Ilford teenager studying in East Ham wins Harvard University book award

Nancy Palumbo with headteacher Mouhssin Ismail. Pic: Ian Miller

Nancy Palumbo with headteacher Mouhssin Ismail. Pic: Ian Miller - Credit: Archant

A student studying in East Ham has become the third from her sixth form college to be awarded an international prize.

Nancy Palumbo, 17, from Ilford, was among just a handful of recipients of the Harvard University book award this year.

She follows in the footsteps of former Newham Collegiate Sixth Form (NCS) student and previous winners Edi Rama and Tafsia Shikdar who scooped the prize in previous years.

The award is given to students applying for a place at the American university who have excelled academically.

Nancy was handed the prize, the Stephen Pinker book Enlightenment Now, during a prize giving ceremony held at the sixth form this week.

She is hoping to follow in the footsteps of Tafsia Shikdar, from West Ham, who won a scholarship at MIT in 2017.

Nancy will be among a group of students at the NCS who will take a tour of prestigious US college during a visit to America at the end of October during half term.

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She said: “It is a great privilege to win this award considering that type of company I am now in with the former winners from NCS.

“It feels good to be recognised for your achievements because you put in an awful lot of work and sometimes you feel it goes unnoticed.

“It is an incredible achievement for the NCS that we have now had three winners in a row of this competition.

“It really does show just how different this place is in terms of aspiration for its pupils. What other state sixth form would take its students to America to tour MIT, Harvard, Princeton, Yale and Columbia and participate in lectures delivered by world renowned academics such as Professor Michael Sandel. It really is an amazing place.”

Headteacher Mouhssin Ismail said: “Receiving this award for the third time is proof if it were needed that this is an internationally regarded institution.

“For many sixth forms having a large percentage of students receive offers for Oxford or Cambridge would be the height of ambition.

“We are taking our students to visit Harvard and MIT and other top Ivy League universities in America because we want even more for our students.”