Saint student Rebecca Lawrence has gained a First Class degree in Veterinary Medical Sciences – along with experience looking after llamas.
And she achieved the highest mark in her year group at The University of Nottingham for her dissertation, on the effects of essential oils on flu infections.
She now has another two years’ work ahead of her to qualify as a veterinary surgeon.
Rebecca – who, aptly, hails from Cowpath – spent a year working with livestock on St Helena before going to England to study in 2012.
Her course included working on several farms with sheep, cattle, pigs and horses.
She also spent three weeks in France studying animal behaviour with llamas.
Joe Hollins, the senior vet on St Helena, said: “Rebecca has done well.
“She worked with us in the veterinary section for a year before going to the UK, and I was impressed by her dedication, intelligence and understanding, with a very quick grasp of the science and practicality of veterinary work.”
But he said she will have to gain wide experience once she graduates, “which can only be gained with the passage of time.”
He said people should not assume she would return to practise on St Helena as soon as she has qualified.
“The role here is that of a generalist, ranging through a plethora of issues such as clinical and surgical work, public health, conservation, pest control, legislation, animal welfare, fisheries, biosecurity, outbreak control… and the list goes on.”
St Helena’s chief secretary, Roy Burke, said: “Rebecca has achieved something truly outstanding in a very demanding subject.”
Rebecca thanked her friends and family in the UK, “especially my sister Laura who has been invaluable during the last three years”, and also Kedell Worboys, St Helena’s representative in London.
Her course is fully funded by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission – which normally only pays for three-year degree courses.