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Sarah West

Centre Director

Sarah West is Centre Director for SEI York. She was appointed in March 2020 and spends around half her time on this role. The rest of the time, she is a researcher, using a citizen science approach to address a range of environmental topics.

Since 2008, Sarah has designed, run, evaluated and undertaken research on citizen science projects. Initially, this was on the OPAL project which aimed to engage people from all backgrounds in science and nature through environmental surveys. Whilst working on this project Sarah completed her PhD exploring the outcomes which may take place through environmental education projects including environmental attitude and behavioural changes, and how environmental education practitioners measure these outcomes.

Since then, Sarah has expanded the topics and locations in which citizen science approaches are used, including through her work with Parenting Science Gang, a parent-led citizen science project about parenting. She is currently working on several air quality related citizen science projects, including SAMHE and INGENIOUS.

Sarah was awarded her PhD in the evaluation of environmental education at the Environment Department (now the Department of Environment and Geography) at the University of York in March 2014. Before that she completed an MSc in Biodiversity and Conservation at the University of Leeds, but started off as a Geographer, gaining a BA Hons from the University of Oxford (St Peter’s College) in 2005.

She also worked on the Living at Derwenthorpe project led by the Centre for Housing Policy at the University of York, evaluating the success of this new “sustainable community” of houses in York, by using SEI York’s community footprint calculator Reap Petite.

Sarah also enjoys working with the Centre for Lifelong Learning and evaluated their “Science is for Parents Too” course, funded by the Wellcome Trust. This course ran from 2012-2015 and taught parents the science their children learn at primary school, with the aim of increasing their confidence in talking about science and their abilities to help their children with science homework. This report summarises the findings from the 2013 course, gives details of the methodologies used, the results and the lessons learned from the project.

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