Royston teen crowned UK’s brightest student

Emily Burton

Emily Burton - Credit: Archant

A teenager has been crowned the UK’s best and brightest student after winning a national competition.

Emily Burton, a former pupil at Meridian School, saw off competition from more than 4,000 students from 149 universities nationwide to win the National Student Challenge 2013.

The 19-year-old, who lives in The Ridings, Royston, and is in her second year studying mathematics at the University of Exeter, won £1,000 and a paid internship with technology company Siemens.

She described the event as “one of the most invigorating days” of her life.

“Working and competing with such a talented group of people really pushed me to make the most out of such an incredible opportunity. Now it has sunk in, I am absolutely thrilled to have won and very much look forward to working for Siemens in the near future,” she said.

Chris Gratton, head of mathematics at Meridian School, said she was “delighted” to hear of Emily’s success.

Mrs Gratton said: “Emily deserves every accolade given as her drive and determination within mathematics are second to none. Rarely have I seen such tenacity for perfection within academic studies. It genuinely was my absolute privilege to teach Emily for her A-level studies.”

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Also a keen drama student, having starred in Meridian’s productions of Hairspray and Fiddler on the Roof, Emily returned to the school in the summer to share her knowledge and enthusiasm for mathematics with current students.

Mrs Gratton said: “I was thrilled to welcome Emily back in the summer to share her enthusiasm and love of the subject with younger students. She selflessly gave up hours of her time to encourage younger students to feel as passionate about mathematics.”

To win the contest, Emily initially had to complete an online intelligence test. She then progressed to the finals, held in London, where she competed against 60 finalists in a variety of practical tests that assessed her decision making, communication and business awareness.