The winners of the UCAS/The Times Love Learning competition have been announced.
Posted Fri 1 August 2014 - 00:00

An adult nursing student whose course has given her ‘insight into another world’ and a computer science undergraduate who ‘feels part of a worldwide project’ are this year’s winners of the UCAS/The Times Love Learning competition.

Molly Case, from the University of Greenwich, wrote an emotional essay about discovering her degree and supporting people in their most vulnerable times. The course turned out to be the ‘final part’ of Molly, ‘a cut-out piece of land that had been drifting somewhere for 24 years, came and slotted neatly into place’.   

James Montgomery, studying at the University of St Andrews, used stop-motion animation of an onion being sliced and then reforming to explain splitting problems into manageable layers in the world of programming to win the short video prize. 

Around 2,500 current students entered the competition that challenged them to write a 500 word essay or produce a 30 second video that shows how they have been captivated by their course.

Mary Curnock Cook, Chief Executive of UCAS said: “The second year of our Love Learning competition has given more students the chance to proclaim an unbridled passion for their subject.

“The video category brought a new element to this year’s competition. We’ve had some stunningly original films submitted, especially James’ piece that uses an onion to illustrate the complexity of computer science.

“Anyone who reads Molly’s winning essay will be hard pressed not to give deep thought to the inspiring work that nurses do every single day. And her obvious love of literature adds another dimension to her transformation story.

“Congratulations to Molly, James and our runners up on their entries which capture powerfully the sense of self creation and expansion that is the essence of higher education.”

After beginning an adult nursing degree, Molly wrote in her essay:

… this was when that final part of me, that cut-out piece of land that had been drifting somewhere for 24 years, came, and slotted neatly into place. I had found something that made me realise what our life is about. Doing a nursing degree has given me a unique insight into another world.

I have been able to support people in their most vulnerable times, a woman spending her last night in a hospital bed…we watched [her family] paying their last visits, a farewell from a brother, a last kiss with their mother – this was a holy love, a love like no other I’d seen before.

Molly Case said: “I'm absolutely thrilled to be the winner! I'm so pleased I can represent my two professions and hope that I've conveyed my passion for education and similarly, the importance of ongoing learning.”

In his creative video, that shows binary code made out of chopped onion, James tells us:

When studying at university, sometimes you’ve got to think about billions of transistors switching billions of times a second. And other times you need to move up to a higher level of understanding and focus on creating an amazing program.

James Montgomery said: “I've always loved putting together fun video projects, and saw the contest as an opportunity to express the passion I've developed for computing during my first year of study. I'm delighted to have received the grand prize, and hope my video will encourage more people to consider studying computer science at university.”

Molly and James have each won £3,000 and will also be invited to spend a day at The Times office in London. Three runners up in each category will win £1,000 plus a year’s subscription to The Times.

Sophia Beeley from University of Nottingham, Maisie Prior from Bangor University and Emma Leaper from University of the West of England are the three runners up in the essay category.

Nina di Cara from Cardiff University, Jonathan Cooper from University of Derby and Christopher Parker from University of Manchester round out the top four in the video category.



Media contacts
UCAS Press Office: 01242 545 469


UCAS is a charity and is the UK's shared admissions service for higher education. We manage applications from over 650,000 applicants each year for full-time undergraduate courses at over 350 universities and colleges across the UK.

The winning videos can be viewed directly:

James Montgomery

Nina Di Cara

Jonathan Cooper

Christopher Parker

The essay winners:

First place – overall essay winner:  Molly Case

Sophia Beeley

Maisie Prior

Emma Leaper

Related news