Helen Brown named Your Dundee Plus winner

Published on 3 May 2021

Last week, the University recognized students that go above and beyond in their annual Dundee Plus Awards.

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The awards celebrated the work of students who have used their free time to assist their communities and expand their own skillsets, despite the challenges posed by the pandemic.

Helen Brown, a PhD student from Greg Findlay’s lab in the MRC Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit, was named the winner in the Your Dundee Plus category. She said of her win, “I am delighted to win this award. The University has so many excellent students who entered, so to be picked out of all of them is an honour.”

Dundee Plus is a personal skills development programme that recognises the value of activities undertaken by students outwith their course. The initiative helps to identify the transferable skills they are developing, whether it is in the capacity of a community group leader, member of a sports club, or in a role as a carer or guardian.

“As I’ve done quite a few extracurricular activities alongside my PhD, I thought that this award would be a great opportunity for me to reflect on the skills that I gained from these,” Helen explained. “I did a skills review where I graded myself on various skills, and then wrote a short piece for three of the skills describing how I’d developed myself in those areas with examples from outside my degree. I really enjoyed thinking about everything I’ve done alongside my lab work, such as public engagement, choral singing and charity work. It’s really helped me to clarify my skills and experience for job applications. It’s been a very valuable experience.”

Everyone who completes the programme is awarded a certificate and the top entry in each category is selected by a judge for the prize.

As well as helping their communities, the Dundee Plus scheme gives students the opportunity to develop their CVs. With the post-pandemic jobs market expected to be particularly competitive, Richard Pool, Employer Engagement Manager at the University’s Career Service, said that experience gained through volunteering and extra-curricular roles can evidence a wide range of skills.

“The jobs market is particularly challenging at the moment and showing potential employers the breadth of a person’s talents is extremely important,” he said. “Initiatives like Dundee Plus are a fantastic way of helping participants identify the things that they can showcase to prospective employers, while also helping to develop a person’s confidence and experience."

“Every year we are overwhelmed by the dedication and determination of those students that take part in the Dundee Plus scheme, but this year has been truly extraordinary. All of our students have been working in exceptional circumstances this year, but those involved in Dundee Plus have achieved amazing things, whether it has been through caring for a loved one or performing work in the community. These awards allow us to share these stories and celebrate the work of some of our inspirational students.”