University of Glasgow graduate Izzy Howlett has been named the 2018 Global Winner of the Undergraduate Award in Sociology and Social Policy. She received the award for her essay "A Descriptive Study of The Documents Presented to Patients Following Down Syndrome Screening", which examined the conditions that affected the decision on whether pregnancies in which the fetus was diagnosed with Down Syndrome were terminated.
The Undergraduate Awards program is a world-leading organisation which recognises top undergraduate work. They receive 4,887 submissions per year, and give awards to approximately 300 students annually, with awards in each subject ranging from the Commended Entrant award up to the Global Winner award.
Besides Howlett, two other Glasgow students - College of Arts Literature student Denis Topalović and College of Social Sciences Business student Olivia Carlin - received the award of Highly Commended Entrant, meaning that their essays were in the top ten per cent of submissions.
Howlett is a first-generation university graduate who currently works in the Civil Service. Howlett said: “I was inspired to write about prenatal testing after watching a documentary called 'A world without Down’s', in which it is stated that 100% of Down syndrome pregnancies are terminated in Iceland. As a Sociologist, I was curious to study the social factors which may be influencing this very personal decision. This research was incredibly difficult at times due to the sensitive nature of its content, however, I found it deeply rewarding and will continue researching health informatics.”
Howlett also described her time at the University as a "great motivation" and said that the skills that she had obtained from her sociology degree were of great use to her in her working life.
The Undergraduate Awards are open to submission from all institutions of higher education in the world. Awards will be officially presented at the Global Summit on 12-14 November in Dublin, at which Howlett will be receiving a gold medal and Certificate of Recognition. Howlett's essay will also be published on The Undergraduate Library and a profile of her work published in the Undergraduate Journal.