Undergraduate Dissertation Prize 2019

Photograph of Cherylyn WaiteCongratulations to Cherylyn Waite, the recipient of the Undergraduate Dissertation Prize 2019, who was presented with her award by Professor Elizabeth Wood during the School of Education graduation reception.

Cherylyn’s dissertation was nominated for the award by Dr Andrey Rosowsky, who commented,
“[Cherylyn’s dissertation is] an outstanding piece of work ... From its powerful opening pages to the succinct and understated implications at the end, this dissertation, in turn, provokes, disturbs, moves and engages the reader in a manner few dissertations at this level do. Whilst reading, I felt I had been given a window into a hidden world of struggle, discomfort and pain, marvellously and expertly evoked by the writer. As a teacher in a university, the issues revealed in this dissertation have certainly moved me into thinking about how to take them into account when managing courses and teaching students. Notwithstanding this quality to disrupt the reader – which would probably be enough to warrant the prize on its own – the dissertation is also outstanding for its engaging and honest writing style, its impressive handling of relevant theory and literature and its precise and thorough research design.
I have no hesitation, and no doubt, in nominating “It happened behind closed doors” as the winner of the BA Dissertation Prize for 2018-19.”

On receiving her awards, Cherylyn said,
“I feel extremely proud to have won the School of Education Undergraduate Dissertation Prize 2019. My dissertation focused on the lived experiences of a group of university students with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), an auto-immune condition affecting parts of the digestive system. This topic had particular personal meaning given I have IBD myself and I was keen to accurately capture participants memories to do justice to their struggles, emotions and coping mechanisms. Using a life history approach, I collated data probing how students negotiated IBD in the competitive, neoliberal environment of modern universities. My analysis revealed how students with IBD can feel shame at having a socially stigmatised bowel condition and how their symptoms impacted various aspects of their university experience. To have my work acknowledged by others via receiving this prize was a huge confidence boost and reassured me this topic was worthy of scrutiny and attention.

Moving forwards, I hope to continue my research into how IBD impacts the educational pathways and achievement of those affected. I have successfully secured a place on a MA Disability Studies course beginning in the upcoming year and feel this is a positive next step towards fulfilling my goal. The BA (Hons) Education, Culture and Childhood course has given me a strong grounding in studying at a higher level and has fuelled my desire to transform my own difficult life experiences into a scholarly good. Ultimately, I hope to carve a meaningful career supporting young people with chronic illnesses, such as IBD, to achieve their educational capabilities.”

We wish Cherylyn all the very best in pursuing her interests and look forward to hearing more about the developments in her research.