UCL News


Meet two of UCL's 'Rising Stars'

23 September 2011

Two UCL students have been honoured at the third annual Rare Rising Stars awards following a nationwide search for the UK's top ten black students.

Annabel Sowemimo

Annabel Sowemimo (UCL Medicine) and Stefan Knight (UCL Electronic and Electrical Engineering) received their awards at an exclusive Westminster Palace ceremony where the names of the UK's ten best black students, as judged by an expert panel of leading black Britons, were revealed to an expectant audience, including family and friends.

Rare Rising Stars, run by diversity recruitment experts Rare, showcases the achievements of the UK's best black students as chosen by Rt. Hon. David Lammy MP, Trevor Phillips (Chair of the Commission for Equality and Human Rights) and Jean Tomlin (HR Director for London 2012).

The ceremony was the culmination of a year-long search that considered applications from thousands of students before producing the final list of ten Rising Stars.

Annabel Sowemimo, UCL Medicine

From the operating theatre to the drama theatre, Annabel Sowemimo has found the perfect way to stage a career in medicine and the dramatic arts.

Before being accepted to study medicine at UCL Annabel was already a budding thespian. She joined the National Youth Theatre at the age of 16 and was promoted to course assistant just one year later - a position usually reserved for those in their 20's.

In 2008, Annabel co-established Drama Jam, a revolutionary outreach project which encourages university students to expose theatre and the dramatic arts to demographics who are least likely to have access to it.

By 2010, Annabel was Drama Jam's sole Project Leader and she secured over £1,000 of university funding for her project. With this relatively small sum, she was able to develop the project into a mentoring scheme for children in several London schools and the success of Drama Jam contributed to the Drama Society receiving the UCL Arts Society of the Year Award.

Annabel received personal recognition for her longstanding contributions with the UCL Arts Centenary Award. She is also the editor of Perspective, a medical publication focusing on international health issues.

Annabel has been able to maintain an intensely active lifestyle despite suffering from scoliosis, a medical condition affecting her spine. After recovering from dangerous surgery in 2004, she mentored a girl who also suffered from the disease.

Image: (l-to-r) Rt. Hon. David Lammy MP, Jean Tomlin, HR Director for London 2012 and Annabel Sowemimo.  

Stefan Knight, UCL Electronic and Electrical Engineering

Stefan Knight may have left school with no GCSEs, but he hasn't let that hold him back.

In the six years since leaving school he qualified as an electrician, managed multi-million pound projects and set up his own electrical contracting company before embarking on an MEng in Electronic and Electrical Engineering at UCL.

Stefan always had a passion for electricals and after studying Electrical Installation at college, he started work as a junior electrician on a job worth £5 million. Aged 18, he found himself managing a team of 10 and overseeing work on a home which featured in lifestyle magazine Home & Gardens.

Self-funding private tuition one day a week, Stefan passed GCSE English and Maths and scored 100% in the Access Course which would allow him to study at university level.

In 2009, he set up JSJ Electrical Contractors with two colleagues. The business currently manages several projects in and around London and Stefan is especially proud of recently securing a contract to install all of the electrical facilities for a youth academy in East London.

During his second year at university Stefan landed two Spring Week placements: one in the Sales and Trading division of UBS, and another in the Technology department at Goldman Sachs. Stefan will return to Goldman Sachs in the summer of 2012 to take up a place in Equities.

Image: (l-to-r) Stefan Knight with Trevor Phillips, Chair of the Commission for Equality and Human Rights.

Media contact: Dave Weston

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