Top Academic Awards for Orkney’s Thorfinn Rosie and Martha Johnson

Two Orkney College UHI students have been named as overall winners of the University of the Highlands and Islands higher education and postgraduate student of the year awards.  Both students were chosen from entries across the university’s thirteen individual academic partners.

Thorfinn Rosie from Kirkwall, received the higher education student of the year in recognition of his outstanding academic achievement and personal resilience. Thorfinn who had been employed as a joiner in the construction industry, had to re-evaluate his employment opportunities due to personal circumstances. He researched the possibilities available to him and despite having not followed an academic path previously, enrolled at the university to study business. He has graduated with a first class BA Business and Management (honours) degree.

UHI Graduation Orkney Thorfin Rosie

(left to right) Professor Edward Abbott-Halpin Principal at Orkney College UHI, Thorfinn Rosie overall winner higher education student of the year 2019, Professor Neil Simco Vice-Principal (Research and Impact) University of the Highlands and Islands

Thorfinn said:

 “I feel very proud to be receiving this award. It has been hard work at times, but overall an enjoyable experience studying for the last four years, and I cannot praise the support I received at Orkney College UHI enough. Being able to stay in Orkney and study through the connected University of the Highlands and Islands network was a huge bonus and suited my circumstances. I am now looking forward to the future and to being back in full time employment”.

Mandy Smith, Curriculum Leader, Business Studies at Orkney College UHI, praised his determination and dedication:

“Thorfinn made an incredible effort to prepare for his studies. He made good use of the months prior to starting by taking an open learning study and student skills courses, to ensure he was as prepared as possible.”

“He has achieved academic success in a subject that was totally new to him and he did not let his personal challenges prevent him from being successful. He is an inspiration to everyone, that is considering a career change.”

UHI Orkney graduation Martha Johnson

(left to right) Professor Edward Abbott-Halpin Principal at Orkney College UHI, Martha Johnson overall winner postgraduate student of the year 2019, Professor Neil Simco Vice-Principal (Research and Impact) University of the Highlands and Islands

Martha Johnson received the postgraduate student of the year in recognition of her transformative academic achievement and her contribution’s made to archaeology of Orkney, and in particular to the Ness of Brodgar, despite mobility isues. Martha came to archaeological research later in life, undertaking her PhD in her late sixties. She did not let these challanges stand in the way of her studies.

Martha said:

“I am extremely honoured to receive this award. I have had a wonderful time as a student at the university’s Archaeology Institute, and it has been a privilege to work on the Ness of Brodgar project. I have been made to feel most welcomed and valued. It was such a fantastic opportunity to work with the people that have written the books that I have read.”

Ingrid Mainland, Curriculum Leader of Archeology said:

“I nominated Martha for this award for her unfailing positivity throughout her studies and her dedication to complete within the four year registration.”

“She has contributed immensely to the Ness of Brodgar project. Her contagious enthusiasm for her research area and her presence on site has brought great benefit to the staff and students in the university’s Archaeology Institute, as well as the wider community both in Scotland and internationally. She exemplifies the principles of life-long learning and demonstrates that it can be undertaken at any stage of life.”

Professor Crichton Lang, University of the Highlands and Islands Principal and Vice-Chancellor (Interim) remarked on the awarding of the overall student of the year awards to the graduates;

“The university is proud of all students who have received accolades in addition to their academic awards this year. These prizes and other awards of recognition are notable achievements for the students, and often reflect not just their own academic and other endeavors, but also the support they have been given by their lecturers and supporting staff, family and friends.”

“Thorfinn and Martha’s particular achievements show us that no matter what your circumstances are, learning is accessible. I am proud that we can offer flexible ways of studying to allow our students to fit learning into their individual life situations. I wish both Thorfinn and Martha every success in their future professional and academic activities.”

Orkney College

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