Sam Smith

It was a talk given by a Churchill Outreach Officer that first inspired second-year undergraduate Sam Smith (U17) to set his sights on applying to Cambridge and Churchill, to study Natural Sciences.

Sam, who attended Monmouth Comprehensive, a non-selective state school in South Wales without a history of Oxbridge admissions, has since returned to his school to talk about his experience in the hope that he can help encourage and inspire other talented students to consider applying.

As a result of his family’s financial circumstances, Sam receives a full Cambridge Bursary of £3,500 in addition to a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Bursary of £2,000. He is no doubt about the direct impact this crucial support has had on his ability to take up his place and achieve his potential:

"Receiving the bursary support means I now do not have to work outside of term time, which I would otherwise have to do to fund my course; I can focus on achieving the best grades possible without financial pressures. Also, having discovered interests in new subjects that I had not done at school (e.g. geology) I would very much like to do some work experience related to this over the vacation — the bursary will certainly help towards this."

Sam really enjoys the friendly, unpretentious and down to earth atmosphere at Churchill and also appreciates the on-site facilities, particularly the ‘"large, open green spaces to wonder about in when studies become too much." Having come from a school where maybe just 3 or 4 people shared similar interests, the highlight of his time here so far has been meeting so many like-minded people. Sam has also loved the opportunity to discover new hobbies such as rowing, "something which I have never done before and now I am hooked!"

In his spare time, Sam enjoys outdoor pursuits like rambling, cycling and canoeing and attending evening astronomy lectures. Looking beyond his current studies he would like to travel — having been inspired by all the locations featured on presentations in his geology lectures. He is not entirely sure of his career aspirations yet but he is interested in doing something involving sustainable energy to help reduce climate change or following his passion for astronomy.

Read more student stories