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Coventry Mum receives chemical boost from AstraZeneca

Originally published 2 July 2004

A determined mother of 3 and mature student from Coundon in Coventry has been awarded a bursary totalling £3,000 from one of the worlds leading pharmaceutical companies, AstraZeneca. Karen McKinney, 27, is currently undertaking a four year Masters degree in Chemistry (Mchem) at the University of Warwick and has achieved first class marks in both her 1st and 2nd year examinations. AstraZeneca has awarded the star student with a bursary of £1,000 per year of study, receiving the first instalment during her second year with another £2,000 still to come.

After leaving school following her GCSEs, Karen became a full-time mother, but had always harboured a dream about returning to education. Karen returned to education once her children, Kate, 8, Molly, 6, and Ellie, 5, had started school, undertaking a two year Access course at Henley College in Coventry that focused on Biology and Health Studies, while simultaneously studying for an A Level in Chemistry at North Warwickshire and Hinckley College. During this time Karen developed a passion for chemistry and decided to take forward her ambitions and fulfil her real potential at the University of Warwick.

Karen McKinney, said: "Initially I was anxious about undertaking my studies with 3 children to look after. However, once my children had all started school I undertook an Access course, and by carefully planning my studies I developed a good study/ life balance. For the past four years I've successfully juggled my studies with looking after my children."

Karen’s course involves a work placement, which she will do AstraZeneca’s Charnwood site in Loughborough later this year, giving her practical experience in industry and standing her in excellent stead for a career in Chemistry.

Karen hopes that her success story can provide inspiration for other mums harbouring a dream to return to education and fulfil their potential, but held back by fears of being unable to juggle study with a family.

AstraZeneca award fifty undergraduate students from 23 universities across the UK with bursaries as part of their programme worth £200,000 to encourage students to study chemistry and ultimately to pursue a chemistry related career.

Karen is willing to be interviewed and photographed and can be contacted via the University of Warwick Communications Office.