No Freudian slips for student Psychology Awards winners

Date 20.08.2021

The University of Northampton’s (UON) annual Psychology Awards for students and recent graduates have been announced.

The awards recognise the achievements of those who have progressed the most with their studies as undergraduates, have overcome an impediment to their academic careers or have gone above and beyond to support their fellow students. The winners and citations for 2021 are:

BPS Undergraduate Award. Winner: Cai Onraet. This goes to the student with the highest overall score across all Society accredited programmes at UON. Cai Onraet will receive a certificate, a copy of a Society award winning book and one years’ free Society membership.

Cai has just finished his final year and will start a Master’s in Applied Psychology at UON in the autumn. He said: “I am very grateful to have been given this award as I feel that my hard work has been acknowledged. I have loved my time studying psychology and have appreciated the opportunity to learn about human behaviour and functioning from drastically different perspectives.”

Graham Mitchell Award. Winner: Valentina Diaconu. This is awarded to a final year student who has gone above and beyond their degree, enthusing others about psychology, widening psychology participation within the local community or by leading activities which enhance the student voice. Valentina wins for her class participation, collaborative work with staff to enhance practice and contribution to the recent Psychology Research Conference. She receives a certificate and a £20 Amazon voucher.

Valentina (pictured second from left) starts her PhD with UON this September and is also a Graduate Teaching Assistant at the University. She said: “I want to express my sincere gratitude for this award and for the exceptional support the University has given me. I can honestly say this degree changed my life and my undergraduate journey was the best I have had. Because of my time at UON, I strive to be a better human by providing support to others.

“Nobody thrives by themselves as there is always a ‘safety net’ team. Thank you UON Psychology for being my safety net!”

Kevin Buchanan Award. Winner: Shreya Reddy. This award is given to students who show great resilience and high achievements despite overcoming personal difficulties or facing other boundaries during this time. Shreya continued to go above and beyond her degree in supporting students as an active Student Advocate and mentor. This is despite Covid-19 restrictions that forced her to complete her final year in India as she was unable to travel to the UK. Shreya also receives a certificate and a £20 Amazon voucher.

Shreya (pictured second from right) graduated this July with a first class degree in Psychology and Business. She added: “Receiving this award was completely unexpected and an unfathomable honour! I feel extremely grateful my efforts have been recognised by the UON Psychology community.

“This isn’t just because of my passion for the subject but is thanks to the continuous support from the academic time during difficult times this past year. They truly helped me remain resilient in my studies as well as my duties as a student advocate. Also, kudos to the team and students for making studying seem so much fun that nothing ever felt like a task!”

John L. Randall Memorial Award. Joint winners: Freya Thomson and Cai Onraet. This award is given to the highest grade and original essay achieved in the third-year module ‘Parapsychology & Anomalous Experiences’. Randall was a biologist and parapsychologist who gained recognition for his book ‘Parapsychology and the Nature of Life’. He spent several years attending UON’s EECS research meetings and held discussions here about parapsychology.

Freya said of her award win: “Receiving the John L. Randall Memorial Award is a great honour and I am grateful to all those involved with choosing the recipients of such an award. Most of all, I feel the award represents the triumph achieved by this year’s students and our capabilities when faced with adversity.

“I believe Psychology to be a path of understanding. It has been an incredible opportunity to learn about ourselves and others. I hope many people continue to find Psychology and the possibilities, hope and empathy it breeds.”

Commendations: Amy Walsh and Ellen Packham. This year, the team also sent commendation certificates to Amy Walsh and Ellen Packham for their worked establishing the UON Psychology Society. Both ensured that the Society is active with successful events, meetings and a visible presence within the wider Students’ Union’s society work.

Dr Kimberley Hill, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, said: “Congratulations to the award winners and those who were nominated. Despite ongoing pandemic challenges, the quality of the nominations and work carried out by our students is excellent.

“Many have gone beyond what is usually expected from us with supporting their fellow students, working collaboratively with staff on impactful research, widening participation or dissemination activities and in representing their peers and enhancing the student voice. The lecturing team and I wish them all the best in their futures.”

Find out more about Psychology (BSc) at the University of Northampton.