Prize winning graduate sad to leave Bangor!

Paul James Davison, 21, from Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, who graduated with a Masters in Zoology this week, was awarded the Ian Herbert Memorial Prize for the best Masters student in Applied Biology.

Paul, a former pupil of  St Benedicts Upper School, said: “When I was told that I had won the Ian Herbert Memorial Prize it was a complete surprise and I was thrilled, I wasn’t expecting it at all. It makes all the hard work seem even more worthwhile.

“I can’t believe I’m graduating already, the last four years have gone in a flash. It feels strange to be finally leaving Bangor; it hasn’t quite sunk in yet. But I’m very excited about going on to do a PhD (hopefully!)

Highlights of Paul’s time at Bangor include a field trips to Gambia, Tenerife and Gran Canaria. He said: “I guess fieldtrips are one of the perks of doing zoology. The Gambia trip was especially memorable as I’d only ever been abroad once before that. Going to Africa was amazing, and it was a great opportunity to see some stunning wildlife; the birds in particular were beautiful. The best part was bird watching from canoes in the mangrove swamps.

“During my time here I also volunteered down at Treborth Botanic Gardens. I made a lot of friends there, particularly a retired academic, Dick Loxton. We would talk endlessly about zoology, evolution and philosophy. Without meeting Dick I might not have won the Ian Herbert prize or be applying for PhDs now, and I think this must count as the biggest highlight and I owe my intellectual development to him. There are some things you simply can’t get from lectures alone.”

About his course, he said: “I’ve been interested in wildlife from an early age and was a keen birdwatcher, so a zoology degree seemed the logical choice. In some ways it’s ironic that I’ve won the Ian Herbert prize as I used to hate school when I was younger- in fact, biology was my worst A-level result! Now I love reading and biology is my best subject.

“I’ve really enjoyed doing my two research projects. It’s a great feeling to do things that nobody has done before.”

About Bangor, he added: “I wanted to go somewhere that had a good course, was a good distance from home and was different from home (i.e. not flat!). Bangor ticked all the boxes and after the first Open Day I was hooked- the course sounded great and the scenery was beautiful. I couldn’t wait to get started.

“It has been a privilege to have lived in Bangor for four years. After a while you take for granted walking out of your front door and seeing mountains and over to the Great Orme, but now I’ve left I really miss it.”

“I’ve worked on a number of Open Days as it’s an opportunity to get across to visitors my enthusiasm for Bangor and what a great place it is to live”

Publication date: 13 July 2011