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St Andrews Student Leader of the Year Award

 Leader award header

The purpose of the “St Andrews Student Leader of the Year Award” is to recognise and celebrate the excellent examples of leadership shown by our students which made the biggest contribution to the growth and vitality of the University of St Andrews or the broader community. We recognise leadership in all its forms.

Nominations open 1st March - 1st April 2021

Who is eligible?

The Award is open to all matriculated students at the University of St Andrews, both undergraduates and postgraduates who have displayed peer leadership and self-leadership qualities during their university studies.


The winner will receive funding up to £300 to attend a personal development event of their choice and the award will figure on their degree transcript.

What are we looking for in successful candidates?

Applicants will be judged against criteria that include innovation and vision in their leadership activities, resilience and adaptability to new challenges, personal effectiveness, dedication to self-development, and working with others within the team and/or the broader community.

This is not an academic award. We welcome applications from a broad variety of leadership backgrounds – sports, student societies, charities, student enterprise, start-ups, both team members and team leaders.

The St Andrews Student Leader of the Year Award is designed to celebrate peer leadership and promote personal development.

Nomination and application process

All students are welcome to nominate themselves, or nominate a peer. Applications are now open! 

To nominate a peer, send an email to with the person's name and email addres and a short explanation of why you would like to nominate them.  They will then be contacted and invited to fill in an application.

To nominate yourself or if you have been nominated by someone else,  fill in an application form on My Saint.  Click on 'My Applications'; under 'e:Vision applications', click on Scholarships and funding to access the scholarships and funding catalogue.  Select 'Projects and Initiatives' for the 'Award type' to bring up the Leader of the Year Application.  If you have any problems with the application process please contact


2020/2021 Finalist and Winner 

In 2021, we received 83 applications for the Student Leader of the Year award – more than any other year. Every application was strong and choosing a winner was very challenging. We would like to congratulate all applicants – especially our finalists and winner – for their incredible achievements this year and for the contributions they make to our community. 


Elise Lenzi is a 4th year Undergraduate student in the School of Philosophy. She has been recognised for her outstanding leadership as this year’s Coordinator of Got Consent and the SRC Member for Gender Equality. In these roles, Elise has worked on numerous projects with other counsellors and with seven committee members who she manages. Most significantly, Elise led the development of a new training workshop on consent and sexual misconduct. In 2020, Elise took advantage of the move to online learning, transforming this workshop into an online module which, thanks to Elise’s enthusiasm and commitment, was made mandatory for all students. All 10,000 of the University’s students completed this training this academic year, and every future student joining the University must also complete the course. This has helped increase understanding across the student body of affirmative consent, related UK laws and university policies, and how people can safely intervene if they witness potential sexual harassment or violence. Elise also helped develop Report+Support’ – the University’s new tool for reporting instances of bullying, harassment, discrimination, and sexual violence – by helping write many of the content pages. She additionally developed a dedicated training workshop on consent for student leaders and passed motions through councils and the Athletic Union to make them mandatory. Four other universities across the UK have since reached out to Elise both to complement these achievements and to get help setting up similar programmes at their universities. 

Across these roles and achievements, Elise has demonstrated exceptional innovation, resilience, and vision, transforming challenges into opportunities, and working relentlessly to achieve her personal and professional goals. In her leadership positions, Elise has collaborated effectively with student leaders, sports captains, school presidents, Student Services, and various University departments and teams, and has personally mentored three women to help them develop ideas and events, write policies, and run for student election. Elise is a highly deserving winner of the Student Leader of the Year 2021 Award and we congratulate her on this fantastic achievement. 


Abi Whitefield is a PhD student in the School of Geography & Sustainable Development. As this year’s Postgraduate Academic Officer, Abi has represented all taught and research postgraduate students at the University, focussing primarily on academic matters. In this role, Abi took initiative to improve the postgraduate academic representation system in St Andrews: after conducting a survey of last year’s postgraduate reps, school presidents, and Directors of Postgraduate Research and Teaching, Abi improved training and communication channels for class reps in line with needs identified. These efforts have helped raise the voices of the Postgraduate community and created lasting improvements to the representation system. 

