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'Surprised but elated': Lara Vincent-Young, Black Heritage Undergraduate of the Year 2021

Exeter student wins Black Heritage Undergraduate of the Year Award

A student from the University of Exeter Business School has been named Black Heritage Undergraduate of the Year 2021.

Lara Vincent-Young, 21, a final year student of Business and Management with Industrial Experience, won the award after being named on a short-list of 10 students from universities across the UK.

The award seeks to recognise exceptional undergraduates with Black Heritage who can demonstrate they are passionate about helping others, are champions of diversity and inclusion and have a knack for solving problems. 

Lara is a passionate advocate for improving student diversity and has worked as a student ambassador for the Business School throughout her time at Exeter.

She has worked at open days for the Business School’s Recruitment and Widening Participation Team, taking part in promotional activities and giving presentations to prospective students and parents.

She has also served on the student-staff liaison committee, helping to improve understanding between students and staff, and is now an employability ambassador in the Business School Career Zone.

Lara said she felt “surprised but elated” to have won the award.

She said: “I’d seen it advertised before, but it was only in my final year that I developed the confidence to apply, which in part was due to my year out on industrial placement, where I got to do so much more than I expected and was put in so many situations where I had to use my initiative and problem solve.

“Once back at university I was better able to reflect on everything that I’ve done during my time at Exeter and thought I may as well just go for it.” 

After learning that she had reached the awards finals, Lara said: “Having an award like this shows that people are realising the potential that people with Black Heritage do have.

“Something I found quite refreshing about it was that although they do want me to champion diversity, it’s more focused on ability, not just colour.”

“It was more about who I was as a person, what I’ve been able to achieve and I think that’s something that is perhaps not spoken about enough and can fly under the radar.

“It’s really refreshing not to be siloed as a Person of Colour and to have the opportunity to celebrate the things I’ve been able to do over my undergraduate career.”

The Black Heritage Undergraduate of the Year 2021 is part of the TARGETjobs Undergraduate of the Year Awards.

Lara’s prize is a unique experience with award sponsors Police Now, a charity that aims to transform communities by inspiring, recruiting and developing leaders in policing.

Professor David Boughey, Associate Dean (Education) of the Business School, said Lara was a “great credit to the Business School” and praised her “initiative and drive in supporting our activities and fellow students”.

He said: “Presenting with Lara at Open Days and other events is always great fun. She exudes confidence, taking audiences on her journey, and thereby enthusing others with a passion for higher education and achievement.”

Oli Young, Senior Lecturer and Chief Diversity Officer for the University of Exeter Business School added: “One of the key steps to achieving greater equality is for everyone to listen and understand the difficulties faced by different groups in our community. Lara has been integral to this as she has shared her experiences and perspectives widely, allowing us to learn from each other and create a safe and positive learning environment.”

Date: 6 May 2021

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