As the latest crop of A level students prepare to start university next month, two graduates have been honoured for the example they set to others while studying at the University of Cumbria.
The Spirit of Cumbria award recognises students who in their own way, exemplify the university’s values of progressive, passionate, supportive and personal.
Katherine Turner-Wilkinson, 44, originally from Plymouth now living in Carlisle, said she always dreamed of being a nurse and three years ago she took the plunge to make her dream a reality.
Having previously worked in a care setting helping patients with neurological conditions, this specialism peaked Katherine’s interest and it was this area of nursing she decided to pursue.
During her time on the course, Katherine garnered high praise from lecturers, patients and her fellow nursing cohort alike and shared her knowledge and experiences and guided students who were struggling.
Fast forward three years and Katherine has emerged with highest grade of a 1:1 and she did this while juggling the demanding responsibilities of two children.
Her lecturer Carleen Hawkins praised her for her level-headed, common sense approach and felt she thoroughly deserved the award.
She said, “Throughout Katherine's three years on the programme she has proven her passion and motivation for learning and determination to achieve the best not only for her studies but for her patients.
“Supporting her fellow colleagues, throughout she has been a shining light and inspiration for those interested in joining the profession.”
Katherine finished her course in March and immediately took up a role in the stroke ward at the Cumberland Infirmary just as lockdown measures were introduced.
She said it was particularly poignant as patients were not allowed visitors and so wanted to give her patients the best care when at their most vulnerable.
Speaking about what motivated her to study nursing, she said she always wanted to be a nurse so she could be hands-on and make a difference.
She said: “Having worked as a carer before I have always been interested in neurological conditions and strokes to help people who can’t immediately help themselves and so landing the job on the stroke ward has been a dream come true.”
“Being nominated for and winning the award is a surprise, although a very pleasant one. I just want to set a good example for my kids and show them they can do anything.”
Over the course of his three-year degree Coady Scott who is 22 from Egremont, found that his confidence skyrocketed as a result of studying BSc sport, coaching and physical education.
When he first started the course, he was shy and retiring but a mere three years later and the opposite is true. Coady took on several leadership positions including chairman of the the university’s football club and led his course event management team.
He initially embarked on the course to become a PE teacher as he remembered the positive impact his PE teacher had on him. But his eyes were opened while studying and realised there were far more opportunities in coaching available to him.
He said “I’m really proud to get this award, I didn’t expect it. I’m definitely more academic now and when I look back on myself in the first year compared to third, there’s is a huge difference on me and my confidence.”
His tutor Mark Christie said of Coady: “For someone who was rather shy in his first year, he really grew in confidence after an excellent joint presentation in a Dragon’s Den pitch to an invited audience as part of a second year module called Community Development Through Sport. Following the excellent feedback, he had for this, Coady was literally a man transformed!”