recognising that female teachers need to be supported and boosted to enable them to do the best for their students.