Amber named as a recipient of the British Psychological Association Award

Amber Thornley, a UHI Psychology student has been named as a recipient of the British Psychological Association Award for Undergraduate Academic Excellence.

She was selected for the award in recognition of gaining the highest overall marks for fourth year among students on the UHI Psychology degree. Norman Wilson, Programme Leader explained: "Amber averaged over 70% in each year of her programme and did exceptionally well in her dissertation which looked at theory of mind performance in adults with elevated autism traits."

Amber said: “I was absolutely delighted to find out I was receiving the award. From the onset of enrolling on the BSc Psychology degree programme, I always endeavoured to put everything I had into my studies, and set such high standards for my work.  To receive a prestigious award in recognition for my high grades and standard of work means a lot to me, especially whilst navigating personal challenges over the last few years. The psychology degree programme has been thoroughly enjoyable, and receiving 85% on my dissertation felt very good!”.  

Amber explained how her diagnosis of high-functioning Autism helped channel her passion for Autism research, including in her dissertation: “Having a diagnosis of high-functioning autism myself, I am all too aware of the negative connotations and bias surrounding this. However, as found in my dissertation, common stereotypes pertaining to ASD such as a social deficit, is by no means universal in adults with elevated autism traits. More attention is needed away from such misconceptions and often negative connotations surrounding ASD, but rather highlighting individual differences and indeed positives with elevated autism traits.

"In my experience as a student, having high functioning autism has been greatly beneficial in helping facilitate a very structured, critical and invested approach to my studies, which I feel contributed significantly to my academic success."

Following completion of her degree, Amber is setting her sights on becoming a criminal intelligence analyst with the police, and hoping to develop her police career to become a detective investigator as a longer term goal.