Futures Fund ensures that Gary gets his first

Gary White received support from the Futures Fund during his final year of University.

Gary studied on the BSc (Hons) Physiological Sciences programme during his time at the University of Sunderland and received numerous academic accolades.

During Gary’s first year of study he was awarded with the ‘Oxford University Press Achievement in Biosciences Prize 2016-17’ and in his second year of study Gary received the ‘Undergraduate Microbiology Prize 2018’.

During his time at the University of Sunderland Gary was an exemplary student and applied for funding during his final year to help support himself financially and to enable him to focus on his studies.

Gary told us why he chose to study Physiological Sciences, “The course provided me with a broad and comprehensive understanding of human biology and the biomedical sciences – ranging from the study of the gastrointestinal, respiratory, nervous and cardiovascular systems, to the molecular basis of disease, clinical microbiology and histopathology. Not only was it academic interest that made me pursue this particular degree, but it was also personal interest - having experienced illness first-hand in my family, I became fascinated with the science of medicine and how the body functions both as a whole and at the level of individual cells. I’m now very proud to say that I will be graduating from the programme in July with a First-class honours!  This is something that would not have been possible without the help I received from the Futures Fund.”

Gary received support from the Futures Fund and explained how he used the funding to enable him to excel in his final year. “Thanks to the money I received, I have been able to live in my own apartment and complete my final year of university without having to take up employment, with all of my expenditures and living costs covered by the scholarship. Having this financial freedom has meant I have been able to focus solely on my studies and commit all of my time to exam revision and the completion of module coursework. I was particularly thankful of this during the January 2019 examination period when I had three three-hour essay-style exams to sit and take. This was such a stressful and mentally draining period for me which would have only been exacerbated by the additional financial pressures that were alleviated by receiving the scholarship. I am happy to report that through my hard work and determination, I achieved a first in every single piece of coursework (one even 100%!) and in all of my exams. In fact, I was notified I was even the highest achiever in several of the modules!”

Looking toward the future, Gary has thought about his next steps after completing his undergraduate degree. “By receiving the scholarship, I have had the opportunity to also undertake extra-curricular activities. This includes taking up the role of student representative, as well as going on work experience to gain a real insight into the professional routes I could take following graduation. For instance, in my application for this scholarship, I mentioned how I wanted to pursue a career as a physicians associate in the NHS. However, by having the time to go out and explore this area of work on placement in a GP practice, I came to the conclusion that this was not in fact the role for me. Instead, a recent experience of working with A-level students upon their visit to the University re-ignited a lifelong ambition to be a teacher. I have subsequently submitted my application to study a PGCE in the Post-Compulsory Education and Training (PCET) sector, and I am hoping to secure a place for September. Looking further ahead, at some point I would also like to pursue a Master’s degree in Microbiology or Human Physiology as I would love the opportunity to further my knowledge and skills in these areas.

I would like to finish by mentioning some exciting news which I have just discovered upon the writing of this report. Following nomination by my programme leader, I am beyond happy to state that I am going to be awarded the Physiological Society ‘Undergraduate Prize in Physiology 2019’! This achievement, along with attaining a first in my degree, would not have been achievable without the support from the scholarship, and more specifically, without the generosity of the Futures Fund donors. It is because of their help that I have been able to reach my full academic potential and leave university as a professional, highly qualified graduate, and for that, I’m truly thankful.”

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