Graduating English Language student Jessica Lane has won the prestigious Michael Sheppard Award for her academic and extra-curricular achievements at Birmingham.

Photograph of Jessica Lane

The award is presented to only one graduate from across the University in recognition of their excellence.

Jessica spent a semester of her programme abroad at the University of Melbourne, Australia. While she was there, she took the opportunity of assisting a child with a learning disability, giving her a first-hand experience of the profession she hopes to enter, speech and language therapy. When Jessica returned from her year abroad, her commitment to linguistics and the study of language disability was evident in her final year dissertation. She used state-of-the-art eye-tracking equipment to study developmental dyslexia. This project was original in many ways and was awarded a department research poster prize.

“It is an honour to have received such a prestigious award. I am extremely grateful for the support of my family, friends and members of the Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics. I had an amazing time at the University of Birmingham and am very proud of all that I have achieved”.
Jessica Lane, BA (Hons) English Language

While she’s been here in the city of Birmingham, Jessica volunteered in the community. She was a Volunteer Learning Support Assistant for the Birmingham Adult Education Service in Selly Oak. Here, she worked 1:1 with a dyslexic and autistic young person as well as with groups of adult learners in a Level 1 English Functional Skills class every Wednesday afternoon. Additionally, she held various work experience voluntary placements at the Moseley Hall Hospital working with the Moor Green Out-Patient Brain Injury Service and the In-patient Neurological Rehabilitation Unit.

“We are delighted that this award has been presented to Jessica. She is very deserving of it. Not only is she an academically brilliant student, she demonstrated a strong commitment to the department and to the wider community in the University and beyond. We wish her every success as she moves on to her master’s degree programme.”
Dr Suganthi John, Head of the Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics

Looking ahead, her academic excellence and wide-ranging experiences have resulted in her being awarded one of 20 NHS funded places on the MMedSci Clinical Communication Sciences programme at the University of Sheffield from September 2017. This is a two-year programme which will qualify her as a Speech and Language therapist.