This morning’s ceremony will be a dream come true for Helen Savage from Portaferry.
As well as graduating from the University of Ulster with a BSc Hons Social Policy, Helen, who suffers from a mild form of cerebral palsy, has won the George Mitchell Memorial Prize, awarded annually for the most outstanding dissertation, which will also be presented to her today.
>> Click here for full list of University of Ulster graduations July 5 2012
Helen said: “I was born with mild cerebral palsy, which means I take longer to complete tasks and compared to my peers, I tire more quickly.
“I’ve always dreamed about graduating from university and haven’t let my disability stop me from achieving my goals.
“From day one, the support has been invaluable. I had classroom assistance throughout secondary school, so starting university was a daunting experience.
“However, with the help of Student Support Services, it became an enjoyable one not only academically, but also socially.”
She added: “I am delighted to also receive the George Mitchell Memorial Prize. My dissertation aimed to identify the main barriers which carers face and also to explore what support is in place for carers in helping them to fulfil their caring role.
“I have always wanted to work with people and have a career which would make a difference to people's lives.”