St Mary’s Student Awarded Prestigious Trip To US

A St Mary’s student has impressed an academic commission so much they’ve rewarded him with an all expenses paid, 5-week long trip to experience life, culture and education in Washington DC.

Alex Hygate, who is studying for his master’s degree in physics at the University of St Andrews, is one of just only 50 British or American undergraduate students chosen for the Fullbright Commission summer programme.

Alex wrote to the Commission, outlining his academic and work commitments and then was invited to Newcastle to be interviewed by a panel of three. He said he thought it went well but says he didn’t know for sure and hoped for the best.

Alex was an islands’ member of youth parliament and says some of the special events arranged for participants in the programme were fascinating. These included a trip to the Capitol building in Washington where the group met a senator who talked about politics in the country.

It was Alex’s first trip to the U.S.A and he says he was asked a lot about the islands.

He found that the university programmes are broader there, with what they call a “liberal arts” education – students study more subjects than the British over four years rather than three.

After his masters, Alex is hoping to pursue a Ph.D. in physics and then work in research and teaching. He hasn’t ruled out working in the USA, as he was impressed with what he saw and says their facilities are excellent, although he feels he’d prefer to stay in the UK.