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British medical student wins global Student Woman of the Year

British medical student revealed as UNiDAYS Student Women of the Year 2023

Following the launch of UNiDAYS’ fifth annual ‘Student Women of the Year’ competition last month, UNiDAYS, the world’s leading Gen Z affinity network that enables students and graduates to discover savings, is pleased to announce this year’s winners.

UNiDAYS shortlisted the empowering entries from over 250 inspiring female entrepreneurs who applied. The judging panel consisted of last year’s winner Yanti Peng, Olympic Bronze Medalist and World Youth Champion Desirèe Henry, and Phoebe Schecter, Britain’s first female NFL coach and broadcaster with Sky Sports and talkSPORT.

Following applications from students who identify as women across the US and UK, the £10,000 funding has been awarded to Lydie Kitenge, 22, Co-founder of Journey2Med, and medical studies undergraduate at Queen Mary University of London.
The runners-up who will be awarded £1,000 each, were:

● Maddie Daqiq [22, US] – Founder of Afghan Girls Build, which empowers Afghan girls to build a brighter future through technology and web education. While studying Communications at Connecticut College Maddie is helping women and female students in war-ridden countries to access IT education, and careers within technology.

● Niouma Semega [US] – Global Public Health and Sociology student at New York University. At 17 Semega invented a way to extract harmful chemicals like mercury from the ocean. Since, she has created Semega Chance to address the lack of representation of her community in STEM, and now she empowers more women to cultivate change.

Lydie Kitenge impressed the judges with her passion to help young people fulfil their academic potential. Speaking to the focus on Embracing Equity this year, Kitenge’s business and motivation spoke to the need to recognise alternative perspectives and backgrounds, and how resource allocation needs to be carefully considered to reach an equal outcome.

As well as being crowned the Student Women of the Year winner, Lydie will also be a SWOTY ambassador for the next year, working with UNiDAYS to share her progress and inspire female students wanting to start a business.

Journey2Med is an organisation where Lydie hosts virtual and in person events at schools in underfunded boroughs to inspire, educate and equip young people from low socioeconomic backgrounds with resources and advice to get into medical school.

Pretty Munro, Global Marketing Director, UNiDAYS, says: “This year’s Student Women of the Year competition focused on challenging boundaries and encouraging diversity. We wanted to provide an opportunity for those who are overcoming stereotypes and doing inspiring work within their communities to receive acknowledgement and funding for their dreams.
This generation of students is expected to be the most entrepreneurial ever with 1 in 5 UNiDAYS members currently having a side hustle. Through our competition, we wanted to recognise the work of women students who are breaking boundaries and redefining what it means to be an entrepreneur. Lydie’s passion for equitable opportunities and making a complicated alienating process such as medical school applications simpler for those from underfunded boroughs. To date, UNiDAYS has awarded over £30,000 to women students to support their dreams and goals and encourage their impactful work. We can’t wait to see Lydie encouraging more students to apply to medical degrees.”

Running from 8th to 31st March 2023, the competition was open to all women students. Centred around the theme of #EmbraceEquity, the campaign focused on individuals who are breaking down boundaries and embracing diversity in their work.
Each participant posted a short 60-second video to talk about the impact of their businesses, as well as outlining their plans for how they would spend the £10,000 grant. Entrants were judged based on the content and creativity of the video entry, to what extent their project is breaking boundaries and how they envisioned it developing further.


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