Student Personality of the Year Award

This award goes to someone that stands out?through?the work that they do, they excel in their field?and help others to achieve. They make the difference but don’t always get the recognition for it. 

The winner is...

Lucy Longbottom 

Lucy works tirelessly to organise a wide variety of events such as weekly workshops, expeditions, regular scenario training and weekend parkruns that engage all members of the society to meet the demands and improve the experience of society’s members. Since she joined the committee of the Wilderness and Expedition Medicine Society (PUWEMS), Lucy has been part of and led a team that has managed the transition of the society from being a mainly medical student-focused society to one now that should be proud of being made up of students from a variety of different courses and backgrounds. The PUWEMS Facebook and Instagram accounts are always filled with posts advertising events and raising awareness for the society. PUWEMS teaches wilderness first aid at many different levels with the aim in upskilling its members to be able to treat themselves, friends or other members of the public while in the great outdoors. These are skills that will hopefully allow all of its members to access the great outdoors more safely in years to come! 

Lucy has been a welcoming and approachable figure for old and new members. She is happy to share advice based on her previous experience as a committee member and regularly invites members to contribute feedback which has meant that she’s been able to tailor opportunities and experiences to the need of members such as workshop topic ideas. Lucy organised an insightful Christmas Lecture evening with a range of very engaging speakers from a variety of medical expedition fields and adventurer backgrounds. This attracted lots of members and through this the society raised money for the Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team. This was a great opportunity for the society and its members to give back to the search and rescue team who have liaised with Lucy over the past three years to put on workshops and training for members at their base on Dartmoor.  

“While away on trips with Lucy. She is always the first person awake getting everything ready for the group and organising a variety of activities while away to accommodate everyone's needs.” 

“Lucy is so open to ideas and keen to pursue them and without her these opportunities would not be pursued and we would not have all the experience as a society that we now have over the course of each year!” 

“If you have a question about anything she is easy to approach and will go above and beyond to help you out with anything or put you in touch with relevant contacts” 

“She is a key part of the university society and is happy to approach anyone about anything or give anyone support when they need it!” 

 


 

The following individuals were shortlisted for this award, read more about what they’ve achieved this year:

 

Grainne Roberts 

Grainne started her UPNC journey as Kit Secretary in her second year and since 2018 has been the Chair for the club and has supported her committee to ensure that targets are met by keeping in regular contact, being approachable and having a friendly and positive attitude. She goes above and beyond to ensure all members are cared for and respected at all times. 

Although Grainne is an extremely caring and considerate person, she remains professional and strict to ensure the committee are working hard to meet their deadlines and provide what they have promised to the club. She Grainne will always put herself forward for any opportunities the SU provide, such as attending the Wellbeing Officers training, and uses these training programmes to create an open, honest and confidential environment, yet still ensuring members are able to enjoy their netball and university experience.  

On top of all of this, Grainne captains her 6th team in the local PDNL league. Being a relatively new team, Grainne has supported the girls throughout the season to ensure they’re playing good quality netball and share the same experiences as the first team in terms of training opportunities and matches.  

Being her last year, Grainne will be sorely missed by the club - her calm, yet professional manner is admirable and she has had a huge impact on the success of UPNC during her time as a member, committee member and Chair. 

 


 

Hollie Lowen 

Hollie has been a committed and key member of the University of Plymouth Netball Club since 2017. Hollie has represented the University in the first team since her first year and has shown constant hard work and dedication. Hollie is considered a friendly face by all those who share the court with her and at the end of her first year was awarded the prestigious “Fresher of the Year” award. This award is given to a first year who has made an incredible impact within the club, is popular amongst their peers and ensures they are a great representation of UPNC when on campus/on away days for BUCS. 

Hollie always ensures she is a supportive figure within the committee, with multiple members reaching out to her over the year for advice and comfort. She has also been extremely supportive to the Chair this year, making sure she was always on top of vital meetings they had to attend and keeping them both up to date with a variety of different events being run over the summer. Hollie lives and breathes everything netball and UPNC. In the past few years, she has successfully made such a positive impact on many members, past and present.  

 


 

Matthew Makaraczy 

As Chairman of the University of Plymouth Football Club, Matt’s role oversees everything going on and ensures things are running smoothly. He has done this very well this year due to his organisation and determination. Matt has had a huge influence on social media this year and he’s used the platform to keep members updated on what’s going on. 

When faced with difficult situations through the year Matt has led the club well, such as fixing a situation with kit that has been an issue for the club over the past few years. He’s also worked closely with other members of the committee to organise the first UPFC tour for three years. 

“The socials have continued to have good numbers with more freshers coming along on a weekly basis due to the more welcoming environment he has created” 

“Matt works very well with others and has ensured everyone on the committee has been in check and doing their jobs throughout the year, with very few issues” 

“Matt is a leader on and off the pitch, and on the sporting side of things, has been ever present in our 1st team. He played a big part in the team winning their BUCS league without losing a game. All in all, the club looks very healthy, due to our man at the helm who continues to improve all aspects” 

 


 

Chelsea Lewis 

This year Chelsea took on the role of Umpire Secretary for UPNC and has helped the committee to grow from strength to strength. As part of her role, Chelsea organises all home fixture umpires for BUCS-competing teams. Her organisation of this has been flawless and has put saptain’s minds at ease when arriving at a game on a Wednesday afternoon. When things have gone wrong, and umpires have pulled out at the last minute, Chelsea has kept a clear and level head and has sorted out problems in the most efficient manner. Being a C-umpire herself, she has found herself umpiring for Plymouth’s BUCS teams all season. Although umpiring courses within Plymouth haven’t been organised due to personal issues for the local league’s own umpire secretary, Chelsea has still managed to provide members with ample opportunity to learn more and improve their umpiring. She has been a key member of the Intramural Netball league, often organising umpires for games and also umpiring herself. 

Chelsea has also spent multiple weekends umpiring at Superleague, UPNC’s own intramural league. She also took on the role of second team captain, after having a successful season with our first team last year. Her leadership and organisation were some of the few qualities which highlighted why she deserved to be a captain in her final year at university. When the coach of the fourth, fifth and sixth team chose to step down, Chelsea used her initiative, alongside the first team captain, to make sure she came to training sessions to help coach these teams. As captain of the 2nd team, Chelsea has led the team to finish in the top three of their Western Tier 3 BUCS league and has also kept the team within the prestigious Premier A division - the best division in the West Devon League. 

Chelsea has offered comfort and reassurance to her team during difficult points in the year and has contributed to training becoming a positive learning environment, where members are excited to train each and every week. 

 


 

Frances Atienza Benstrong 

Frances is the current Chair of the Tropical Island Society and her commitment and leadership has resulted in the society's tremendous success this academic year. From recruiting an unprecedented 30+ members at the Freshers’ Fair to raising over £300 to donate to the Bahamas Red Cross following the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian – Frances' enthusiasm and motivation has been an inspiration to all those around her. 

Leading by doing, Frances supports all members of the committee in their responsibilities and engages in all aspects of running the society; from event planning to volunteering and communicating with outside organisations, other societies and sports clubs. Her attitude combined with her “unyielding spirit” makes Frances an outstanding leader who goes above and beyond to ensure the success of the society. Her passion for the society and commitment to promoting the cultures of its members led to the society's first collaboration on the UPSU Rum and Reggae Festival, as well as their first collaboration with the university's ice skating club, to integrate our members into the UK's culture through the ‘Islanders on Ice’ event. 

“Her positive and enthusiastic attitude uplifts our members, welcoming them to their home away from home and even makes non-members who attend our events feel like a part of our island family”