Biology student becomes first to win Oxford University Press award at UCLan

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) Biology team have awarded its first ever Oxford University Press (OUP) Achievement in Biosciences Prize, which is worth £150 of OUP books.

Second year BSc (Hons) Biology student Sara Sheikh scooped the prize, after she achieved excellent results across the board in her first year, with outstanding marks in cell biology.

The UCLan Biology teaching team were unanimous in their decision about who to nominate as the best performing student in 2017-18 (chosen from across all three academic years of study).

Sara’s tutors also praised her exceptional conduct, and support for other students in her class. The prize will ultimately help Sara to progress even further, and she believes that winning the award will could make her stand out more when she graduates.

“The award is something I will definitely add to my CV,” she said. “The prize is such a huge amount of money and OUP books are prestigious, so being able to buy my own books will greatly assist with my revision. 

“We have already started considering our third year dissertation, so the OUP books could help to give me an idea for my proposal.

“Although the first year at UCLan doesn’t contribute towards my final degree result, I still think it is always important to try and do my best. Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised when I received the email during summer informing me of my nomination, and I felt a little overwhelmed to be presented with such an esteemed award for my efforts.”

This prize shows that hard work and determination are rewarded at UCLan, and should act as an incentive for all of the students on the course as they embark on the new academic year.

Sara also praised the University and the Biology teaching team, who she believes have helped her in achieving her excellent performance in her first year.

“UCLan is a university built on the foundations of many excellent staff,” she continued. “I truly believe that I would not have succeeded in my first year had it not been for the support of all my tutors who delivered such interesting lectures, and the help that they gave me throughout the year.

“They are all so approachable and open to talk with, which I feel gave me further confidence whilst I was working on my assignments and during ongoing exam revision.”

The Head of the School of Forensic and Applied Sciences (FAS) at UCLan, Professor Michael Mulqueen, presented Sara with her award in front of her classmates at the start of this academic year.

BSc (Hons) Biology student Sara Sheikh and Professor Michael Mulqueen.
BSc (Hons) Biology student Sara Sheikh and Professor Michael Mulqueen.

“The School was delighted to present the prize to Sara who clearly excelled in her first year Biology studies,” he stated. “It sends out a clear message that students who go that extra mile in their studies can be rewarded.

“In Sara’s case it’s so pleasing that her prize – coming, as it does from Oxford University Press – will look great on her CV. Student employability is a key priority of the school so marrying academic achievement with reward makes perfect sense. 

“It was great to see all her classmates back for another year too. We welcome each and every one of them and recognise how progressing from one academic year to another is, as and of itself, a big achievement.”

The School of Forensic and Applied Sciences and the Biology teaching team at UCLan would like to thank Oxford University Press (OUP) for supplying Sara’s Achievement in Biosciences Prize certificate and £150 worth of OUP books of her choice. OUP has given out over £18,000 in book prizes to biology students in UK universities since introducing the prize in 2006.