University Centre Leeds student Ellen Hudson-Barrett

STEM degree joy for female students

Female students are celebrating achieving some amazing results in STEM degree courses at University Centre Leeds.

There were plenty of high performers, among all genders, graduating in the fields of Biomedical Sciences, Computing, Engineering, Cyber Security, and Computer Games this year.

The success of female students was particularly notable, with nearly two thirds (60%) achieving a First Class Honours degree and 91% successfully completing their studies.

Some of the highest STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) achievers were studying in digital fields such as cyber security, networks and applied computing.

Amazing results show progress is being made

Dean of Higher Education at University Centre Leeds, Janet Faulkner, said: “We have had amazing results from all of our STEM degree students and it is particularly heartening to see how female students have been excelling in these courses.

“The push to achieve more equal representation in STEM subjects at all levels of education continues but results like these show how much progress is being made.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming more students, of all genders, in this year and sharing our expertise with them and supporting them as they embark on their chosen degrees.”

Head of HE Digital/STEM at University Centre Leeds, Tim Balmforth, echoed those sentiments as he sang the praises of some of the exceptional new graduates.

Top Performers

They included Heather Timmins who gained a First Class degree on the BSc (Hons) Applied Computing top-up course after completing a Foundation Degree in the same subject.

Tim said: “Heather was very creative and passionate about web development, and produced one of the best final year dissertations in many years on the influence of web design on e-commerce.

“Ellen Hudson-Barrett was another high performer and progressed from level 3 at Technology Campus, through our Foundation Degree, to gain a First Class degree on the BSc (Hons) Cyber Security and Networks. 

“Ellen has worked in sales and finance while studying on the HE courses and is now looking to move into teaching.  She has enrolled on the PGCE course at University Centre Leeds and will be doing her placement here with us.”

Excellent support and amazing opportunities

Ellen added: “I have been studying at UC Leeds and Leeds City College, where I also completed my L3 in Computer Science and Networking, for the last five years.

“The support I have received from my tutors throughout has been excellent. They gave me the reassurance and confidence I needed to achieve the best of my ability.

“Having completed the final year of my degree during the pandemic, I was worried that this was going to have an enormous impact on my grade.

“However, my tutors continued with their guidance and support remotely which allowed me to focus and have the resources I needed to complete my coursework.

“I have really enjoyed my time with the college and the university centre and feel they have not only helped me with my academic achievements but have provided an environment where I could develop and grow my confidence in my professional and personal life.

“I have been offered some amazing opportunities to fulfil my career goals and aspirations and am now studying for my PGCE through the college, with the hope of becoming a Higher and Further Education lecturer in the coming years.”

Overcoming additional challenges

Other students managed to overcome a number of tough challenges, on top of the pandemic, en route to securing their degrees. Those included language barriers, demanding job and family commitments and, in one case, having to study for part of their course – due to lockdown – while being stuck on the other side of the world.

There is a national shortage of STEM skills which the government has recognised – and it acknowledges that a continuing under-representation of women is exacerbating the problem.

But it also notes that, as this year’s results at University Centre Leeds demonstrate, there is cause for optimism.

The government’s The Education Hub site states: “In higher education, the picture for women in STEM looks bright. Between 2011 and 2020, the number of women accepted onto full-time STEM undergraduate courses increased by 50.1% in the UK. Within the same period, the proportion of women entering full-time undergraduate courses taking STEM subjects increased from 33.6% to 41.4%.”

University Centre Leeds is still accepting applications for courses that start in September, 2021. Click here for more details.