Swansea University student wins prestigious national award

Lauren Evans, a postgraduate student at Swansea University is the winner of this year's Gwobr Merêd – a national prize awarded annually by Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol.

The prize is in memory of Dr Meredydd Evans, and recognises the contribution of a current student who is a member of the Coleg Cymraeg to the Welsh life and culture, within the university and beyond.

Twenty-three-year-old Lauren Evans from Briton Ferry was chosen above other university students throughout Wales for her contribution to the cultural and social life at Swansea University and the wider community.

Lauren comes from a non-Welsh speaking family, and started studying Welsh at Swansea University in 2012 with little ability to communicate in Welsh. After four years of hard work and a tremendous amount of dedication, Lauren graduated with First Class Honours in Welsh in 2016. Lauren is currently studying for a master’s degree in the Department of Welsh at Swansea University.

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During her time as a student at Swansea, Lauren was elected at the Students’ Union Welsh Language Officer; acted as President of the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol’s Swansea Forum; worked as an ambassador for the university’s Reaching Wider programme; volunteered to help promote the university’s Welsh language provision; organised the university’s St David’s Day celebrations, and organised events for the University’s Welsh medium students.

As well as studying for her MA, Lauren currently works as a Development Officer for the West Glamorgan Branch of Mercher y Wawr, and is the coordinator for Tŷ’r Gwrhyd, Pontardawe’s new Welsh centre.

On receiving her Award, Lauren said: “It's a real privilege to have won this special Award in memory of Merêd, a great man and one of our nation’s giants. I've been very fortunate to receive so many opportunities to contribute to Welsh life and culture within the University and beyond in recent years. I'm so grateful to my fellow students, and mainly to the staff of Academi Hywel Teifi for all their support. I would like to thank them all!"

Dr Gwenno Ffrancon, Director of Academi Hywel Teifi added: “The University has never had from its cohort of students such a loyal servant or an effective ambassador on behalf of the Welsh language, and now the Swansea Valley and the Neath Valley and benefit greatly from Lauren’s enthusiasm and tenacity over the language. I'm delighted that the Coleg Cymraeg has chosen to recognise her outstanding work within the Welsh higher education sector and communities in the south-west, and I congratulate her warmly”.