An inspirational student from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) who was taken into social care as a teenager and went on to study to be a paediatric surgeon, has been recognised with a prestigious award.
Diana Omokore was chosen from hundreds of nominations to receive the Festival of Learning 2019 Outstanding Individual Learner award.
As a child Diana was taken in to care and regularly had to move home and change schools. While she didn’t get the support that she needed, Diana’s experience of living in care motivated her to be the best that she could be.
She worked hard throughout school, achieving 10 A*- B grades at GCSE. Diana excelled in music, learning to play many instruments including the piano, flute, guitar, alto saxophone, drums, clarinet and violin, and played in a youth orchestra.
Having had a difficult upbringing before being in care, Diana is passionate about helping other children at risk.
Following work experience abroad, she decided to pursue a career as a paediatric surgeon, and she is now studying Medical Science at DMU.
Alongside her studies, Diana is an NSPCC ambassador and member of their youth advisory board as well as a Childline volunteer.
Organised by Learning and Work Institute, and supported by the Department for Education, Festival of Learning is an annual campaign which celebrates the power of learning to transform lives, and aims to encourage more adults to take part.
Diana said: “Education has always been my focus and I saw it as a way out of my difficult experiences living at home. I’m now working towards scoring high marks in my medical science degree so I can go on to become a paediatric surgeon and I want to be a good role model for people who have had similar experiences to mine.”
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Melissa Page, HE guidance officer at De Montfort University, said “Even though Diana hasn’t had the support of a stable family home she has made the most of all opportunities available to her and her achievements to date are remarkable.”
Stephen Evans, chief executive, Learning and Work Institute said, “Diana has shown outstanding determination and motivation to overcome all odds on her learning journey. Only 1 in 14 care leavers progress to higher education, compared to half of all young people, so it is important that we share stories like Diana’s to inspire others. We are delighted to give this award to Diana and wish her every success in her studies and future career.
"Festival of Learning is all about the inspirational stories of people like Diana, which show that everyone can benefit from learning. Lifelong learning is vital for all of us as jobs and society change around us. We encourage everyone to give learning a try so if you’ve been inspired by Diana’s story, and if you want to find out how learning could benefit you, get in touch your local college, community learning provider or the National Careers Service.”
Posted on Tuesday 2nd July 2019