Fab four cel­e­brate de­gree suc­cess

The Oban Times - - FRONT PAGE -

AN IRA­NIAN stu­dent who raised her baby and worked part-time while achiev­ing a first-class hon­ours de­gree at the Scot­tish As­so­ci­a­tion for Marine Sci­ence (SAMS UHI) in Oban, has been pre­sented with SAMS Award for Spe­cial Achieve­ment.

Univer­sity of the High­lands and Is­lands stu­dent Maryam MacCorquo­dale, 37, picked up a BSc Marine Sci­ence (Hons) at the SAMS UHI grad­u­a­tion on Fri­day (Septem­ber 8). A to­tal of 19 un­der­grad­u­ates gained their de­grees and seven post­grad­u­ate awards were made at the cer­e­mony in Oban’s Ar­gyll­shire Gath­er­ing Halls. They each re­ceived their scrolls from the univer­sity’s deputy prin­ci­pal Pro­fes­sor Crich­ton Lang.

Maryam had pur­sued an early pas­sion for sci­ence at univer­sity in Tehran but left Iran to pur­sue her ed­u­ca­tion, study­ing busi­ness in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy at Strath­clyde Univer­sity in Glas­gow. But af­ter grad­u­a­tion she failed to find em­ploy­ment. Af­ter un­suc­cess­fully ap­ply­ing for around 70 jobs and on the verge of re­turn­ing home, Maryam found a live-in job at the Pier­house Ho­tel in Port Ap­pin and there she met her hus­band Graeme.

It wasn’t un­til she moved to the Ap­pin area and be­came aware of SAMS UHI that her love of sci­ence was rekin­dled and she ap­plied for the un­der­grad­u­ate course.

But she al­most de­clined a place on the de­gree course af­ter re­ceiv­ing the of­fer at the same time she found out she was preg­nant with her daugh­ter, Kimiya, say­ing: ‘There were many times when I strug­gled to bal­ance ev­ery­thing. When I found out I was preg­nant, my hus­band and my fa­ther-in-law con­vinced me to take the place on the course.

‘Through­out what was a very chal­leng­ing de­gree, I worked nights at the Knipoch Ho­tel, near Oban, then at the Pier­house. Thank­fully I found a very sup­port­ive child­min­der in Fiona Moore but I of­ten strug­gled to do ev­ery­thing well.

‘Then, the day be­fore my third year ex­ams Kimiya had an ac­ci­dent and was in hospi­tal. It all be­came too much for me and I didn’t know whether to come back for my fourth year. But a real re­gret of mine is not pur­su­ing sci­ence as a teenager. At that time, when things were dif­fi­cult, I gave up and I didn’t want to re­peat that story.’

Maryam said she was lucky to have had sup­port­ive lec­tur­ers, who in­spired her to pur­sue her stud­ies in biotech­nol­ogy and mi­cro­bi­ol­ogy in par­tic­u­lar. She now hopes to find a PhD, or work as a sup­port sci­en­tist on a project.

Fel­low grad­u­ate Shan­non Laf­ferty, who is a de­pute pres­i­dent with the High­lands and Is­lands Stu­dent As­so­ci­a­tion, was awarded the SAMS UHI Stu­dent of the Year ti­tle.

Grad­u­ates Daniel Burt, who is from Con­nel, and Jamie Rodgers were awarded the SAMS Coun­cil Award for Aca­demic Ex­cel­lence and the Tim Boyd Prize for Oceanog­ra­phy, re­spec­tively. Jamie, the univer­sity sail­ing team cap­tain, also re­ceived SAMS UHI’s first Sport­ing Blues award. Daniel, one of four for­mer Oban High School pupils grad­u­at­ing this year, has been ac­cepted for a Masters at the Univer­sity of Ham­burg.

This year’s cer­e­mony saw the first grad­u­ates of the Eras­mus Mun­dus Joint Masters De­gree in Aqua­cul­ture, En­vi­ron­ment and So­ci­ety (ACES). ACES Masters grad­u­ate Ste­wart Beat­tie ac­cepted the award for the best ACES dissertation on be­half of Brazil­ian stu­dent Pa­tri­cia Alves Pereira.

The Jo­hanna Fehling Me­mo­rial Prize for the best pub­lished pa­per by a stu­dent was shared be­tween PhD stu­dents Kati Michalek and Win­nie Courtene-Jones, who have both won na­tional awards for their re­search in 2017.

Keynote speaker was Ar­gyll and Bute MSP and Scot­tish Brexit sec­re­tary Michael Rus­sell, who said he was proud to have SAMS UHI in his con­stituency.

Prof Keith David­son, SAMS UHI Associate Di­rec­tor for Ed­u­ca­tion, paid tribute to Prof Gra­ham Shim­mield and Prof Ian Bry­den, two ma­jor con­trib­u­tors to SAMS UHI, who both died in the past year.

Pho­to­graph: Kevin McG­lynn

Four for­mer pupils of Oban High School grad­u­ated with a BSc (Hons) in Marine Sci­ence from SAMS UHI on Fri­day. Daniel Burt, Joni An­field, Re­becca Kynoch and Stacey Fel­gate were among 19 un­der­grad­u­ates who pre­sented with their de­grees at a cer­e­mony in Oban’s Ar­gyll­shire Gath­er­ing Halls.

Anti-clock­wise from above cen­tre: for­mer Oban High School pupil Re­becca Kynoch grad­u­ated with a BSc, first-class hon­ours in marine sci­ence from SAMS on Fri­day, over­com­ing the many chal­lenges as­so­ci­ated with dys­lexia. Re­becca, cen­tre, is pic­tured with her proud mother, Sarah Wol­la­cott and grand­mother, Ann Kynoch; joint win­ners of the Jo­hanna Fehling Me­mo­rial Prize for best pub­lished pa­per by a PhD stu­dent, Kati Michalek, left and Win­nie Courtene-Jones; Jamie Rodgers, who won the Tim Boyd prize for oceanog­ra­phy and SAMS UHI first sport­ing blues award for cap­tain­ing the univer­sity sail­ing team; SAMS UHI Stu­dent of the Year Shan­non Laf­ferty, who re­ceived her award from SAMS UHI Di­rec­tor Prof Ni­cholas Owens; Daniel Burt, Con­nel, re­ceived the SAMS Coun­cil Award for Aca­demic Ex­cel­lence; and four-year-old Kimiya MacCorquo­dale con­grat­u­lates her mother, Maryam, on her grad­u­a­tion and her award from SAMS UHI.

The BSc Marine Sci­ence grad­u­ates with Prof Keith David­son, Associate di­rec­tor for ed­u­ca­tion, UHI deputy prin­ci­pal Prof Crich­ton Lang, and Ar­gyll and Bute MSP Michael Rus­sell.

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