Young mum Laura Brindley was told to forget about her education after giving birth to her son aged 18.
But she chose to ignore the doubters.
She is now in her third year of a Biomedical Science degree at Coventry University and has pitched an idea for a medical innovation to the chief executive of a pharmaceutical company, a project which is now in the process of being funded.
And Laura has just won a Woman Who…Rising Star in Further Education or Training for her achievements and for overcoming adversity.
She wants to spread the message to other women that having a child or being a young mum does not have to mean you give up on your education.
The 22-year-old said:
“I was a single mum, on my own at 18 and everybody told me ‘you can’t have your education, forget about succeeding in life’.
“Society seems to think it is the end of the world, and many people in my position reluctantly give up and accept this fate. But I didn’t let them stop me and I want to empower other women to do the same and realise their dreams and potential.
“I’m always driving to succeed and passionate about my field. I refused to let the most difficult time in my life define me negatively, and rather I let it demonstrate my capability in dealing within the consequences.
“There are so many people around telling young women who have children what they can’t do. I want women and mums to know that they can do whatever they want if they are willing to work hard, persevere and be resilient.”
Laura started a foundation year in Health and Life Sciences at Coventry University College (CUC), now CU Coventry, just a few weeks after her son Tyler was born.
She balanced motherhood, studying and working night shifts as a carer – and went on to get a first.
She then moved on to a Biomedical Science degree at Coventry University, and is currently on a placement year working at pharmaceutical company Nemaura Pharma Ltd, based in Loughborough.
While she has been working there, she came up with an idea for a medical device for a chronic illness, inspired by her brother’s treatment for a debilitating chronic condition.
After support from her colleagues, she ended up pitching her idea to the company’s chief executive.
Although she is unable to reveal anything about the innovation, she has already travelled to London, Edinburgh and Germany to speak to collaborators about the idea, which is now in the process of being funded.
Laura, who lives in Sharnford, Leicestershire, was recently presented with the Woman Who…Rising Star in Further Education or Training award at a ceremony at Coombe Abbey Park
“The event was such a great experience and I really can’t believe it.”
Judge Sharon Redrobe, from Twycross Zoo, which sponsored the award category said:
"Laura was chosen as the winner in this category as she has really pushed herself in the face of adversity. Juggling normal life and study with a young family is difficult and she was recognised for her courage, determination and tenacity."
Laura is also working to set up a Crest awards scheme at a local secondary school, a project-based awards scheme for the Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) run by the British Science Association.
And she has also recently got the ball rolling founding a women’s STEM careers society at the university to build a network of support and opportunities.
“These subjects are still male dominated. I really want to inspire girls to get into these areas – and I also want to be an advocate to show woman with children what they can achieve.”
Ann Green, Head of the University’s School of Life Sciences, said:
“We are all very proud of Laura’s achievements. She has made a real impact in her university life and while on her placement. She is an excellent role model and should be an inspiration to any young women looking to further education or a career in science, technology or maths subjects.”
For further press information or to arrange an interview with Laura, please contact Alison Martin, media and communications officer, Coventry University, on 02477659339 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.