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The fight against Coronavirus inspires A* learner to pursue a career in medical research

Josie Wood is off to study Natural Sciences at Bath University after exceeding the grades she needs

The Coronavirus may have disrupted her A level exams, but the fight to defeat the virus has inspired an A* learner from Coleg y Cymoedd to pursue a career in medical research.

Josie Wood’s passion for science existed long before the pandemic, as is evidenced by the news that today she has A*AAA in Biology, Chemistry, Maths and French.

However, after witnessing the tireless efforts of researchers and scientists around the world working to defeat the virus, she now feels a career in virology or epidemiology may be calling.

Having secured the grades needed to study Natural Sciences at Bath University, Josie is on the path that she hopes will one day see her in a lab working to develop treatments that can help people and save lives.

While she would prefer to stay modest, this gifted learner already has a track record in working to assist others. In addition to her own studies, Josie has served as a student ambassador during her time at Coleg y Cymoedd and shared her natural language skills while serving as a French mentor to fellow students at the college.

Joise,18, from Blackwood, said: “I’ve always enjoyed science, but after everything the world has seen over this year, I’m really interested in pursuing a career in research. Bath University’s Natural Sciences course comes with a tough conditional offer, so I’m really happy to have got what I needed.

“It’s still a daunting five-year course, which includes a Masters degree, but it will also let me take a placement year in a lab and that’s really exciting. This hasn’t been the year any of us expected, but I’m grateful for all my tutors have done to help me get the grades I needed. I hope that one day I’ll be able to use some of what I’ve learned here to help others.”

Josie’s impressive grades come as Coleg y Cymoedd has reported its third successive record-breaking year of A-level and vocational results.

The college’s Nantgarw-based A-level Centre, which switched to remote learning in March following the Covid-19 outbreak, has achieved a 99.7 per cent overall pass rate, with the number of learners attaining A*-C grades up to 80.9 % per cent at A2 and the majority of A2 subject areas securing a 100 per cent pass rate, including the sciences, humanities, further maths and English.

The results continue a trend of improvement for the college, which has had to adapt its teaching and pastoral care practices to support leaners as they work from home via online lectures, virtual catch ups and continual check ins.

Karen Phillips, Principal of Coleg y Cymoedd, said: “This has been a very different year for our learners as they have navigated studies through a global pandemic and national lockdown. We have been amazed by the hard work, dedication, and resilience that they have shown as we have all adapted to working from home.

“While we cannot celebrate with learners in person this year and are missing our usual campus festivities, on behalf of the college I congratulate all who have received their results today.  We wish them the very best for the future, whether they’re planning on heading to university, apprenticeships, further education, training, or employment – we’ll be keeping in touch with them all and watching their fantastic progress closely.”