Portsmouth’s crème de la creme

Best of the best: Danielle Hayter

Best of the best: Danielle Hayter

Two recent graduates from the University of Portsmouth have won highly competitive national prizes for their in-depth understanding of modern France.

Danielle Hayter, 23, and Liam Jones, 24, graduated this year with first class degrees from the School of Languages and Area Studies.

It is the first time a single university has won both prizes in the competition, which is organised by the Association for the Study of Modern and Contemporary France.

Danielle, now studying for her Masters in International Relations and European Studies and working part-time at Sainsbury’s in Guildhall Walk, won the Brian Darling Prize for the best undergraduate essay in French Studies.

She said winning was a surprise and the “cherry on the cake”.

“It was the best piece of work I’d done throughout my undergraduate studies as it drew upon all the knowledge I’d learned about the topic as well as how to write and structure an essay,” she said.

“When I wrote the essay, all I wanted to do was meet the deadline and submit something that maybe even got a good mark. Winning this competition is really like the cherry on top of the cake. To have my hard work from the last year be recognised in this way really gives me a lot of confidence in pursuing my Masters and hopefully it will be something that stands out on my CV.”

Danielle’s 5,000-word essay examined how and why the contribution of African soldiers to the French war effort during the Second World War has been remembered in France and Senegal since the mid-1990s.

She said: “I have to sing the praises of those who gave me amazing support, including academic mentors who I saw every week and without whose help I am sure I wouldn’t be celebrating.”

Liam Jones won the Douglas Johnson Prize for the best dissertation on a French subject. His study analysed the motives behind increased Franco-German economic integration in Europe from 1982-1995 and its consequences.

Liam, who is now working as an English teacher in a French university, said he was very pleased to have won the award.

Principal Lecturer in French and European Studies Emmanuel Godin said the School was delighted to have scooped both the top prizes.

He said: “These prizes are highly competitive. All universities from across the UK enter their best work and this is the first time that both prizes have been won by one university, a success that testifies to the strength of French and Modern Languages at Portsmouth.”

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  1. It would be great to have a link to the Danielle’s and Liam’s winning entries. Congratulations to both of them and the French and European studies department.

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