Aberystwyth University (UK) New Peter Hancock Scholarship winners announced

Astro Physics, Genetics, Psychology, and Business and IT are the academic disciplines studied by the latest recipients of the Peter Hancock Scholarship.

Funded by Aberystwyth University graduates Peter Hancock and Pat Pollard, the annual scholarship is awarded to final year students at the University who demonstrate a potential to make a positive contribution to society through their studies and who would benefit from financial support to complete their studies.

In 1961 Peter Hancock was awarded a scholarship that enabled him to successfully complete his Geology degree and set him on a course for a successful global academic and business career.

In recognition of the help he received as a student, Peter and his partner Pat gave £506,000 to the University in 2015 to establish a scholarship in perpetuity.

This year’s winners, Yerodin Stewart, Przemyslaw Olewniczak, Jason Makechemu and Arina Bugakova were presented at a reception on Wednesday 26 October in the company of sisters Sue and Jennifer Pollard, who represented Peter and Pat.

Speaking at the reception, Sue Pollard said: “We are delighted to be here at Aberystwyth to present the latest Peter Hancock Scholarships and to congratulate this year’s scholars personally on their success. We very much hope the support offered will enable them to achieve their goals.

“For Peter and Pat there is something about this University that just stuck with them, the time they spent here represents some of the best years of their lives, the collegiality and the friendships that were established during that time have endured to this day. For Peter, the only way that he could complete his final year here was through a similar needs-based scholarship. He is just thrilled that he is now in a position where he can give back to the University in a way that he was able to benefit from a similar programme. Peter and Pat’s desire is to see these scholarships go to students who are not only in financial need, but who also demonstrate a strong potential to make a difference and contribute to the public good.”

Professor Elizabeth Treasure, Vice-Chancellor of Aberystwyth University, said: “It was a pleasure to welcome Sue and Jennifer Pollard to Aberystwyth to present this year’s Peter Hancock Scholarships and to recognise the wonderful long-standing relationship we have with Peter and Pat.  We value greatly the excellent support of our alumni, many of whom do so financially as Peter and Pat have done, but also practically as so many others do on a daily basis. Their contributions enrich the lives of our students in so many ways and contribute to the excellent student experience for which this University has become renowned.”

“My warmest congratulations to this year’s winners. I wish them every success as they embark on their final year here at Aberystwyth and trust that the support they receive thanks to Peter and Pat’s generosity will open doors for them, as was the case for Peter all those years ago.”

Worth up to £4400 per student, the Peter Hancock Scholarship also offers mentor support by members of the Aberystwyth alumni family.

2022 Peter Hancock Scholarship winners

Yerodin Stewart is a final year Psychology student from Nottingham. As part of the scholarship, he is also being mentored by Peter Hancock himself.

Yerodin said: “I feel humbled and honoured to be awarded this scholarship, which has afforded me the opportunity to meet new people, network and see another side of people’s lives I would not have seen otherwise. It enables me to focus fully on my studies and be fully committed to psychology, which is what I want to do, especially in my final year. It has also been great to meet Peter online as part of the mentoring programme, and to discuss my work and our shared interests. I hope one day to be able to give something back myself.”

Przemyslaw Olewniczak is a final Genetics student. Originally from Poland, he spent a year working for QIAGEN in Manchester as part of his studies.

Przemyslaw said: “This scholarship is really going to help me to focus on my work and to fully immerse myself in my final year dissertation. During my placement with QIAGEN I worked on cancer cell lines. My hope, once I graduate, is to go into research, and hopefully cancer research. The work at QIAGEN gave me the feeling that I was part of something bigger and making a difference, so I would love to continue in that line of work and I very much hope this scholarship will make this possible.”

Jason Makechemu from Stourbridge is studying for a degree in Astro Physics. His final year dissertation involves modelling the flow of plasma in the Earth’s upper atmosphere.

Jason said: “This scholarship means a lot to me because it shows that people have faith in me to complete my degree to a high level and contribute to society in the future. It is also a big help financially because it means I am able to dedicate more time to my studies and activities that I wouldn’t have the time for otherwise. I want to continue pursuing higher education, and for that I need to excel in my undergraduate studies.”

Arina Bugakova is from Belarus and Poland and is studying Business and IT. Her mentor for the programme is successful Aber graduate Peter Gradwell, a long-standing judge on the University’s annual student entrepreneurship competition InvEnterPrize.

Arina said: “I am delighted to have been awarded this scholarship. For me it means opportunities and the network for my future career and future projects, which will hopefully also mean I can help and assist other people. This scholarship also means that even if you feel alone, there are people who are rooting for you and will be there for you in times of need. The mentoring arrangement is hugely important as it means I can ask for advice about my studies and other projects, internships, and even discuss possible start-up ideas. Who knows, one day I may well be venturing out on my own in the tech industry and follow in Peter’s footsteps.”

Since it was established, 38 students have benefited from the Peter Hancock Scholarship. Details about how to apply are available online.