Rising star honoured for commitment to University project

A dedicated school pupil has scooped a national award in recognition of his commitment to an innovative learning project launched by the University of Sheffield.

Award winner Christopher Oldfield

Christopher Oldfield, 18, from St Mary's RC High School in Chesterfield was crowned Most Active Mentee at the glittering Brightlinks Ementoring Awards last week (Thursday 17 January 2013).

Christopher joined the University of Sheffield's aspiration-raising Access to Dental Occupations-Practice and Tutoring (ADOPT) scheme in December 2011 in a bid to realise his dream of becoming a dentist.

ADOPT is a two year programme for Year 12 pupils who are interested in a career in the field of Dentistry, as a dentist, hygienist or therapist.

National award winnersDuring the scheme pupils are paired with e-mentors, who are current undergraduates in Dentistry, giving them the opportunity to learn all about the academic subject they are interested in and how to achieve their dream career.

Christopher was given the special award for his proactive engagement with his mentor, dental student Thomas Evans, 23, because of his regular communication, enthusiasm and for actively following up on his mentor's advice.

"E-mentoring has allowed me to investigate dentistry further from a knowledgeable student's background," said Christopher.

"The ADOPT scheme has been an excellent opportunity to experience the fundamentals of dentistry first hand such as scaling, amalgam fillings in the phantom head models, sutures and tooth extraction. This incredible insight has given me confidence that I have chosen the correct career path and will be happy.

"The e-mentoring scheme has proven to be extremely motivational throughout my A-Level studies. There is always somebody to talk to, and it makes you realise that any difficulties you may be having will have been experienced by many others before."

Christopher was one of five finalists in the running for the award presented by Brightlinks, a charitable organisation that provides mentoring schemes nationwide.

"Being nominated for this award was completely unexpected and winning is the icing on the cake," said Christopher.

"To me though the real award is the advice and inspiration I have already received through e-mentoring. I must say a massive thank you to my mentor, Tom, and all at the ADOPT team.

"Over the last few years I have learnt a great deal and have a much greater appreciation of dentistry at university level and as a career. This has greatly fuelled my desire to be a dentist."

Rising starADOPT mentor Thomas said: "I have been part of the e-mentor scheme for just under two years now. Chris was actually my first mentee and he has been the most enthusiastic and curious about all aspects of Dentistry.

"When you get to university there's a tendency to forget how confusing it was to apply so it is nice to help someone through that."

The aim of the ADOPT programme is to encourage students from backgrounds which are underrepresented in higher education, and provide support and guidance through a range of exciting activities and events. The University's Outreach Team helps them to overcome barriers, such as being the first generation of their immediate family to study at university or personal circumstances, which might discourage them from applying to higher education.

Outreach Activities Officer, David Broomby, said: "E-mentoring is a valuable component of the work we do with young people to raise their aspirations and to fulfil their potential to study at the highest level. It gives young people who take part a great opportunity to engage in a secure discussion at a convenient time with a current undergraduate mentor who is experiencing university first hand.

"Mentors act as role models and share their experiences of higher education. Conversations range from choices and routes into higher education, careers options and general encouragement.

"Both mentors and mentees find taking part very beneficial and this is demonstrated by Chris's his high level of commitment in winning the 'Most Active Mentee' Award."

Additional information

University of Sheffield Outreach
The University of Sheffield is fully committed to encouraging young children to achieve their full potential, irrespective of their backgrounds. The University’s Outreach Team has a long history of working with schools, colleges and community groups to widen participation to Higher Education and wants to make a real difference to the lives of people in our region. As a result, much of the work the team does targets schools and colleges in South Yorkshire and the neighbouring areas to deliver a broad programme of centrally managed pre-entry activity, working with a vast age range of students, from Year 5 upwards.
For more information visit Outreach

For more information visit Brightlinks

The University of Sheffield
With nearly 25,000 students from 125 countries, the University of Sheffield is one of the UK’s leading and largest universities. A member of the Russell Group, it has a reputation for world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines. The University of Sheffield was named University of the Year in the Times Higher Education Awards 2011 for its exceptional performance in research, teaching, access and business performance. In addition, the University has won four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes (1998, 2000, 2002, and 2007).

These prestigious awards recognise outstanding contributions by universities and colleges to the United Kingdom’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life. Sheffield also boasts five Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and many of its alumni have gone on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence around the world. The University’s research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, Boots, AstraZeneca, GSK, ICI, Slazenger, and many more household names, as well as UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.

The University has well-established partnerships with a number of universities and major corporations, both in the UK and abroad. Its partnership with Leeds and York Universities in the White Rose Consortium has a combined research power greater than that of either Oxford or Cambridge.


For further information please contact:

Amy Pullan
Media Relations Officer
The University of Sheffield
0114 222 9859