Winner! Congratulations to Amy Fedeski: 2016's Public Interest Undergraduate of the Year.I first heard about the Undergraduate of the Year Awards in an email I received from the Careers Service last November. I took a look at the website and found the Public Interest Award, which caught my eye as soon as I saw it. The award looked for someone with a passion for furthering the public good, someone who was interested in public service- someone like me.
The award offered a fantastic opportunity to its winner: a six week paid internship with the Bank of England. I took a look at the number of candidates who had applied in previous years, and the impressive CVs of former winners, and thought I would never get through even the first round. Eventually, a few days before the deadline, I decided to apply. If you never go for it, you’ll never know, I told myself. Sure, you might not win- but if you don’t fill in the application, you definitely won’t. When I did the short essays and online tests required for the first part of the application, I didn’t have it in my mind that I would win the competition. I was surprised to hear that I had been chosen as one of ten finalists to be invited to interview at the Bank of England.
When I arrived at Threadneedle Street, I didn’t know what to expect. I was pleased to find that everyone I met while there was lovely. The Bank of England came across as welcoming, innovative and modern. I left that day extremely excited about the opportunity to work at the Bank over the summer. Regardless of the outcome, I thought, I’d had a fascinating insight into the life of a central bank, and an interesting day of interviews and group exercises. It seemed to take forever for the final awards event on 22nd April. I was looking forward to seeing the other finalists again, and getting to know all the other candidates. Our award was the last of the twelve to be announced. The previous eleven winners boasted impressive CVs, complete with internships abroad, volunteering projects and prestigious awards. When I heard our host, Fiona Bruce, say my name, I couldn’t believe it. I’d won!
If I’ve learned one thing from winning the Public Interest Undergraduate of the Year Award, it’s to take every opportunity you’re offered. I’ve always been the kind of person who gets involved in new things, and I think that’s made a positive difference both for the award and in my life generally. The University of Sheffield offers so many fantastic opportunities to its students, and I’ve tried to take advantage of as many of them as I can. I represent other students as a History Department representative, I’m a Student Ambassador, I’ve taken part in Skill Build and Sprint. Beyond the university, I volunteer for Young Enterprise as a Business Advisor helping local sixth formers to run their own businesses. This year, I’ve taken on even more: training to become an Advice Worker with Sheffield Citizens Advice, joining a local Toastmasters club, and organising an alumni employability event. These activities have developed me as a person, improved my confidence, enhanced my communication skills, and broadened my horizons. I would encourage every student at Sheffield to find their passions and follow them- if you don’t, you’ll never know what you’re missing out on!
- Amy Fedeski, History and Politics student and winner of the Public Interest Undergraduate of the Year award 2016