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Queen's University Belfast hands free education to 10 of Northern Ireland's brightest students

Scholarships worth around £150,000 a year to recipients

By Joanne Fleming

Queen's University Belfast is offering free education to 10 of Northern Ireland's brightest young minds as part of a major new scholarship scheme.

The students have been selected as inaugural Queen's Scholars and, starting this month, will have their annual tuition fees paid by the university for the duration of their undergraduate degree.

The awards are worth almost £150,000 to the winning students, who were selected out of 138 students nominated by 74 Northern Ireland schools and colleges.

Each school or college was asked to nominate those pupils who could demonstrate exceptional achievements outside academic life, or through community work, with a particular focus on leadership, enterprise and social responsibility.

Prior to the winners being announced, a shortlist of 51 pupils attended a selection day at Queen's where they were assessed by a number of business leaders, including Queen's Graduate of the Year and RTE Dragons' Den star Ramona Nicholas.

Announcing the winners, Isabel Jennings, Director of Student Plus at Queen's, said: "Each of the Queen's Scholars has demonstrated exceptional leadership and enterprise skills and an outstanding commitment to social responsibility which, alongside their academic strengths, mark them out as the best and brightest young people Northern Ireland has to offer."

Anthony McGrath, Student Recruitment Officer at Queen's, said the Queen's Scholars awards were among the most prestigious available from any UK university.

"They are the latest addition to Queen's annual undergraduate scholarship package, which is worth £300,000 per year, benefits approximately 200 students, and represents a crucial investment in Northern Ireland's future," he said.

"Queen's is committed to investing in the delivery of an exceptional academic and non-academic student experience, leading to excellent career opportunities."

The 10 Queen's Scholars are: Connor Carville, from Maghera, who will study Electrical and Electronic Engineering; Mark Curran, from Castlewellan, who will study International Business with Spanish; Aimee Donaldson, from Lisburn, who will study Common and Civil Law with French; Bryony Gault, from Limavady, who will study English; Katie Grant , from Warrenpoint, who will study Law; Aaron Hutton, from Carrickfergus, who will study Pharmacy; Thomas Lee, from Mullaghbrack, who will study Medicine; Beth Malcomson, from Newtownards, who will study Medicine; Sam Mathers, from Straid, who will study Architecture, and Sophia Turner, from Glengormley, who will study Medicine.

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