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Orkney college student earns top UHI award

Danielle O’Hagan being presented with her award by professor Crichton Lang in St Magnus Cathedral.

A computing student from Orkney college has been named as the University of the Highlands and Islands’ Further Education Student of the Year.

Twenty-five-year-old Danielle O’Hagan, from Kirkwall, recently completed a National Certificate in computer technologies with games design at Orkney College UHI.

She was nominated for the award by her lecturer, Magnus Tullock, being commended for her outstanding work as well as her bravery in managing her epilepsy and raising awareness of the condition.

Magnus explained: “Danielle has been the outstanding student of the computing department this year. She has driven the class forward, helped her peers and has shown incredible determination to make her work all it can be.

“When she was not happy with the initial results of her web development task, she decided to learn a whole new programming language to accomplish exactly what she wanted. Despite having several epileptic episodes throughout the year, Danielle never let her work suffer. Indeed, Danielle faces her condition head-on.”

“She organised a class activity to raise money for epilepsy suffers in Scotland, she has given dozens of talks on the condition and has set up a website to help raise awareness. In all my years, I have never come across a further education student as committed, driven and attentive as Danielle who has also had to deal with considerable health problems.”

Speaking about her award, Danielle said: “I am very thankful to have been chosen for the award. I wouldn’t have been able to put the work I did in my course last year if it wasn’t for the help from my lecturers and the support staff that helped me, especially with being dyslexic.

“The same for the help with my classmates as well. I hope to continue working hard as I progress towards my degree in years to come.”

Professor Clive Mulholland, principal and vice-chancellor of the University of the Highlands and Islands, said: “Danielle is an exemplary student who went above and beyond the requirements of her course. She has displayed great dedication and determination in the face of challenging personal circumstances and is a worthy winner of our further education student of the year award.”

Danielle was presented with a certificate and a cheque for £200 at the Orkney College UHI graduation ceremony on Friday, September 29. She is continuing her studies with the University of the Highlands and Islands by undertaking an NHC in computing.

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