High-flying Mull student wins top education award
A HIGH-FLYING student from Mull has been named Scotland’s winner at a prestigious national education award just months after being named Agricultural Student of the Year.
Mull farmer Claire Simonetta was among the British Education Awards (BEA) finalists, their families, teachers and supporters from Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales who travelled to attend the special occasion to honour their individual academic and extra- curricular achievements in a celebration of British education.
The inaugural BEA event took place at the Grand Connaught Rooms, Covent Garden, at the end of January and was hosted by BBC news presenter Sophie Long.
The 25-year- old student is currently in her fourth and final year of a BSc (Hons) degree in agriculture at SRUC’s Ayr campus, while helping run a beef and sheep hill farm on Mull with her partner.
Commenting on Ms Simonetta’s triumph at the awards, the BEA judging panel said: ‘ The margins were tight but Claire impressed the judges with her extensive list of achievements and the lead role she is taking within an already challenging industry, but particularly as a female and the additional trials this may bring. Already she is making a significant difference – being sought out to educate both those within the industry and within the wider community on agricultural practices and activities. In this position she is already influencing the future direction of agriculture, not only in Scotland but potentially globally, and marking out a vitally important role for women as she does so.
‘The active and supportive role she takes within her community and the overall wider sense of responsibility to the industry she displays is also admirable.
‘Her commitment has surpassed academia and Claire is an example of the power of education and the opportunities it can bring to not only have a satisfying and fruitful career as an individual, but to drive change and make a significant difference in our world.’
Dr Jan Connell, senior tutor and programme leader for agriculture at SRUC Ayr, said: ‘This is another fantastic achievement for Claire and so deserving.
‘Claire excels in everything she puts her mind to and we are fortunate she is a student with us at Ayr. We have thoroughly enjoyed having Claire as a student. It is rewarding when we see the hard work of students and teaching staff being recognised in this way.’
Claire with her award.