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Global prize for SEED student’s work on women’s literacy

(14 December 2017)

Farhana Choudhury was a global winner in the ‘education’ category at the Undergraduate Awards, an international competition described as ‘the junior Nobel Prize’ which is entered by thousands of students from around the world.

Farhana’s entry was a paper investigating how women in Asia are using literacy as a way of protecting their families from disease and poor living standards. She was honoured for her achievement, alongside other participants from the University, at a ceremony on 5 December.

Farhana used statistics and official reports to find out about how women were learning to read and write in Asia so that they could access healthcare information and knowledge relevant to their social realities, and improve their lives.

Farhana was studying an undergraduate degree in BA (Hons) English Language for Education at the time of the project and has now progressed to a master’s degree MEd Psychology of Education. 

She said: “I didn’t know much about these countries when I started my project but I wanted to find out how, in societies which are often male-dominated, women are using literacy to improve their lives and the ways in which literacy provides them with empowerment and freedom that they have been denied.

“My lecturer, Dr Susie Miles, was incredibly supportive and I spent a lot of time in the library using the resources there. There is a lot of emphasis put on research in this university and I really like that as I fully believe in the power research has to make the world a better place for those around us.”

The University also had ten highly commended entrants in the Undergraduate Awards this year who, along with Farhana, beat off competition from thousands of their peers around the world.

Professor Clive Agnew, Vice-President for Teaching, Learning and Students, said: “This global award is a great achievement for Farhana and richly deserved.

“At the University we believe that we have to do our utmost to help support talented students like her to realise their potential. Building skills to research the subjects that they are passionate about is a very important part of that process.”