In 2009 the inaugural RIBA Stephen Williams Scholarship was awarded to Laura Collins, who received funding to complete her Part 2 Studies at the University of Sheffield during the academic year 2009/10. Laura describes the impact the scholarship has had on her career:
'I feel extremely honoured to have won the award which supported me financially and allowed me to capitalise on a number of opportunities which served to enhance the final year of my architectural study. The support of Aedas, particularly David Simister [Creative Director at Aedas], who provided enormously helpful comments and advice in his role as mentor, formed the backdrop to my design work and I cannot underestimate its significance to me during my final year of study at the University of Sheffield.
Since completing my Part 2 studies I have moved to London amidst a difficult economic climate but have been successful in securing job opportunities with several firms, which I am certain, is thanks to my extensive work experience and self-motivated attitude both within and outside the university studio life. Aedas have continued to offer me both career advice and work opportunities during my time working in London and this pays testament to the significant role that the scholarship has played in my life these last few years.
The network of opportunities that the scholarship has opened up to me has been fantastic and I would encourage any architecture student to apply for similar funding schemes organised by the RIBA Education Department.'
Laura Collins, January 2012