Maryam Taher, a first year Biomedical Sciences student at the University of York, was praised as “inspirational” at this year’s National BTEC Awards upon winning both an award for BTEC Student of the Year in Science and Overall.
FE Week reports that Maryam was congratulated on her “well-earned success” by Rod Bristow, the President of Pearson UK, who said that she “exemplifies the dedicated students across the country who have been helped to make progress in their lives and careers through BTEC”
Maryam, a refugee originally from Iraq, was “extremely humbled” by her award, said “it was amazing knowing that my teachers nominated me and then the judging panel chose me among so many incredible students – it was rewarding.”
Reflecting on her experience in the British education system with Vision, Maryam said “When I joined high school in year 9 it was quite challenging for me to catch up and I was worried about having to sit my GCSE exams knowing very basic English.
“My year 11 my English had improved as I progressed through my studies and got great support from teachers
“BTEC level 2 science was introduced to us and I chose to take it in high school and then carried it on to college, I learnt students can go into a wide variety of fields and degrees with BTEC applied science and I wanted to have the extensive practical experience BTEC offers.”
Maryam added: “I also liked that it combined all three sciences and was an extended diploma therefore well respected by universities.”
Maryam is one of three student who were able to benefit from the Equal Access Scholarship introduced by the University of York. The scholarship, which is funded by York Alumni, was set up in response to Europe’s ongoing refugee crisis.
On her scholarship, Maryam said ““This is an amazing opportunity for me. The scholarship is life-changing as it has given me an amazing opportunity to continue my education and pursue my dreams.
“Everyone is treated the same, there are no differences between us. I feel at home and welcomed by everyone.”
On graduation, Taher plans to specialise in haematology, studying, diagnosing and monitoring different blood disorders, with a special interest in Leukaemia Research.
Koen Lamberts, University of York Vice Chancellor, said “We are facing a major refugee crisis in Europe and the University of York will play its part in providing a safe and secure environment for displaced people to study, research and prosper.”
Lambert said “Our commitment to helping asylum seekers reflects the university’s core values of justice and equality.”
“We are facing a major refugee crisis in Europe and the University of York will play its part in providing a safe and secure environment for displaced people to study, research and prosper.”
With the help of York Alumni, the Equal Access Scholarship has been expanded this year, so now 5 students can study at the university with wavered fees and a bursary. To help fund future scholarships for students from conflict area like Maryam, check out the University’s Giving Page.