Amazon Longitude Explorer Prize: Who are the judges?

  • Maddy Kavanagh

    Maddy Kavanagh

    Programme Manager, Longitude Explorer Prize

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25 Feb 2021

The Amazon Longitude Explorer Prize judges have been announced

We’ve been totally blown away by the quality of entries that have come through to the Amazon Longitude Explorer Prizeit’s been great to see that young people are still passionate about trying to improve the world around them, despite the restrictions and setbacks they have faced over the last year. With amazing ideas submitted across each of our four themes (Living Greener, Living Longer, Living Better and Living Together), we definitely need some support in helping to shortlist the 40 finalist teams, which is why we are so pleased to announce our judging panel for this year’s Amazon Longitude Explorer Prize!

Meet the judges

Obum Ekeke is the Education Partnerships Lead at DeepMind. He leads the company’s education effort to increase access to opportunities and careers in AI and to build a diverse and an inclusive AI community. He’s a trustee of UK Youth and an External Council Member of the University of Essex.

Robin is responsible as the UK Executive lead, for Jisc Further Education and Skill Policy, Engagement and Services. Robin leads on Jisc’s strategy for building the digital leadership capacity within FE and Skills institutions whilst also leading on the strategic engagement for FE and Skills with the Department for Education, Government departments, regional and combined authorities on policy, digital infrastructure planning and investment; plus, the strategic engagement and collaboration with other relevant agencies and digital suppliers.

Rob Halkyward is responsible for Teach First’s relationships with external audiences and stakeholders and is accountable for income generation to meet its goals. The engagement directorate covers brand, marketing, public affairs, government relations, media, and all fundraising teams. Rob joined Teach First in November 2019 having held senior marketing, fundraising and strategy roles at Friends of the Earth, Tate and The Scouts as well as acting in an advisory role for Members of Parliament. Rob is Chair of Governors of a local primary school in Hertfordshire and a Trustee of Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity.

Lauren is Director for Alexa International Q&A based at Amazon’s Development Centre in Cambridge, U.K. In this role she leads a globally diverse team of top notch knowledge engineers, product/program managers, business and data analysts to ensure Alexa can answer any question ever asked in any language. She is passionate about building the next generation of technologists and is an executive sponsor for Amazon’s Future Engineer Program a comprehensive childhood-to-career program aimed at increasing access to computer science education for children and young adults from underserved and underrepresented communities. As well as a regular volunteer for Code Club an initiative that aims to provide opportunities for children aged 9 to 13 to develop coding skills through school clubs. 

Kike Oniwinde is the Founder and CEO of BYP Network, a platform described by many as the ‘LinkedIn for Black Professionals’ which enables ambitious future leaders to network, form meaningful connections with corporations and access to coveted job opportunities. Kike is one of the Forbes 30 under 30, Maserati 100 innovators, Top 100 UK BAME Leaders in Tech and a World Economic Forum Global Shaper.

Jacqueline is the President of techUK and the President of the Digital Leaders board. She sits as a Non-Executive Director on the board of UK technology business Rightmove plc; on the board of Costain plc, and is also on the board of the online retailer AO World plc. She was presented with the 2017 Catherine Variety award for Science and Technology and the 2018 Women in Tech Award for Advocate of the Year acknowledging her contribution to diversity.

A former English teacher, Cat’s roles have since focused on supporting teacher development both online and through face-to-face activities, with a particular focus on development through collaboration and through engagement with research and evidence. She has worked in education in both the state and independent sector, as well as in corporate learning and development. Cat leads on the Chartered College Of Teaching’s work around teacher development and certification, including the Chartered Teacher programme, and their research activities and publications, including their award-winning peer-reviewed journal, Impact. 

Russell began his career as an accountant within the Lloyds insurance market, before moving into education.  His time teaching highlighted the need for all young people to develop knowledge, skills and attitudes beyond the traditional academic learning and prompted the decision to join the charitable sector supporting schools and other educational institutions to address this. Russell now oversees all of Young Enterprise’s programmes and services.  Russell has contributed to a range of reviews into financial education and skills development within the UK, including the Lords Select Committee Report on Financial Inclusion, London Assembly Economy Committee, and conducting a series of enquiries with the All Party Parliamentary Group on Financial Education for Young People. 

We’ll be revealing the 40 finalist teams soon, stay tuned! For more information on the Prize, head to

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