Former Springwood High School student Benjamin Chandler has picked up a prestigious national award for a specialised research project.
The 22-year-old from Downham, who graduated from the Queen Mary University of London with first class honours in July, has been awarded the 2014 Marjorie Sweeting Dissertation Prize by the British Society for Geomorphology, in recognition of the outstanding quality of his undergraduate research.
Geomorphology is the study of the physical features of the Earth’s surface and their relation to its geological structures and the prize goes to the best undergraduate dissertation undertaken at a UK university.
Benjamin examined a mountain in north-west Scotland called Ben More Coigach and his work identified the climate conditions that would have been necessary to maintain the glaciers present across that part of Scotland some 12,000 years ago.
Now studying for an MSc at Durham, Benjamin has plans to publish his dissertation in a scientific journal.
He said: “It is an honour to have won this prestigious award and it means a lot to be recognised for something on which I worked really hard and also really enjoyed doing.”
Sharing in the delight of the achievement are his proud parents Jonathan and Debbie, and younger siblings Abigail and Samuel – together with an extremely proud great grandfather Jim Chandler who is a former president of King’s Lynn Football Club.
Helen Carty, who taught Benjamin at Springwood, said: “You come across students who are clearly good at your subject and live that subject as well outside of school in their lives – Ben was destined to be a geographer and a good one at that.
“I was overwhelmed last year when Ben came to see me and give me a copy of his dissertation; he asked me to look at the inside cover and there I read that he had dedicated his dissertation to me. It made me feel proud to have taught him and to know that he has been doing so well.”
Senior lecturer in physical geography, Dr Sven Lukas, who supervised Benjamin’s project, said the amount of detail in his dissertation was unlike any he had seen before at undergraduate level.
Dr Lucas added: “His balanced discussion of the data he had gathered showed a critical insight beyond his years. He’s been an incredibly dedicated student and has won awards for his work in each of the three years he was at Queen Mary. To be recognised by the British Society for Geomorphology, though, is truly the honour this level of work deserves.”