The first Paul Wilson scholarship has been awarded to Harper Adams University BSc (Hons) Countryside and Environmental Management student Ellen Humphrey.
Ellen’s passion for the countryside stems from her childhood after her parents moved from a terraced cottage to live on a farm.
The 25 year-old from Llandovery, Carmarthenshire, said: “My decision to study a BSc degree in Countryside and Environmental Management at Harper stems from a passion for the countryside that started in my childhood. When I was four years old, my parents made the decision to move from a two-up-two-down terraced, mining cottage to a remote 200 acre, hill farm in the upper Towy Valley.
“As the farm was owned by a conservation organisation, we were expected to manage the farm in an environmentally conscious way. My parents worked hard to get the farm back in working order, often assisted by kind neighbours and my brother and I contributing as best as we could.
“Eventually we got the hang of it and I grew up covered in mud, lifting bales, checking sheep and moving cows. I enjoyed getting stuck in with the practical farm work and spending time with livestock.
“I also developed a deep appreciation of the natural environment and an understanding that agriculture and the environment are intrinsically co-dependent.
“Nowadays, I greatly appreciate how growing up on the farm has shaped who I am and how I see the world.
“I did not come to Harper Adams straight from the farm though. After I left secondary school, I tried a variety of jobs and courses as I tried to find a career that felt right for me. I enjoyed living in different places and learning new things, but I still felt I hadn’t found the right career.
“With hindsight, it should have been obvious to me a lot earlier that a career in the rural sector would tick all the right boxes. Soon after this epiphany, I discovered the BSc (Hons) Countryside and Environmental Management course at Harper.
“Harper felt right for me from the moment I stepped out of my car at an open day and inhaled a good waft of poultry manure. Finding the right degree and career path has motivated me to work hard to achieve the best results I can.
“It’s an honour to be the Paul Wilson scholar. The financial support from the Paul Wilson scholarship is amazing because it has taken the worry out of funding my HRP project and it also opens doors to further career development opportunities.
“I’m extremely grateful to all those involved in establishing the Paul Wilson scholarship, particularly Carolyn Wilson.
“My current goal is to graduate with a first class in my degree. Long-term, I wish to pursue a dynamic career in the agricultural sector.”
The Paul Wilson Scholarship was launched last year in memory of the late agronomist Paul Wilson.