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Cambridge Essay Competition - Third Place

Cambridge Essay Competition - Third Place
Karen Smith

When Isabella Woodward, current Lower Sixth pupil, decided to enter this year’s essay competition from Newnham College, Cambridge, she knew she would be competing against strong entries from Year 12 pupils from schools across the country.   So she was thrilled to receive the news that she had been placed 3rd and has been invited to a prizewinners day at the college on Sunday 7th July.

The competition’s aim is to encourage female students currently in Year 12 at a UK school to write on a subject which interests them.  Entry categories are offered in Biological Sciences, Engineering, History, Modern and Medieval Languages, Music, Philosophy, and Physical Sciences, as well as an annual ‘Woolf Essay Prize’ with questions inspired by Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own.  Each of the Newnham Essay Prizes has a first prize of £400, a second prize of £200 and a third prize of £100.

All essays must reference sources (including websites consulted) and provide a bibliography.

Izzy entered the Biological Sciences category, where she was asked to ‘Nominate a living woman biologist for a Nobel prize, and justify your choice.’  Izzy wrote passionately in support of professor Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz for her seminal work on embryonic stem cells and embryonic development.   Magdalena has dedicated her life to providing groundbreaking understanding of cells which will radically enhance the way modern medicine works, especially in IVF treatment, and the examples Izzy gave were both detailed and justified.

Ieuan Weir, Deputy Head Academic, commented:

“This is a very fine achievement and we are delighted that Izzy’s hard work and thorough research has been so well recognised by Cambridge. Developing the ability to construct a well written and well documented argument is a very valuable skill both in academic work and for future career paths in so many different fields.  I hope she has a wonderful experience at Newnham on 7th July.” 

Izzy was thrilled with her success:

“I was so excited to learn that my essay had received a prize.   There were so many different categories and topics that it was quite hard to choose which to focus on, but I was pleased with the result of my research.   I found it fascinating exploring the professor’s work in more detail and feel she definitely deserves a Nobel prize!”

Head to the Canford blog page to read Izzy’s essay –

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