Exeter undergraduate wins prestigious national award

Monday, June 13, 2022

University of Exeter student Isabelle Brown is celebrating after securing a prestigious national award.

Isabelle, a third year Modern Languages student, has secured the First Generation Undergraduate of the Year Award, run by targetjobs.

Isabelle, who studies French and Spanish, was one of 12 winners at the targetjobs Undergraduate of the Year Awards, held in London.

Isabelle was joined at the ceremony by fellow Exeter student David Ameyaw, who studies Law and was a finalist in the Black Heritage Undergraduate of the Year category.

The competition, which attracted almost 4,000 entrants, is open to students across the UK and offers prizes such as placements, internships and trips abroad with internationally recognised organisations.

Isabelle, who grew up in Kent, is the first member of her family to go to university. Having spent holidays in France and Spain growing up she has been passionate about languages and cultures from a young age.

She is currently on a year abroad as part of her studies, first as an Assistant English Teacher in the Pays de la Loire region of France for five months and now studying in Spain at Universidad de Murcia.

Isabelle had to undergo several rigorous tests to secure a place as a finalist at the awards ceremony. Entrants had to first complete an application, including essay style questions and bespoke online tests.

Once passing that stage students were either invited to a telephone interview or take part in an assessment centre.

The criteria for the award included showing self-motivation, being naturally proactive and enjoy working on their own initiative; embracing diversity and build strong, trusting relationships with all kinds of people; being able to engage with others respectfully and listen carefully; and thriving in achieving results through teamwork.

Speaking after securing the award, Isabelle said: “I feel extremely honoured and grateful to be 1 of the 12 winners of an Undergraduate of the Year Award with targetjobs.

“I got to meet such inspirational students, connect with HSBC members (some of whom I met virtually on the assessment centre day) and talk to lovely the Sue Perkins! It was an incredible experience and one that I will never forget – it has not quite sunk in yet!

“My work ethic and resilience with my studies, alongside my desire to grow, improve, and continue to achieve more all played a part in my success during the application process.”

Isabelle has previously taught as an ASA qualified swimming instructor, completed work experience as a business analyst at Kimberly-Clark and worked as a retail assistant at Exeter Marketplace.

During lockdown she volunteered for university’s digital welcome team and trialled a French conversation platform. She achieved the Exeter Award and completed Grand Challenges, an innovative, multi-disciplinary course combatting issues in the digital world.