Two outstanding medical students will be awarded prestigious prizes as part of the University of Birmingham’s annual degree congregations.

Helen Leach and Jake Mann will receive the Chancellor and Vice Chancellor prizes at their degree congregation on Wednesday 11th July.

Helen Leach, who will graduate with MB ChB Honours (the equivalent of first class Honours), will be awarded the Chancellor’s prize for her outstanding academic ability. Helen will be second overall in her year of 351 students.

In addition to her academic studies, Helen has spent time working in Africa and India to improve resources in deprived areas. Before coming to Birmingham, Helen went to Kenya to help set up a new orphanage, using her previous experience working in the area to prepare the premises and teaching materials for the children. In her fourth year, Helen chose to go to Nepal to work in a teaching hospital, where she worked closely with the Community Medicine department assisting in village clinics and schools, as well as in the Accident and Emergency department.

In August, Helen will start as a Foundation doctor in Worcester completing rotations in cardiology, respiratory medicine and vascular surgery.

Jake Mann, who will also graduate with MB ChB Honours, will be awarded the Vice Chancellor’s prize. During his six years as an undergraduate Jake has made a very significant and sustained contribution to the life of the Medical School and the University as a whole. He has worked as a student ambassador, served as Vice-President and President of the Medical Students’ Society “MedSoc” in successive years and helped other students with academic work.

In August Jake will take up an Academic Foundation Programme in Leeds.

Professor John Marriot Director of Education in the College of Medical and Dental Sciences comments: “ We are delighted to see Jake and Helen rewarded for their huge achievements during their time at Birmingham. Their ability to combine outstanding academic success with making a real contribution outside of their studies is admirable.

Although the Jake and Helen took advantage of very different opportunities at Birmingham they are linked by a desire to help others, a skill that will help them as they enter their careers as junior doctors.”

Helen and Jake will meet the Chancellor, Sir Dominic Cadbury and Vice Chancellor, Professor David Eastwood, to receive their awards on the day of their degree congregation, Wednesday 11th July.   They will join more than 5000 students who will collect their degrees at 18 ceremonies in the University’s iconic Great Hall (4th – 12th July).