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Two PPE Graduates Win OSCAs

We are delighted to announce that two 2023 PPE graduates have won Outstanding Student Contribution Awards (OSCAs) at this year’s graduation ceremony.

The OSCAs recognise and celebrate the outstanding contributions of Warwick's students. They not only excel academically, but also find the time to campaign for good causes, fundraise, start small business, and work with local charities.

Find out more about the work Bethan Smith and Kieran Barry won their OSCAs for:

Bethan Smith

Bethan is deeply passionate about her work on disability activism. Having been diagnosed with autism at age 13, she has worked exceptionally hard alongside her studies to educate others on autism and other disabilities, and to advocate for equal treatment. The impact of her efforts has been felt both within the Warwick community and far beyond.

During her time studying abroad in Canada, Bethan won an award from the Alpha Phi International Fraternity and Sorority for her work in the role of Director of Health, Wellness and Accountability. She produced the group’s first Disability Policy and arranged three talks covering her experience with disability, allyship, and educational content.

At Warwick, Bethan has been involved in various Society roles with a focus on disability advocation. While Secretary for the PPE Society during the Covid pandemic, Bethan arranged a Mental Health and Disability workshop for students. This included a talk with an MP who spoke on his struggle with mental health and included an educational section on navigating the pandemic with a disability.

During her role as Disability Ally for the Warwick Lacrosse Club, Bethan worked with the Students Union to share her experiences as a disabled student taking part in Warwick Sport, so that present and future disabled students can feel more supported to take part.

In her Final Year, Bethan gave a TedXWarwick talk titled 'You Don't Seem Disabled?' focussing on her own experiences with a hidden disability, misconceptions surrounding autism and how to be a better ally.

Bethan has been growing her online and social media presence in order to reach as many people as possible and has set up a new TikTok account where she shares educational videos and aims to humanise the disability experience.

Bethan has written her Research in Applied Economics project on the gender disability pay gap, examining how current policy is not sufficient to correct existing inequality. Bethan presented her project at the recent British Conference of Undergraduate Research.

Finally, Bethan has also been an exceptional Student Ambassador for the PPE course. Her work has inspired both prospective students and her fellow students in their study of PPE. Assisting at Open Days, Bethan has promoted the programme to both international and home students.

Kieran Barry

Kieran has worked tirelessly to become a true champion of social mobility and an inspiration to those who have had to overcome barriers to achieve their dreams. In his role of Students Union Widening Participation Officer Kieran has:

  • Advocated for a guarantor scheme for students who do not have access to guarantors for off-campus housing.
  • Led the cost-of-living work alongside the full-time officers at the Students Union, creating the Union’s strategy and organising the cost of living survey before delivering this to committees within the university and Senate. University council has also recently endorsed Kieran’s recommendations.
  • Kieran has also worked with Report and Support and Warwick values to incorporate class into trainings and to ensure socio-economic status is considered within both systems, and finally in this role, he has created a foodbank on campus, setting this up and organising volunteers throughout term 2.

Moving onto Kieran’s second role outside of his studies.

As the President of the 93% Club, Kieran:

  • Supported in organising the creation of a social mobility research magazine.
  • Organised a networking event to connect members of the society with sponsors, collaborating with Warwick PLAN.
  • Set up fortnightly free breakfasts for members of the society.
  • Delivered outreach presentations in local schools and leading 93% Club workshops to support schools nationally.

Kieran's dedication to promoting social mobility and access is also evident through his contribution to the Social Mobility Hub. Last year he investigated how the type of school attended by a student impact how they navigate university life and recommended policies to ensure our university can help support these students. This year he has set out to conduct research on how employers can change their application processes to support applicants from socially mobile backgrounds through listening to student voices and insights from social mobility charities.

Kieran is a true role model and a prime example of how to be an effective leader and advocate for social justice. His dedication, empathy, and hard work have made a significant impact on our university.