Louise began studying BSc Plant Science with Foundation Year after completing a Royal Horticultural Society level 2 diploma in the Principles and Practices of Horticulture. Since graduating, she's won two awards from the British Society of Plant Pathology and completed a Master's degree. She tells us about her experience.

"In 2017/18 I undertook the Royal Horticultural Society’s level 2 diploma in the Principles and Practices of Horticulture in order to improve my gardening knowledge and skills, with a view to possibly setting up my own gardening business. It transpired I was drawn more to the science side of horticulture and nature, and I decided to pursue a degree in plant science.

Luckily for me, CCCU was the closest university to my home in Sussex that offered Plant Science – one of only a handful of universities in the UK offering this degree. Had another university been closer to home, I would still choose Canterbury.

"The teaching staff were always encouraging and happy to help me. They were always happy to meet with me or answer my emails promptly to go over things I needed explaining or help with.

Dr Alec Forsyth, my project supervisor, nominated me for both British Society of Plant Pathology (BSPP) awards, and I am very grateful for his support and guidance, as well as that from Dr Tyler Howell-Bray throughout my degree.”

These nominations were successful and she became the winner of:

  • BSPP prize for the best undergraduate exam performance in plant pathology 2022
  • BSPP prize for the best undergraduate research in plant pathology 2022.

The latter was awarded for her Honour's project entitled: ‘Towards creating an infections clone of nerine yellow stripe virus’ – one of the most prevalent and damaging crop viruses in the world.

Louise Jones with her award certificates.

Community at CCCU

The community at CCCU is one of the things Louise puts as a highlight of studying here, and why she continued to Master's level.

“CCCU is a very friendly and inclusive environment. As a mature student, this was much welcomed, and from the start of my degree I really felt I fitted in. I had the best teachers, a beautiful smile from Wilson in estates every morning I came into the labs, and a fabulous bacon roll for breakfast on a Friday, prepared by the fabulous Dianne from catering.

“I started my MRes (Master's by Research) here in collaboration with the RHS. I was hosted by the RHS plant health and biosecurity team at RHS Wisley in Surrey, in their brand-new research centre, Hill Tops."

What's next?

“From here, I hope to undertake a PhD in the field of plant health. As for students thinking of studying at CCCU, I would say that from excellent teaching and support staff, to state-of-the-art science facilities in the  Verena Holmes building, this University has everything with a cherry on top to make your undergraduate experience a success, as long as you are prepared to work hard and commit to your studies.”

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