New Social Work Prize awarded to two Social Work Undergraduate Students

Posted on Friday 16th December 2011

Julia Smith Award shared by Saira-Jayne Jones and Shabana Mushtaq

Shabana Mushtaq receiving Julia Smith Award

Saira-Jayne Jones and Shabana Mushtaq, two third year undergraduate students have become the first recipients of a new prize in Social Work - the Julia Smith Award. The prize, funded by a donation from Julia Smith, a former University of Birmingham Social Work student, has been awarded to Saira and Shabana in recognition of the challenges they had both faced and successfully overcome during their time at Birmingham.

Saira-Jayne Jones, winner of the Julia Smith Award, 2011

Gary Hickman, Director, Social Work Programmes, commented that "The award has been introduced in recognition of the great challenges and adversity which some students encounter when undertaking a degree, just as Julia Smith herself showed courage and determination in her studies at the University of Birmingham and in her career as a social worker. 

This year we felt that Saira-Jayne and Shabana had both faced many barriers, but had dealt with these with integrity and resolve. The Institute of Applied Social Studies is now recognising and applauding their endeavours and successful outcomes." 

Saira-Jayne Jones  "The thing I enjoyed the most about studying at Birmingham was being in such a multi-faceted and diverse City because it gave me the opportunity to interact with a lot of people, especially being on a social work course "

Dawn River, Shabana's academic tutor, was full of praise for her. "As Shabana Mushtaq's academic tutor for part of her studies, I was impressed by Shabana's ability to overcome the physical and social difficulties she faced. Her tenacity and self-belief, coupled with her determination to become a professional social worker, enabled her to achieve the qualification she so strongly believed would enable her to support and empower others. I wish her well in her future role as a social worker."

Julia Smith

Julia Smith pictured at her PhD graduation

Julia Smith practised as a social worker for a number of years before returning to complete a Masters in Social Research and PhD in Social Policy at the University of Birmingham. In doing so, she overcame significant impairments and long periods of hospitalisation.