Press release

Wimberley Award 2023 won by passionate student Maitane

Published on 20 June 2023

A student who has continuously worked toward improving equality and diversity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects has received the most prestigious award given to University of Dundee students

On this page

Maitane Sandonis Perez has been named as the winner of this year’s Wimberley Award, given to the student or students who have made the most distinguished contribution to university life.

Throughout her time at Dundee, Maitane (21) has helped deliver positive cultural change within the School of Life Sciences and the wider University through her work on equality and diversity with the Athena SWAN  Undergraduate Committee.

Athena SWAN is an equality charter mark framework and accreditation scheme that recognises and celebrates good practices in higher education and research institutions towards the advancement of gender equality.

Maitane’s efforts includes facilitating campaigns to promote the visibility of female scientists, prevent gender-based violence and raise awareness on neurodiversity in STEM.

She graduated with a degree in Biological Sciences on the afternoon of Tuesday 20 June.

“I am truly honoured by this recognition,” said Maitane. “It makes me very happy to see that the work towards equality and diversity in STEM is valued by the University. It is a meaningful closure to all the work put into it and a great chance to celebrate the achievements of my Athena SWAN colleagues.

“I am proud to be a part of such a high standard, yet ever-improving institution. These campaigns have helped break the biases towards women in STEM in our university and have led to the implementation of measures to prevent and facilitate help in instances of gender-based violence in the academic environment.

“The neurodivergence in STEM campaign will launch in the next academic year. It is meaningful to me that the School is working to break the stereotypes associated with neurodiversity, and that students and staff will soon have the testimonies and encouragement of successful neurodivergent scientists.

“I would like to thank Melissa d'Ascenzio and Lesley-Anne Pearson for leading the wonderful Athena SWAN group in my School and helping us students in our projects to improve the university. Likewise, I must acknowledge the work of the rest of the student committee who have worked just as hard to make all these projects happen, and the efforts of many other students that I have come across who also want to see the University of Dundee become a better place.”

Alongside her equality and diversity work, Maitane, who is originally from Alicante, Spain, stood as the environment and sustainability representative within the Dundee University Students’ Association (DUSA) Student Representative Council. She was named Student Representative of the Year in 2022 in recognition of her efforts and plans to continue a career in Ecology and Conservation.

“Dundee has provided me with a platform to develop professionally while working for important causes,” Maitane continued. “I have developed a deep love for the city. I feel in awe, and this has been my motivation to work to give back to our community. I sincerely hope my work helps the University and the city to continue improving.”


Jessica Rorke

Media Relations Officer

+44 (0)1382 388878