Keele Student of the Year 2013
The Keele University Neil and Gina Smith Student of the Year 2013 is Lauren Gallimore.
From an exceptionally strong pool of candidates, the awarding panel decided that Lauren should be the recipient of the 2013 Neil and Gina Smith Student of the Year Award.
Lauren, from Talke, graduates from Keele with a First Class Honours Degree in Educational Studies and International Relations. She has been accepted to study for the PGCE Primary at Keele in September and plans to continue with her studies thereafter and become the first person in her family to gain a doctorate.
The panel felt strongly that Lauren’s academic performance, described by Professor Farzana Shain of the School of Public Policy and Professional Practice as “outstanding”, and her extra curricular activities, many of which show a commitment to helping young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to succeed, indicated an excellent, resilient graduate who is a credit to Keele.
Lauren came to Keele as a mature student with what she describes as “few formal qualifications”. Having had a challenging childhood and missing a proportion of her schooling as a result, Lauren had ”little confidence in (her) ability to achieve academically”. From this background, and with responsibility for the care of one, sometimes two family members, Lauren progressed extremely well through her course, winning a prize for an essay on International Relations Theory, when she had never written an essay before she came to Keele, and being recognised for excellence in education by the Second Year internal Examination Board for International Relations.
She sustained an extremely high average mark in her second and third years of study.
Lauren’s achievements have not, however, been confined to her academic progress. Throughout the majority of her degree she continued to work with children and young adults on an almost full-time basis in local residential care homes, something which clearly gave her great satisfaction and was more to her than “just a job”. Even whilst travelling in Nepal and South East Asia, Lauren found time to undertake voluntary work with children and young people in those countries she visited. In addition to her studies she supported other Keele students experiencing difficulties and worked locally for the inclusion of adults with learning disabilities.
She will receive her award during the University's summer graduation ceremonies.