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Newnham College Essay Prize Winner 2017

The exceptional academic talent of Year 12 female students was celebrated by Newnham College at a prestigious ceremony in Cambridge for essay prize-winners.  Helena Quinn's entry was recognised in the Philosphy category.

Newnham College’s annual essay prize competitions are designed to encourage ambitious female sixth-form students to explore university-level subjects and themes and to develop their independent research and writing skills.

A record-breaking number of entries were received from a wide range of schools across eight different categories; Architecture, Biological Sciences, Engineering, History, Modern and Medieval Languages, Philosophy, Physical Sciences, and the Woolf Essay Prize, with questions inspired by Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own.

Virginia Woolf based A Room of One’s Own on a series of lectures she gave at Newnham in 1928.

Winners were selected by a panel of Newnham academics after hundreds of essays were received. Each competition has a prize of £400 for first place, £200 for second place, and £100 for third place.

All of the winners were invited to the women’s college at the heart of Cambridge University on Saturday (June 24) to take part in a special ceremony where they were presented with their prizes by Professor Dame Carol Black, Principal of Newnham College.

The sixth-formers and their families then enjoyed afternoon tea and a chance to meet leading academics from all disciplines.

Dr Sam Lucy, Newnham Admissions Tutor, said: “The field this year was particularly strong, with a record number of entries, and the judges were impressed by the range and quality of the research undertaken by the entrants.

“Whittling that field down to the winners and runners-up of the eight prizes involved some hard decisions, but those chosen are well-deserved winners and should be extremely proud of their achievement.”

It is hoped that exposing the high-flying sixth-formers to the type of work they would be expected to do at Cambridge will encourage them to consider applying to Newnham.

Although it is not part of the admissions process at Newnham, several previous prize-winners are current students.

Questions for the 2018 Essay Prize Competitions will be announced in November 2017.


(Taken from Newnham College Press Release)