In appreciation of our own Post-Doc

Kay Boulton, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh, 2014 – present

Currently the only post-doc on the Genetics Society Committee, Kay was awarded the Roslin Institute prize for Public Engagement during Post-doc appreciation week 2020.

At Roslin, Kay was involved in planning and presenting the 2019 Roslin Roadshow, taking science out to remoter agricultural communities, and engaging children in activity and discussion about sheep, chicken and fish genetics.  Kay also helped present the Poo-making activity at the 2018 Roslin Open Day, where over 200 children participated with glee!

2019 was coincidentally the Centenary year for the Genetics Society and the foundations of genetic study at Edinburgh University that had led to the formation of the various research institutes.  Kay conceived the idea of the “A Century of Genetics” Scientific meeting as part of the celebrations, chaired the organising committee and had a daily hand in making sure that everything went ahead as she envisaged.  The meeting was heralded as a great success by all.

Kay took part in the Genetics Society 2019 Chelsea Flower Show activity, engaging with people in discussion about plant genetics.  At the 2019 Greenman festival, Kay encouraged lots of children to think about the changes they could make to their genotype while on the spaceship G3N3, heading for a new planet where life and the environment would be very different to that on Earth.

Kay was postgraduate representative to the Genetics Society Committee from 2013-15,  Applied and Quantitative Genetic representative from 2015-18, and then appointed as the first Genetics Society Website Editor.  This was a very important role, given that the Society was approaching its Centenary year and wished to reach a larger audience.  Kay co-ordinated the revamped design with our service provider, Collaborate, the result being a lively, colourful, upbeat design, packed with regularly updated information and weekly news items that attracts a large membership.

In a short video accepting the prize, Kay explains what public engagement means to her.