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WELS Student Awards 2020 - Winners Announced

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Every year, the Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS) recognises its students for their achievements through the WELS Student Awards, and this year eight talented students received awards in two categories, in a virtual ceremony.

The Student Inspirational Achievement Award recognises WELS students who have achieved a significant career milestone, overcoming challenges or barriers to succeed in realising their aspiration. The Student Mentor/Ambassador/Buddy of the Year Award recognises the invaluable work of WELS students who support others in a formal role as mentor, ambassador or buddy. The winners of this award have gone the extra mile to act as a positive role model for other students.

Each award is particularly notable, as students must be nominated by their tutors to be eligible.

Dr Joan Simons, Associate Dean for Teaching Excellence and sponsor of the scheme, said:
“It is great to see the hard work and dedication of our students and colleagues being recognised and rewarded through our Student Awards and Teaching awards, even more so this year due the challenges experienced by all.” 

The 2020 Inspirational Achievement award winners are: 

Karen Baker - Level 3 student in the School of Education, Childhood, Youth & Sport  
Karen was determined to complete her studies despite experiencing major health issues. After deferring for a year to undergo the majority of her chemotherapy, Karen returned to her studies earning straight distinctions as well as supporting other students on her module and continuing her treatment. Read more about Karen’s inspirational story here. 

Donna B - Level 1 student in the School of Health, Wellbeing & Social Care  
Donna has overcome immense personal struggles whilst studying, including being diagnosed with an incurable cancer which led to a loss of eyesight, but she has remained focused and submitted assignments whilst dealing with numerous personal and family challenges. 

Peter D - Level 1 student in the School of Education, Childhood, Youth & Sport  
Despite the numerous challenges of being a double amputee and dyslexic, Peter has shown great tenacity and strength of character in every aspect of his studies. He competed at the Invictus Games in wheelchair rugby, so on top of his studies he has also been required to maintain a strict training regime in his sport.  

Nimra S - Level 2 student in the School of Health, Wellbeing & Social Care 
Nimra has managed complex health issues this year whilst studying. She has been in hospital for much of the year but chosen to channel her recovery through her studies. Despite her ill health, Nimra has never once considered pausing her studies and has achieved consistently high grades. 

Lauren S - Level 3 student in the School of Health, Wellbeing & Social Care  
The first member of her family to go to university, Lauren has completed her studies to date through immense personal tragedy. She’s also battled with health issues and the recent birth of a child.   

Mary Trepczyk - Level 3 student in the School of Education, Childhood, Youth & Sport  
Mary has completed her degree at the age of 63, after failing her 11+ exams in the late ‘60s. This year she’s undergone major loss and been hospitalised, as well as holding down both full- and part-time jobs, while continuing her studies. 

The 2020 Student Mentor/Ambassador/Buddy of the Year winners are: 

Paul Gardner-Smith, Nursing Apprenticeship Degree, School of Health, Wellbeing & Social Care 
Paul is based in an emergency assessment unit, working directly in support of the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic, whilst also voluntarily supporting colleagues and promoting the OU Nursing degree. Paul has had to rapidly learn new ways of working and has still found time to give his support to others. 

Jonathan Stephen Yonge, Level 1 student in the School of Languages & Applied Linguistics 
Whilst not in a formal role, Jonathan has made invaluable contributions to the learning of other students, making course materials more accessible, and producing and sharing revision aids.

We’ll be sharing more details about our 2020 student award winners’ stories over the coming months, keep an eye on our social media pages or check back here. 

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