Royal honours for Queen’s School female scientists

Two female scientists and former Queen’s School pupils received honours in the Queen’s birthday honours for their roles in science, engineering and business.

Louise Makin (‘78) was made a Dame and, coincidentally, Diana Leitch (‘64) an MBE in the same ceremony at Buckingham Palace earlier this year.

Both women attended The Queen’s School and still have strong links. Last year Diana spoke at the school’s annual Commemoration Service and Louise is a patron of the school’s Fitness For All campaign, having also rowed for Cambridge and Great Britain while at University.

Both agree that their early experiences at Queen’s forged their characters to enable them to take their knowledge and passions as far as they wanted.

Louise is now CEO of the fast-growing specialist healthcare company BTG plc. She began her career at ICI and moved to a number of pharmaceutical companies before starting at BTG. She is also a trustee of the Outward Bound Trust. Louise received her DBE for services to Life Sciences.

Diana has a BSc and PhD from the University of Edinburgh, is a fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and before retirement, was the deputy librarian at the University of Manchester. She was awarded her MBE for service to chemistry in recognition of her national and international work in the promotion of chemical information and for her role, since retirement, as a Trustee of the Catalyst Science and Discovery Centre in Widnes in promoting science and engineering to children.

Both women say they are very proud to have been honoured and are happy that a large proportion of girls at Queen’s continue choose to study sciences. This year at Queen’s more than half of the current Year 13 girls are going on to study a male-dominated subject – like engineering, architecture and computing – or a science subject.

Diana Leitch MBE said: “I am enormously happy to have been honoured in this way. Chemistry is fundamental to everything in this life; it holds the answers to so many of life’s big questions – and there is still so much to discover. It is vital that we encourage the next generation to seize the mantle by igniting young minds with a love of science. I am pleased to say that Queen’s and the Catalyst Centre both do a spectacular job of this.”

Dame Louise Makin added: “Self-belief, an ability to calmly reflect, to lead teams and to get things done are all qualities I learnt at school and which have underpinned my successes in both science and the modern business world. I am very happy to have been recognised in this way for my achievements and excited to know that there are so many young women setting off on similar journeys of their own.”

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