Dr. Sarah Knight: A Wonderful Advocate for Science Outreach in Galway

'Saving the Planet', Planting trees with her son Cian, Terryland Forest Park, 2013
A damper was put on my Christmas a few days ago when my good friend and long time university colleague Dr. Sarah Knight finished up as Outreach Officer at the Ryan Institute of NUI Galway. I will miss her so much.
Sarah with Lindsay Cody, 'Open Your Mind' research talk on 'Violence Against Women', NUI Galway, 2009
For Sarah was an inspiration and a positive role model for so many of us involved in bringing science and technology into schools. By her departure, our university has lost one of its greatest assets.

Sarah in Clontuskert National School, 2011
Sarah’s focus was in promoting marine, environmental and energy science with an emphasis on the research being undertaken in these areas by the Ryan Institute. Sarah took what are exciting fields of science and amazingly made them even more exciting much to the enjoyment and benefit of pupils in schools across Galway city and county. 
Science Festival, Leisureland, Nov. 2009
With her happy persona, radiant smile, infectious laughter and deep scientific knowledge she was always a big hit with children.
The range of hands-on projects that she coordinated had a common denominator -the WOW factor! One of my favourites and probably one of her finest creations was a large 3D tabletop model of Galway Bay that wonderfully demonstrated how sea currents moved along the Galway coastline. 

 A smiling face in the crowd, 'Open Your Mind'  research talk, NUI Galway
Sarah was a permanent fixture at a myriad of science festivals over so many years including Baboro, the annual Galway Science and Technology Festival, school tours of NUI Galway’s research centres, and the annual Ocean Day at the National Aquarium of Ireland aka Atlantaquaria.  Not surprisingly she was selected as a university representative on the board of the Galway Science Forum (formerly known as the Galway Science & Technology Festival). 
Sarah with her fellow Outreach Officers, NUI Galway, January 2009
Within NUI Galway, she was part of the organising committee of the pioneering Open Your Mind research competition and later took on the role as chief coordinator of the Thesis-in-3 challenge aka Threesis where speakers had to present three slides in three minutes in front of three judges. 
Thressis Poster - designed by Sarah Knight
The latter is now a permanent fixture in the university calendar.   
Science Advocates  at NUI Galway
Sea Science Exploration Zone
But her greatest legacy amongst many legacies that she has given to Galway science is the establishment of an interactive Sea Science Exploration Zone at the Galway City Museum that she and museum official James Reynolds spent many months planning, designing and securing funding for. 

With James Reynolds at the Submarine exhibit, Sea Science Exploration Zone, Oct 2014
One of my most abiding memories of Sarah and what typified her 'gung-ho' and hands-on approach was seeing her a few months ago decked out in rough clothing, sleeves rolled up, working away like a beaver with hammer and nails as she putted the finishing touches to the Sea Science exhibition just days before it was opened to the public.
Community Clean-Up, Terryland Forest Park, 2008
Yet Sarah’s interest in science extended beyond her official duties. She was also an active community environmentalist, participating in many seashore, park and forest cleanups, in tree plantings in Terryland Forest Park, and getting involved in the successful 2008 community campaign to stop  a road being built through Terryland Forest Park which garnered over 10,000 signatures. 

Sarah at the 'Friends of Terryland Forest Park' Campaign stall, Shop Street, 2008

Sarah at a Clean-Up of Merlin Woods, 2009
Galway Bay Clean-Up, Salthill, 2009

Galway Bay Clean-Up, Salthill, 2010
Planting trees with Jim Lenaghan, Daire Smith, James & Patrick, Terryland Forest Park, 2011
 You will never be forgotten Dr. Sarah Knight!

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