National acclaim for Leicester undergrads

Two of our students students now hold the title ‘Undergraduate of the Year’ for their stand-out contributions to Computer Science and Social Action respectively.

Making up two of the twelve overall winners at this year’s ‘Undergraduate of Year’ awards are English student Mercy Ngulube and Computing with Management student Marek Gaj.

The TARGETjobs Undergraduate of the Year Awards are an annual competition aimed at finding the best undergraduates in the UK. Each award is sponsored by a prominent graduate recruiter who provides a sought-after prize for the winner including a paid internship, trips abroad and other exclusive opportunities.

Mercy was awarded the Undergraduate of the Year Award for Impactful Social Action, sponsored by #iwill and Teach First.

Mercy is the former chair of the CHIVA Youth Committee, and has used this role to drive through campaigns and concerns on behalf of young people living with HIV. She is a recipient of the Diana Legacy Award and has spent the last year continuing to campaign and be a spokesperson for her community.

Mercy has spoken in the House of Lords, co-hosted an event at Downing Street, delivered a TEDx talk, and travelled internationally to attend conferences to further her role as an activist. She said: “It’s such an honour to be the first recipient of this award and see that the wonderful social action work undergraduates do is recognised and celebrated.”

Marek was awarded Computer Science, IT and Physics Undergraduate of the Year Award, sponsored by FDM. Marek was awarded the prize for the best computer science grade average for two consecutive years. His love for computer science started when he was 13 years old and successfully created an online game with over 20,000 active users.

Marek said: “A good friend of mine once told me that I should always aim for the stars and never think that I am not good enough. When I started university, I never thought that one day I would become the Undergraduate of the Year. I decided to take up the challenge and test all the skills and knowledge that I have gained after four intense years at the university.

“It was a great experience and I feel motivated to work even harder after meeting all the inspiring and talented finalists from different universities. I am absolutely honoured to have been announced as the Computer Science, IT and Physics Undergraduate of the Year.”

He spent last summer working as a digital analyst for and won the annual Facebook London Hackathon, securing a place in the global final in California. Marek has represented his country in athletics and started practising ballroom and Latin dancing last year.