We are proud to announce that Guild member Olenka Bordakova’s submission for the University of Durham’s Michael Bruce Essay Prize Competition of 2020 has been Highly Commended.

Olenka (2017-2019, Cambray) first came to the UK as part of the Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline Charity and joined College in 2017. After completing her A Levels she gained a place to study Politics and International Relations at the College of St Hild & St Bede at Durham University in 2019.

Michael Bruce was an alumnus of the College of St Hild & St Bede, Student Representative Council President between 2000-01, a member of the College Advisory Board and their Caedmon Ceolfrid Trust Board. This prize recognises Michael’s strong support for students who join the university from families and educational settings where there is not a tradition of higher education.

The competition is open to first year students who come from a similar background. To enter, they submit an essay entitled, ‘What Durham Means to Me’ – a personal story of living and studying in Durham.

The University felt that Olenka “wrote with passion and force and authenticity about her experiences of our University and College” and, while Olenka’s unique journey to the University of Durham is not typical of entrants for the competition, they wanted to recognise and celebrate the many and various routes that their students take.

Click here to read Olenka's submission.