Student Social Worker of the Year


Mary Carter

ORGANISATION: Anglia Ruskin University

AWARD(S): Student Social Worker of the Year

Mary was described in her nomination as someone who “quietly works” to support others and is not one to blow her own trumpet, but the positive and lasting contribution she has so clearly made to university life, her studies and on placement speaks volumes.


Mary became the first to establish a ‘Social Worker Society’ for her fellow students, and has worked tirelessly to secure a number of learning opportunities such as paid conferences and volunteering. Now entering her final year, she has also become a mentor for first year students, providing a listening ear for those who may be struggling.


As a care leaver herself, Mary has also been instrumental in transforming the University’s care leavers strategy. She has helped her tutors to understand the needs and skills of students who have experienced care, and has contributed to the development of an open day for young people in care and university guidance on supporting these students.


Mary stood out as a “clear high flyer” and the judges were impressed by how she’s already putting her social work skills into action in her community, including working with her local council as a Care Leaver advocate to improve practice for children in care.


The evidence in the nomination gives a picture of a committed, passionate person who gives her time willingly to both support and develop social work within the university, is proactive to promote social justice and community involvement, practices with kindness, compassion and lives her life demonstrating integrity and social work values.

Karen Maude, Practice Educator of the Year Award Winner 2018

Mary’s application stood out from the rest as a clear high flyer! Not only does Mary bring with her lived experience of the profession she is about to enter, she has used her own personal experience as a springboard to advocate for and support other care leavers. I feel honoured to have read this application.

Gary Spencer-Humphrey, Trustee, The Social Work Awards

As Mary’s Placement Tutor I valued the professional way Mary applied herself in the first placement setting. Mary was able to evidence a strong capacity for self-awareness and reflection in action. I greatly valued the enthusiasm Mary brought to the placement and her commitment to the needs and rights of service users.

John Newman, Placement Tutor

Mary is an outstanding social work student who is actively involved in all areas of university life, especially as it pertains to social work and community involvement. I absolutely love having Mary in my lectures as she is always keen to learn. In addition, I am very proud of her academic achievements to date and having sought her permission, will use her most recent assignment as an exemplar for future students.

Pennie Byrne, Senior Social Work Lecturer


Brian Mitchell

Gary Spencer-Humphrey

Zoe Betts



Elizabeth Dodd, University of Salford

Eniola Obikoya, University of Gloucestershire

Sarah Smith, University of Lincoln

Skip to content