Published on 20/07/2022
Kayisha Payne in robes
  • Kayisha Payne is the founder of non-profit organisation BBSTEM, whose mission is to encourage and support Black individuals in pursuing a career in STEM
  • She began her higher education journey at Aston University where she read chemical engineering
  • Kayisha was a biopharmaceutical process development scientist at AstraZeneca and is currently a healthcare and life sciences consultant.

Aston University has awarded an honorary degree to Kayisha Payne in recognition of her significant contribution to the diversity of STEM subjects in schools and universities. 

She received the honour on Thursday 21 July, during a week of ceremonies taking place between 18 and 22 July at The Eastside Rooms hotel and conference centre in Birmingham.

Kayisha began her higher education journey at Aston University where she read chemical engineering. She continued her education at Imperial College London, where she received a Masters in Advanced Chemical Engineering. 

During Kayisha’s time in industry, she has amassed experience in the cosmetic industry (COTY) as a process engineer, playing a key lead in bringing a very popular product to market. She was most recently a biopharmaceutical process development scientist at AstraZeneca and is currently a healthcare and life sciences consultant. 

She is also the founder of a non-profit organisation named BBSTEM whose mission is to encourage and support Black individuals in pursuing a successful career in STEM. Through this work she has been recognised by the Financial Times as one of The Top 100 Most Influential BAME leaders in Diversity and Tech (2018), a STEM Rising Star at The Black British Business Awards (2019), Top 50 Women in Engineering by the WES (2021) and others.

Kayisha said: “I am beyond grateful to receive such an honour from Aston University. I have seen many people I have admired and been inspired by become a recipient of such an award and I’m truly humbled that I have been recognised too, for doing something I’m passionate about.”

Professor Anthony Hilton, executive dean of the College of Health and Life Sciences at Aston University, said: “I am delighted that Aston University has bestowed this honour on Kayisha.

“Her work is vital to increasing diversity within STEM subjects and Kayisha’s organisation BBSTEM is a key part of this. 

“Kayisha is also a talented and successful engineer, having worked in both the construction and health industries. She is definitely someone to watch and we are proud Kayisha is an alumna of Aston University.” 

Notes to editors

About Aston University

Founded in 1895 and a University since 1966, Aston is a long established university led by its three main beneficiaries – students, business and the professions, and our region and society. Aston University is located in Birmingham and at the heart of a vibrant city and the campus houses all the university’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students. Saskia Loer Hansen is the interim Vice-Chancellor & Chief Executive.

Aston University was named University of the Year 2020 by The Guardian and the University’s full time MBA programme has been ranked in the top 100 in the world in the Economist MBA 2021 ranking. The Aston MBA has been ranked 12th in the UK and 85th in the world. 

For media inquiries in relation to this release, contact Rebecca Hume, Press and Communications Manager, on (+44)7557 745416 or email: r.hume@aston.ac.uk

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