New Carol Vorderman Maths Access Bursaries will enable nine students to be able to enter higher education at Swansea University with additional financial support.
Carol, who grew up in north Wales in a single parent family and on free school meals, said that “mathematics in Wales changed my world for the better and I want in some way to help those who are trying to do the same.”
Read Carol’s story below
The bursary is worth £2000 for each student. It will be open to all applicants for undergraduate degree programmes in Mathematics or Actuarial Science who will start their studies with Swansea University in September 2022.
In April 2021, Carol Vorderman MBE gave a very successful and inspiring International Women’s Day talk for the Computational Foundry, which houses the Mathematics and Computer Science department at Swansea University.
Carol has been hugely influential for decades in Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), encouraging young women to study and work within the Science and Engineering sphere. In her Swansea talk, she spoke openly about her life and career and the challenges being a woman in STEM can have.
Carol visited the Bay Campus back in November 2021 and met with colleagues from the Mathematics department and Swansea University’s Vice Chancellor, Prof Paul Boyle, to discuss how her ambition to help young people from a similar background into higher education could come to life. Carol plans to visit the University again very soon.
Carol has always had a passion for Mathematics, finding inspiration at an early age from her mathematics teacher. This passion has been shared with the nation, with her being the presenter for television’s “Countdown” for 26 years. Carol strives to inspire young people, teachers and parents to enjoy mathematics through her talks, books and charitable work.
In more recent years Carol has worked at government ministerial level including writing a major report about mathematics education for the prime minister.
Prof Elaine Crooks, Head of the School of Mathematics and Computer Science at Swansea University, said:
"We are delighted to offer this great opportunity to students to study Mathematics here at Swansea University. The Carol Vorderman Maths Access bursaries demonstrate a continued commitment to inspire future generations and provide access and equality for all. We are hugely grateful to Carol for this generous donation."
Applications are now open for the first round of funding.
“Learning Mathematics in Wales changed my life” - Carol Vorderman’s story
"I was a year or two ahead in primary school in Rhyl and then met the most wonderful maths teacher in the world, Mr Palmer Parry in Blessed Edward Jones High School, Rhyl, when I was 10.
Mr Parry was strict, funny, made us work hard and made us laugh; he was clear and concise and encouraging. In the hot summer of 1976, all of us in his O Level class passed with a Grade A (there was no such thing as an A* in those days).
He taught me A level and to my knowledge (please correct me if I’m wrong) I became the first woman from a north Wales comprehensive school to get to Cambridge. These things didn’t happen back then. Not only that, Eugene, another student from my class with Mr Parry, got to Cambridge the following year and it was all thanks to him.
I was on free school meals and from a single parent family and so education was the most important thing in my world. It was my golden ticket and I loved it all, I lapped up the learning and the speed of playing with numbers.
My teacher Mrs Wynne Jones said in my school report when I was 8 years old: “Carol has a computational ability with numbers which could prove profitable in later life.” How right she was when years later I began a 26-year job solving the numbers game on Countdown.
So, what has this got to do with the bursaries? It has everything to do with them. Because of that education I was able to form a financial stability and get myself into a position to give back properly. Mathematics in Wales changed my world for the better and I want in some way to help those who are trying to do the same. They may not be lucky enough to have a Mr Parry or to have people encouraging them to follow Mathematics at university.
We are all here to encourage you to follow that path and hopefully these bursaries will help some of you to do exactly that. I wish you all the luck in the world and here’s to a bit of playful mathematics in the years to come.”