Inspiring Woman 2020


Dr Gemma Almond is a former elite athlete and swimmer who represented Great Britain at various competitions between 2008 and 2015. Her sporting highlights include a bronze medal at the European Championships in 2011 and two finals at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

During this period, she was also studying for an undergraduate degree in the History department at Swansea University, followed by a Master’s degree in the same department. Gemma retired from competitive sport in 2015 to study for a doctorate.

Her PhD ‘Enhancing Vision in Nineteenth-Century Britain’ was an AHRC collaborative doctoral partnership, and was awarded in 2019 by Swansea University and the Science Museum. Gemma currently teaches a variety of social and cultural history, with a particular focus on nineteenth-century/Victorian history.

Gemma is an inspiration not just because she combines academic ability and sporting success at a high level, but that in her work with staff and students she is professional, approachable, dedicated and kind.

Gemma has participated in numerous University projects that seek to help others, increase positivity, and remove uncertainty. She has achieved this by explaining the complex ideas explored in her PhD to adult and school-aged audiences at Swansea Science Festival, supporting Disability History Month and speaking to prospective students, when asked, to reassure them about how high-level training can fit in with studies. Gemma has been a fantastic ambassador both as a student and now as a member of staff. Outside of university, she is also working as a patron for DDHUK, a charity that aims to provide support, empower those with hip dysplasia, and raise awareness of the condition.