Gift Sotonye-Frank, a Nigerian postgraduate student at the Queen’s University, Belfast, has won the Student of the Year Award.
The university made the announcement on its website and shared it on its verified Twitter handle, @QUBelfast.
The university said Sotonye-Frank was “recognised for her dedication and work in the areas of gender, sexuality and human rights with a focus on female’s rights, including the right to education for young women in Nigeria.”
Sotonye-Frank is a Law PhD student at the Queen’s University.
The annual Student Award, which is now in its 21st year, is presented by the Queen’s Graduates’ Association with generous support from First Trust Bank and is one of the highlights of Graduation Week.
The award recognises exceptional individuals for excellence, achievement or service either to the University or to the wider community.
Speaking about this year’s Award, Charlotte Maguire, University Road Branch Manager at First Trust Bank, said, “We are delighted once again to join with the University and the Queen’s Graduates’ Association in the presentation of this eminent award.
“We have been supporting the Graduate and Student of the Year Awards since their inception in 1999. Our endorsement recognises and celebrates the achievements of all those Queen’s students who make such a huge contribution to life not just at the University, but throughout Northern Ireland and further afield.
“The 2019 Student of the Year – Gift Sotonye-Frank – is an inspirational role model not just for female and international students but for all students, and at both under- and postgraduate level.”
Gift was nominated by Joanne Graham, a member of staff in The Graduate School at Queen’s who said, “Gift is a very worthy Student of the Year, having inspired staff and students through her work ethic and her dedication to support others at Queen’s and in the world around her.
“She is passionate about supporting females, especially in her home country, Nigeria, where young pregnant females face challenges accessing education,” added Joanne.
Commenting on the award, Gift said, “I’m delighted (and very excited) to have been selected as this year’s First Trust Bank Queen’s Student of the Year. I have really enjoyed my three years at Queen’s; getting involved in women’s issues and speaking out on behalf of international students is a personal passion.
“Queen’s has equipped me with a range of analytical, planning and leadership skills, which I know will stand me in good stead in my future career.”
Sotonye-Frank is an LLB Law graduate of the University of Jos (2000), Gift holds LLM in Gender Sexuality and Human Rights (2008) Keele University UK and an MPhil University of Leicester (2015).
Her PhD, which she will complete later this year, is entitled ‘Rethinking the Rights based Approach for Education of the Girl Child in Nigeria’.