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Joanna’s on top of the world

17 July 2013

Jamie Barnes

Tourism student scoops prize for top performing student

Pictured: Joanna Kipps celebrating her graduation from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).  

A Rhos-on-Sea student has many reasons to celebrate after winning a prize for academic excellence and graduating with a first-class degree from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

International tourism management student Joanna Kipps overcame a debilitating illness in her second year, followed by a close family bereavement at the end of her final year to scoop the prestigious Victor Middleton award for the best performing student on the course.

The 22-year-old said: “It was hard at times, especially when I suffered a family bereavement during a crucial time at the end of my final year. However, I am so proud to be graduating with a First and to win the Victor Middleton award. I must thank my course leader, Carley Sutton. She was so supportive and I wouldn’t have achieved what I have without her.”

The former Eirias High School pupil took full advantage of the opportunities to travel abroad to help her undergraduate studies.

“I enjoyed my time at UCLan immensely and especially the opportunities to study overseas. Part of the reason I was attracted to UCLan was the year in industry aspect and I spent a brilliant year’s placement at Disneyworld, Florida.”

Joanna said: “I enjoyed my time at UCLan immensely and especially the opportunities to study overseas. Part of the reason I was attracted to UCLan was the year in industry aspect and I spent a brilliant year’s placement at Disneyworld, Florida. I gained important professional experience, got involved in all areas of the business, but I also really grew as a person and matured whilst I was away.”

She added: “I also visited New York to study and spent time in Cambodia working with the Green Gecko charity UCLan are affiliated with. Despite some tough times, I was determined to take advantage of these fantastic opportunities and I am so happy I did.”

Her proud parents and sister watched her graduate from the UCLan School of Sport, Tourism and the Outdoors in Preston’s Guild Hall and she now plans to take a well-earned break from academia to travel around South East Asia, before returning to the UK to study for her PGCE.