OM Harri wins scholarship to support Cambridge studies

January 31, 2017

An Old Monmothian, who has just taken up his place to study computer science at the University of Cambridge, has been awarded a prestigious scholarship.

Harri Bell-Thomas, 19, is one of around 60 students nationwide to win a Diamond Jubilee Scholarship from the Institution of Engineering & Technology.

As well as free membership to the IET for the duration of his course, Harri will be awarded at least £1,000 a year to support his studies.

He said: “I first heard about the Diamond Jubilee Scholarships whilst researching student membership for the IET, something that I’d been advised to look into by my Year in Industry mentor.

“This scholarship will really help ease any financial concerns I may have whilst being at university, allowing me to more fully dedicate myself to my studies. I plan to use this extra freedom to be more involved in the computer science and engineering community in Cambridge.”

The ambitious student, who gained three A*s in maths, further maths, and computing, and two As in Latin and classical Greek at A level, realised his passion for problem-solving during his GCSE years.

He added: “I loved being able to design and build original applications that could be published and used by others. I was particularly drawn towards computer science at Cambridge because of their course’s strong blend of both theory and practical application.

“The module I am most looking forward to this year is ‘Machine Learning and Real World Data’, in which we’ll study how to tackle analysis of large and complicated data sets.”

Harri was listed in the UK’s top 50 A level computing candidates in 2015 and plans to continue his involvement with a local primary school’s coding club.

“I am constantly in awe at the speed at which we, as a species, are rapidly advancing through the use of technology,” he said.

“The recent advances in artificial intelligence stand testament to how things we had previous considered to be impossible are now beginning to appear of the frontier of possibility. I am driven by a desire to explore new concepts and build things we have thus far only dreamed about.”

Outside of his studies, Harri is a keen musician, playing the piano for fun and percussion in his college orchestra.