Ananya Jain is a 3rd year Undergraduate student studying Art History and English. As Member for Racial Equality (BAME Officer), Ananya co-authored and edited the BAME Action Plan report that was presented to the Principal at the BAME Students Roundtable. She further established the BAME Students’ Network Subcommittee and recruited a 16-person committee that she subsequently led. Under Ananya’s leadership, this committee has worked on training, reporting and outreach, education curricula, wellbeing, and community engagement. Across the year, the Network has provided a space to connect with other students, while working with the University to tackle institutional racism and lack of diversity.  

Chloe Fielding is a 3rd year Undergraduate student in the School of Psychology. As this year’s Science and Medicine Faculty President, Chloe has worked collaboratively with School Presidents and Class Reps on matters of wellbeing, accessibility, EDI (equality, diversity, inclusion), and mentoring. In this role, Chloe created the Schools’ Wellbeing Advisory Group (SWAG) to address matters of academic wellbeing, and introduced Disabilities Reps into Schools to improve support and representation for disabled students. She has also served as Student Ambassador, an intern for the University’s Professional Skills Curriculum, and Senior Student of University Hall, helping support and develop students across the University.  

Deanna Coleman is a 4th year Undergraduate student in the School of International Relations. As a member of the University’s Environmental Sustainability Board, Deanna single-handedly researched and proposed the St Andrews Forest Initiative which seeks to offset student travel emissions. The Initiative has been nominated by Yale University for the Global University Climate Forum and is currently being developed into a business plan for presentation to the University Court. Deanna has also led the development of a new CEED workshop on Carbon Management and Sustainable Curriculum Design, allowing students to create their own curriculum, and created the Saints Sport’s Green Sport Group – the first of its kind in the UK.  

2019/20 Finalist and Winner

WinnerSophia Rommel is a 4th- year student in the Schools of International Relations and Philosophy. She is being recognised for the excellent examples of leadership she has shown in multiple roles over the last year. Over the course of the year, Sophia successfully managed and delivered a variety of leadership roles. She has worked as the Philosophy School President, Arts & Divinity Faculty President, and the Senior Student Ambassador. She also acted as the Philosophy Society's Diversity and Outreach Officer, Head of the Women and Minorities in Philosophy Society, and the Undergraduate Rep for the SASP Minorities and Philosophy Chapter. More importantly, her leadership has encompassed an interdisciplinary approach where she has worked across the schools of International Relations and Philosophy. The interdisciplinary and inter-school approach of Sophia’s leadership is evident through her participation in the Intersectional IR Conference's Guest Liaison team, as a Founding Member of the Hong Kong Public Affairs and Social Services Society, and as the Founder and Coordinator of the Philosophy Buddy Scheme. 

Through her involvement in multiple leadership roles, Sophia has shown an innovative vision of leadership. Her leadership vision has sought to represent, amplify, and respond to students' voices. She believes that her leadership style is democratic whereby she seeks to lead as well be accessible to her team as a peer. Within this vision in place, as a Philosophy School President, she responded to the necessary student feedback by founding a non-academic mentoring scheme to connect undergraduate students of all years. Moreover, she also created an inter-school Humanities Careers Fayre that students from all disciplines across Arts and Humanities benefited from. Furthermore, both as a School President and as the Minorities and Philosophy undergraduate representative, she facilitated a highly successful interdisciplinary discussion panel on ethnicity and academia. Other than this, as a Faculty President, she used her innovative leadership vision to redraft the School President role description for the benefit of future School Presidents at the university. Sophia’s strong leadership has impacted the students’ community at the university in a variety of different ways. The Philosophy Buddy Scheme that she founded has successfully moved into its second year. Furthermore, she submitted the Athena Swan application as a School President as well. Many congratulations to Sophia for becoming the Student Leader of the Year in 2020.  


Finalist: Françoise Borderie is a 5th-year student in the School of Modern Languages. She has shown extraordinary leadership through her role as the Charities Officer. She has successfully led the Charities Campaign and its various subcommittees consisting of around seventy people this past year. Her role involved multiple leadership opportunities where she was required to chair meetings as well as advice committee members. She also took on a challenging role as a Responsible Person during Race2 and coordinated a Safety Team as well. As a Charities Officer, she also a created a first-of-its- Training Day at the start of the academic year for all members of the various subcommittees. She had to liaison with multiple people across the university, such as, CAPOD, Got Consent, Careers Centre and the DoSDA. The training event was hugely successful and addressed several important issues, including, the collaboration between subcommittees, knowledge about the charities that they support, understanding Union regulations, recognition of the responsibilities as a Union subcommittee as well as rewarding the



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