First Trust Bank Convocation Undergraduate Student of the Year award
Award made to an undergraduate student who has demonstrated significant personal achievement or a substantial contribution to University life.
2019 Winner: James Gibson
Over the past four years James has demonstrated not only his capacity for hard work but also his resilience and willingness to help others; despite having faced a number of personal challenges. Throughout his student journey he has raised significant amounts of money for good causes and has worked tirelessly alongside academic staff to improve the student experience on the Belfast campus; taking a lead role in the Student Society and becoming a Student Representative. In his third year he undertook a prestigious placement in New York City.
Returning to his final year studies in September 2018 James had to contend with a pre-existing health problem resulting in him undergoing surgery in the second semester and being wheelchair reliant for a number of weeks. During this time James observed and experienced the challenges of wheelchair access on Belfast campus. Not willing to let an opportunity to enhance the student experience for disabled students pass him by, he used his voice as a Senior Student Representative to seek and implement improvements to the learning experience, particularly for those permanently less able than he was.
The words to describe the elements of James' disposition are numerous but, extraordinary resilience, a kind heart and a continuous willingness to help others, even when under extreme pressure, is a good attempt at understanding the strength of James' character. He leaves Ulster University having given a significant amount of his time to enhance the lives of others and raising the profile of the University locally, nationally and internationally.