Student Success in Cambridge Competition
Posted on 01 September 2021

We are delighted to announce that first year student, Hannah Richardson has recently been awarded a ‘highly commended’ prize for her entry to the Lucy Cavendish College (University of Cambridge) Cottrell Essay Prize competition for medicine or veterinary medicine.

The competition is open to students in Year 12 (or equivalent) who attend schools and colleges in the UK and overseas. The students were invited to choose one question out of a possible nine to write an essay of between 1,000 and 1,500 words on. The questions were designed to get to the heart of the most important issues affecting medicine and veterinary medicine during this extraordinary time.

Hannah chose to answer the following question:

'The Covid-19 pandemic and climate change demonstrate the importance of the concept of 'one health'. Do you agree?'

She commented, “I selected this question because it involves an area of medicine that I did not know much about. I was therefore able to improve my knowledge of areas of health, such as public health care, through my independent research. The question was very varied and relevant, and writing this essay has highlighted to me the main threats facing global health and the importance of taking an interdisciplinary approach to improve this.

I wrote about the effects of anthropogenic changes to the environment on wildlife, how this increases the risk of enzootic disease outbreaks, and examples of successful ‘one health’ collaborations between veterinarians and medical staff to prevent disease. I researched possible factors which led to the emergence of Covid-19 and how similar pandemics could be prevented. My essay also highlighted the need for an interdisciplinary approach regarding climate change, as consequences of rising global temperatures and air pollution are increasing the prevalence of both communicable and non-communicable diseases.

By taking part in this competition, I developed several valuable skills which will help me in my future career, such as interpreting scientific reports and undertaking independent research. I have gained a better understanding of the broad role that medicine has in the community and the need to communicate across organisational boundaries.

I was so pleased to be awarded a ‘highly commended’ prize. I was also delighted to be given the opportunity to attend the virtual prize giving ceremony at the end of July. During the ceremony I was able to ask questions about studying medicine at the University of Cambridge and was given a valuable insight into the course and application process.”

Ross Sarginson, Personal Tutor commented, “Having had to take time away from College for recovery due to major spinal surgery, Hannah wanted to remain committed to her studies. Wherever possible, she sought out opportunities and it was really heart-warming to see her enter the Lucy Cavendish College Cottrell Competition. Her ‘highly commended’ prize was well deserved – her essay was fantastic!