Inspiring Graduate receives first Lesley Charman Prize


Anthropology graduate, Laura Yates, has been awarded the inaugural Lesley Carman Prize for her outstanding commitment to study and her support, encouragement and inspiration to her fellow students and peers.

Pic: Emma Jayne Abbots, Sophie Hammer, Dominic Charman, Laura Yates, Andy Charman, Joshua Charman and Derek Moore

Laura graduated today at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) ceremony held at the Lampeter campus.

Laura first came to UWTSD through the Gateway programme that aims to provide access to Higher education for students.  “I originally started my UWTSD journey through the Gateway course as I felt stifled and bored. I had always achieved well academically and felt that an access course would give me a taster before committing to the time and cost of a full time degree.

“The Gateway course did just that, the first half introduced you to one subject on offer at Lampeter in the humanities a week along with study skills. There were a few subjects that I did which sparked my interest such as Medieval Studies and Archaeology. Anthropology was the last taster course, and I completely fell in love with the subject, even though I had never heard of it beforehand! The lecturer, Luci Attala also had this energy and passion for her subject that it was intoxicating, she was very relatable and i knew she could keep my attention on the subject.  I was invited onto a degree program following on from my engagement with the Gateway course, and opted for Anthropology as I knew it was the right degree for me.”

“There are so many experiences that came directly from studying Anthropology, the main one was the opportunity to spend time with the 'LOVE ZIMBABWE' charity.  I spent 5 weeks building keyhole gardens during August 2016.  I was able to do this as UWTSD offer bursaries which helped with the cost.  As a mature student who lived off campus in their own home, money was always an issue, but the bursary made it possible.

“I also made a lot of friends on my course, there were people from all sorts of different background and ages, but we all got on like a house on fire.  University as a whole also introduced me to other options within the campus, for example I was an INSPIRE intern helping the University identify sustainable options whilst problem solving other areas the University could improve on.  I also applied to be a Student Ambassador, helping with Open Days and campus tours to new or prospective students. I really enjoyed the role as I love Lampeter campus and could show off all its beautiful aspects and why it is a great place to study.  I was also a Leader in the University’s Peer Assisted Study Scheme (PASS) which provides peer assisted learning for students in years below.

“I also became heavily involved with Trinity Saint David Student's Union, I lived a fair but commutable distance to campus, and the SU helped me find more ways to feel a part of the student community. I was determined to take advantage of every opportunity and relish my time as a student. With the Students’ Union I was elected Mature and Postgraduate Part Time Officer in my first year, and Student Engagement Part Time officer in my second year. I also put myself forward to be a course rep for my subject, which led to me becoming a Faculty Rep in my third year representing the student body at Faculty meetings. The Students’ Union is amazing at putting on events that appeal for everyone and is a great way to meet new people and learn about democracy.”

And Laura says that the course has helped her with her career.  “I applied for a full time staff role advertised through the Students’ Union in February this year. I was successful and appointed to the post where I went full time this June after completing my degree as Carmarthen Campus' Student Engagement Officer.”

Currently I am focusing on my role with the Students’ Union and hope to raise my skills further with training offered through them for the next 2-3 years. Ultimately I do not wish to waste my result of a 1st Class Honours degree and intend in the near future to study a Masters degree in Anthropology part time in parallel to my current role.”

“During my entire studies I also worked. I would like to get across to prospective students that you can do a full-time degree, embrace all the opportunities that the Uni and the SU offer, commute to campus and hold down a job if you are good at time management. You really can do it all!”

Course Tutor, Emma Jayne Abbots added:  “Laura is an active and engaged student, who has contributed much to the student body and her peers as a Staff-Student Committee Representative. She is active in class discussions and is an encouraging classmate to others. She’s critically engaged, always has something to offer in seminars and workshops, and is well prepared for classes. As a mature student, her work has developed as she has progressed and she has sought out and actively taken on feedback. She has dealt with the return to study and dyslexia admirably in order to make a significant contribution. Her dissertation was excellent (a first), as is the rest of the work, and is the result of sheer hard work and tenacity. She has consistently demonstrated integrity and the capacity to speak up on matters that reflect her personal values of social justice and curiosity about the world and people around her.  In short, Laura embodies what Leslie and this prize stands for, and it would be fitting to make its first award to an anthropologist who worked closely with Leslie and actively supported her as she became increasingly ill.”

The Lesley Charman Prize was awarded for the first time this year following the tragic and untimely death of Lesley Charman, a beloved student and friend, at the beginning of the year.  Her contribution to the University and the Students’ Union was significant and her loss is keenly felt across the Lampeter campus.  Lesley received a posthumous award at the Ceremony today.