Ryan Ward (U17) is a fourth year Mathematician from Marton, Middlesbrough, with a particular interest in applied mathematics and theoretical physics. Ryan attended The King’s Academy, a state comprehensive in Coulby Newham, and is proud to be the first person in his family to attend University.

Ryan receives a full Cambridge Bursary and a Winston Churchill Top-Up Bursary – support he has received since he first joined Churchill. The funding has enabled Ryan to concentrate on his studies rather than constantly having to worry about financial issues.

Without the financial support, taking my place at Cambridge would have been tough and would have made studies hard. I would have had to work over the breaks to be able to afford to stay at Churchill, but thankfully I am able to focus on my studies because of this support.

The financial support Ryan has received enabled him to purchase a bike when he first arrived at Cambridge, and it was also crucial in enabling him to take up an unpaid internship opportunity that would otherwise have been closed to him, due to his financial circumstances.

In my second year my bursary paid for me to complete an eight week unpaid research programme at the centre for Mathematical Sciences, my accommodation and food was covered thanks to the bursary. My research programme was invaluable to me, gaining new skills in coding, attending conference on climate dynamics and it is an excellent addition to my CV for future employers.

Churchill College has also provided Ryan with the perfect setting in which to study and make friends, ‘everyone is friendly and the atmosphere around campus is relaxed and happy. I feel like I belong here’. In fact, it is these friendships and the incredible teaching that he has experienced since joining Churchill that he most values about his time here thus far:

The highlight of my time here at College is the friends I have made and the experience of learning from the best mathematicians in the world, I never believed somebody from my background would ever be in my position.

In his spare time Ryan plays badminton and pool – a club which he helped re-start and for which he is also the treasurer. He has also taken up boxing and hopes to gain his blues. These are all opportunities Ryan notes would never have been possible without bursary support, because his parents are unable to help him financially.

The bursary support that Ryan receives was also important during lockdown when he had to carry out his revision independently at home and needed access to resources; ‘the Cambridge bursary helped massively with the finances in such a difficult time’. After his hard work this year, Ryan was delighted to secure a place for a 4th year studying for a masters in mathematics at Churchill. Longer-term he hopes to follow a research-based career, either at Cambridge or elsewhere in the world as he would like to experience academia in other countries. In the meantime, Ryan is hugely grateful to have been given the ‘life changing experience’ of coming to Churchill, and is looking forward to continuing his journey.