Despite battling mental illness, University of Leeds student Natasha Pickard received a national social mobility award for her great academic performance. The award was handed to Natasha, who just finished her second year of study in financial mathematics, by upReach, a nonprofit organization that collaborates with businesses and educational institutions to help poor students realize their potential and find jobs.
The University Of Leeds Receives National Acclaim
Balancing Job and Responsibilities
Natasha has achieved incredible things while juggling her part-time job and childcare responsibilities. She presented the findings of her research at a global conference after receiving financing from Laidlaw. Later, she was employed by the university’s Deputy Vice Chancellor for Student Education.
Natasha completed her schooling after being interrupted, and after her son Oscar was born, she made the decision to enrol in higher education at the University of Leeds. “Since pursuing this degree, I’ve had a snowball effect of good things happen to me,” Natasha remarked.
“I was really fortunate to be able to study mathematics at a fantastic university that was close to me and my family. I developed greater self-awareness and motivation than ever before, and I learned how to request help when I needed it. The support provided at Leeds is incredible and has undoubtedly really aided me.”
Leeds’ Plus Programme
She was able to enrol in Leeds’ Plus Programme, which aids UK fee-paying students from underrepresented backgrounds in higher education. Disability Services at Leeds, which removes obstacles for students with any needs, also offered assistance.
Natasha added, “I had incredible support from the Disability Services, who assigned me a professional mentor. They kept my mental health under control and kept me from burning out.” She was particularly appreciative of the Lifelong Learning Centre for giving her access to a peaceful study area and the chance to connect with other students who had other obligations.
What does the Faculty say?
“Having support from upReach and finally believing in myself and realising my full potential has been wonderful,” Natasha continued. “Winning this award propels me towards the freedom of choice I hope to achieve for both myself and my family as well as opening up further opportunities for me to have a positive influence on the world around me,” the winner said.
Following her selection as a finalist in the TargetJobs Undergraduate of the Year 2022 Excellence through Adversity category, Rolls Royce, the competition’s sponsor, gave Natasha an internship. Natasha is an amazing talent, and Professor Jeff Grabill, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Student Education at the University of Leeds, said: “Her academic accomplishments amply indicate her potential and reflect how hard she works.”