Oakham School unveils Women in Innovation plaque celebrating Delores Sanders
Oakham School celebrated one of its former pupils being named as one of Innovate UK’s Women in Innovation Award winners with a plaque unveiling outside the school’s Smallbone Library.
Officially announced on International Women’s Day by Business Secretary Greg Clark, Dolores Sanders is one of just nine women from across the UK who have been named ‘the next generation of world-leading female innovators’.
Dolores has been recognised by Innovate UK for inventing pioneering technology that improves small business manufacturing, and will receive £50,000 and a year-long package of support to develop and grow her business further.
Dolores, who left Oakham in 1990 after studying for her English, maths and biology A-levels, chose for her ‘Women in Innovation Award’ plaque to be displayed at her former school.
The headmaster unveiled the plaque in a ceremony that included pupils who are currently studying computer science and taking part in the TeenTech Awards, as well representatives from Innovate UK and many of Dolores’ family and friends.
During the unveiling ceremony, headmaster Nigel Lashbrook outlined how the Smallbone Library is an incredibly fitting location to commemorate Dolores’ success, given how it is at the very heart of students’ learning at Oakham, the ‘home’ of TeenTech activities.
It is also adjacent to the computer science department, which opened as the IT department during Dolores’ time at Oakham.
Mr Lashbrook said: “We are honoured Dolores has chosen to have her plaque on display at Oakham.
“Technology moves at a phenomenal rate. What Dolores learnt during her time at Oakham is very different to what our computer scientists learn today, and indeed what the next generation of students will learn.
All good schools, like Oakham, don’t simply teach the knowledge or techniques of the time. Instead we focus on the process of learning, to equip students with the confidence and abilities to ask and answer questions for themselves – skills that are vital for both lifelong learning and innovation.”
During the award ceremony, Dolores outlined just how thankful she was to have the “extraordinary opportunity to fulfil my passion to empower and inspire young women in their lives to develop and create ideas for the marketplace.”
She concluded by saying “how apt, that in unveiling this plaque I get to honour the school motto”.
The school motto translates as ‘And, like runners, they pass on the torch of life’.
After the ceremony, Dolores spoke to current student, Holly, who only last week was at Buckingham Palace being awarded her TeenTech Award for her research project about the ‘underrepresentation of women’ in computer science.
Holly said: “Having studied the importance of role models in encouraging young students to get involved in STEM, it was really inspiring to see the school celebrating one of its own female innovators.
"Such a positive example of the potential for young girls who do get involved in technology will only further support the students at school and encourage them to develop their potential in the future.”