Gemma - What our students say - University of Derby

Gemma Scott - BSc (Hons) Criminology

Deans Prize Winner for Undergraduate Academic Achievement in Law and Criminology

Firstly, I am delighted to be awarded the Dean’s Prize for Undergraduate Academic Achievement in Law and Criminology from the University of Derby. To have my efforts recognised and rewarded in this way is a huge honour and I would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to the individuals who nominated me for this award. I have no doubt they are the very same tutors who encouraged, supported and inspired me every step of the way- so my gratitude knows no bounds!

It took me four years in total to complete my degree and each year brought with it both triumphs and setbacks. As we all know, studying for any length of time is an immense commitment and it requires a prolonged type of energy which can sometimes be difficult to maintain, given the ups and downs of everyday life. There were definitely times I didn’t even think I would complete my degree, let alone receive such an honorary award, so I am more than thrilled with the outcome.

As well as obtaining my degree and award, one of the most cherished things to come out of university was the wonderful friendships I made. In my first year at Derby I was extremely lucky to meet a like-minded student called Michelle and in the years that followed, I don’t think we left each other’s side once! On top of the shared laughter (and sometimes sweat and tears!), we also shared a passion for research fuelled by a desire to understand and challenge our own thoughts. Our sheer determination to get to grips with the writings of Butler, Foucault and Lacan and our shared traits of perfectionism all contributed to the student, and indeed the very person I would eventually become.

We were also extremely fortunate to have our tutor, who also became our friend and encouraged us every step of the way. The support and genuine interest I received in my main research project, which explored understandings of risk and responsibility in relation to HIV, certainly inspired and motivated me to work harder and pursue postgraduate studies in this area.

After taking some time out and addressing some personal issues that I faced, I resumed my studies and in 2014 had my most successful year to date, acquiring a first class degree in June. I would like to say thank you to my family and closest friends for putting up with me, loving me unconditionally and providing me with on-going support, not only through this difficult time, but the duration of my studies and indeed my life! I also want to say thank you to the team at Derby’s Student Wellbeing Centre who played an important role in getting me back on track, both personally and academically, and draw attention to the range of services the centre offers for anyone who might need them.

Next, I want to thank all those others who enriched my experience at Derby. My friends are beyond worthy of a mention here. Their great sense of humour and adventure left me with fond memories and their practical and positive attitude showed me a different, more productive way to be. I have no doubt we’ll remain friends for a very long time. I also want to say thank you to the staff in the Library, where I probably spent the most amount of my time. So much so, I’d often mistake it for my home leaving countless USB sticks (and phone chargers, coats, shoes and hairbrushes!) scattered around the place! So apart from the welcoming atmosphere and pure perseverance in locating and obtaining all those obscure journal articles I asked for, thanks for keeping all my things safe and returning them back to me, because without them, I would not have had any work to submit!

Lastly, I want to say congratulations again to everybody that recently graduated from the University of Derby! I wish you all the best for the future and in your chosen careers.

Gemma Scott "The support and genuine interest I received in my main research project certainly inspired and motivated me to work harder and pursue postgraduate studies in this area."