Words by: Nik Taylor
The Student in a Million 2014 nominees and their guestsHundreds of nominations; thousands of votes. This year's Student in a Million awards has been a huge success, and on Monday 1 September all of the shortlisted nominees were welcomed to Brighton for a very special prize-giving event.


The Student Room's Student in a Million awards are all about putting the spotlight on the most inspirational student stories.

We asked you to nominate the students who should win an award and we were bowled over by hundreds of amazing stories. From those, we took on the tough job of selecting just 12 to make the final shortlist.




It was those 12 people who were invited along to our awards night in central Brighton, where the results of our Student in a Million vote were revealed.

Unsung hero award

Student in a million: Jo McKillop


Shortlisted: Leah Green, Jay Cavanagh
Jo was nominated for this award by her personal tutor at West Thames College, who said: "[In Jo's time at the college,] no other student has contributed so much to the college and the welfare of its students". Jo has combined student activism, voluntary work and peer support with academic success and caring for her disabled mother.Jo McKillop receives her Student in a Million award in the unsung hero category
Inner strength award

Student in a million: Tom O'Sullivan


Shortlisted: Joseph Lockington, Daniel Freear
Tom has shown incredible resolve to continue his studies despite battling a terminal brain tumour. His academic work has been severely disrupted by the severity of his symptoms and the side-effects of his chemotherapy, yet Tom remains determined to complete his degree. Indeed, his work continues to be outstanding, and the university lecturer who nominated Tom said that staff consider it a great privilege to teach him.


Tom was too ill to come along to the event, but his sister Ellen collected his award on his behalf.

Ellen O'Sullivan receives the inner strength Student in a Million award on behalf of her brother Tom
Overcoming adversity award

Student in a million: Kavisigah Yogaratnam


Shortlisted: Mezhabin Tabassum, Rhianna Wilson
While in the third year of her psychology degree last year, Kavi unexpectedly became the guardian of her younger brother, Adavan. At the time, Adavan was 17 and studying for his A-levels. This new responsibility put huge financial pressure on Kavi. The only accommodation she was able to find for them both was a one-bedroom house with mould on the walls and rats in the kitchen. With little money available, Kavi provided food for them both by visiting food banks. Remarkably, not only did Kavi graduate from her own degree, she also helped her younger brother to get a place at his preferred university.
Kavisigah Yogaratnam receives her overcoming adversity award in The Student Room's Student in a Million awards 2014
Role model award

Student in a million: Emma Schrod


Shortlisted: Sarah-Joy Wickes, Molly Scott
Emma was nominated by her teacher for her inspirational work in launching an Autism and Disabilities Club through her school in the London borough of Havering. Emma launched the club with the aim of working with young people with autism, and she has built a team of fellow students to help with this vital community work. It keeps her enormously busy, yet Emma also manages to be a high-achiever in her A-levels.Emma Schrod receives her Student in a Million award in the role model category


The Student in a Million awards event started with a tour of The Student Room's offices, where our nominees had the chance to walk down our indoor Brighton pier, admire the view of the seaside and meet the company's resident stick insects!


Tom O'Sullivan receives his award


Tom O'Sullivan with his Student in a Million awardTom's illness meant he was unable to come to the awards event, but his dad John and his sister Ellen were in the audience on his behalf. Ellen came on stage to receive Tom's award and later sent through this photo of Tom receiving it at home. "We're all so proud of Tom and it was really lovely to see him celebrated yesterday especially in the company of such amazing students," said Ellen.

Then it was down to Hotel Du Vin on Brighton's seafront for the awards event itself. As well as the nominees themselves, our guest of honour for the evening was Ben McBean.

Ben is a former Marine, who was horrifically injured by a landmine explosion while serving in Afghanistan. Ben lost his left arm and right leg in the explosion, but within months of his life-threatening injuries, he completed the London Marathon. Ben gave a great speech about the importance of positive thinking, and of focusing not on what you can't do, but what you can do.

That motivational message led us on perfectly to the evening's finale, the awards presentation itself, with each of our nominees coming up on stage to receive their awards and prizes. It was amazing to hear all of their stories once again and - for those of us lucky enough to be there - to have the chance to meet each of them.

Our congratulations go to everyone who was shortlisted for this year's awards, and our thanks go to everyone in the TSR community who got involved by voting.

Here are just a few of the comments you made when placing your votes:
"I love all the nominees, they are all truly inspiring and amazing"

"It's a brilliant idea to reward people who are truly deserving."
"I feel humbled reading the stories of all these courageous students."
"Inspiring, wonderful and incredible."
"The stories are all really inspiring! Every single person nominated deserves to win an award!"
"The stories are truly inspirational, reading them makes me understand how lucky I am and what more I could be doing to help other people."
"The stories inspired me to do something more in my community for others, thank you for sharing them."
"What wonderful students and such achievements by all concerned - truly deserved. Well done all of them."



Thanks for being part of our Student in a Million awards!