The Achieving Excellence Bursaries are now celebrating their third year of helping students at York to make the most of their time here. We caught up with one of our recipients from the class of 2015 to find out where they are now, and how the award helped them to get there.
The Achieving Excellence Bursaries (AEB) are funded by York’s alumni and friends community through philanthropic donations. Students tend to come from lower-income backgrounds, and the award offers them the chance to seize career and volunteering opportunities by bridging the gap between student loans and the cost of living. The awards play a vital role in ensuring students are not missing out on career development opportunities due to their economic backgrounds.
English and Politics graduate Hannah Pagan told us: “The fact that I had chosen to study a course only really available at York meant that I had to move away from home. The AEB enabled me to focus on my studies, rather than worrying about buying everything from food to books – essential on an English Literature course! The money that you give to students while they are at university is often a lifeline that provides them with the freedom to study what they want, where they want.”
This bursary kept me from living for just the essentials, and invaluably enriched my university experience.”
The awards were established in 2013 to help students access opportunities that could give them a head-start in the job market.
Hannah emphasised just how important the bursary was to her and her career: “Without the bursary I would have had to get a job that fitted alongside my studies, prohibiting me from joining any societies or doing any voluntary work while at University. Instead, I had a fantastic three years wholeheartedly committed to studying a combination of subjects that I am incredibly passionate about and graduated with a First. I was also able to run an award-winning volunteering project in my spare time, developing my transferable skills and contributing to the wider York community.”
Building on the skills she developed as part of the Inkwell Project, which ran creative writing sessions in primary schools across York, Hannah has decided to pursue a career as an English teacher. “Planning and running these sessions, as well as working with many different volunteers, enabled me to get an insight into working with children of different ages, managing a group of people and planning lessons. Being involved in this project really allowed me to get to grips with the teaching profession, and I don’t think I could have devoted myself to it without the support of the Bursary.”