A MOTHER of three is celebrating after winning a top award at the University of Bolton.

Student Nisha Sykes has received the British Psychology Society - Undergraduate Award after achieving the highest overall score in her degree programme.

Nisha, who is 35 and has three boys, Ben, aged 16, Thomas, 15 and George, seven, graduated in July after studying for a degree in Psychology, Psychotherapy and Counselling.

Her final year dissertation was a piece of work examining the impact on adults, in different age ranges, of having fathers that were absent during childhood as a result of ‘family discord’.

She said: “I am so proud to win this award. It has been challenging with all the exams, assignments and keeping up with family life, but overall I have loved it.”

Nisha, who lives in Westhoughton, has worked in wellbeing support at primary school level and at Essa Academy in Bolton and says she realised that she needed to get relevant qualifications to further her career.

She attended a University of Bolton open day and, with the full support of her husband James, enrolled on the psychology programme.

She said: “Having been used to a regular daily routine, structure and a full-time job, going to university and having a husband three children was a really big deal. James and the boys have been brilliant, they have supported me all the way.”

“All the tutors have been amazing and in particular, the support of Dr Jacqui Harrison, my final year personal tutor, has been tremendous. Without her unfaltering support and encouragement I would not have achieved what I have.

“The tutors’ depth of knowledge makes such a tremendous difference.”

The BPA is awarded to around 100 people each year to those institutions that deliver accredited undergraduate programmes.

Nisha has decided to continue studying at the university on the Cognitive and Behavioural Psychotherapy programme, which is a post-graduate degree for two years and in the final year a Masters.

She said: “My husband and I always said if I was going to do this, it should be all in and I have this opportunity now and I am going to make the most of it.

“My ultimate dream is to eventually have my own practice; I want to work with people and help them make positive changes to their lives.”

Professor Jerome Carson, Professor of Psychology at the University of Bolton, said: “Nisha thoroughly deserves this top award.

“She is a mature student with three boys and she has been incredibly committed to the university during her studies.

“In addition to studying, she has involved herself in a wide variety of voluntary activities. We are delighted for her.”

Images: Nisha Sykes, a University of Bolton student who graduated in July and won the British Psychological Society Undergraduate Award 2019.

Nisha and her husband James.

Nisha with sons Ben (left), Thomas (right) and George (front).