First class education and a first class mum

Silvia Divine has managed to juggle the challenges of getting married and having a baby with her studies to gain a first-class honours degree in Horticulture.

The 29-year-old was also awarded the prestigious Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland Silver Medal and the SRUC Trust Prize for best fourth year student on her course.

Silvia, who is originally from Germany but moved to the UK at the age of 16, chose to study for a second degree at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) after completing a Philosophy and Political Science degree at the University of Edinburgh.

She said: ‘I had met my (now) husband in Edinburgh and was quite settled. My interest in food security and local, especially organic, production of food had been inspired throughout my previous degree, as well as during my time with the First Nations in Canada and while working for the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation in the Hague.

‘These experiences highlighted how going through international channels often fails to effect any real change in people’s lives. I decided to go back to university and focus on a subject which could have a more direct impact.

‘Horticulture seemed a perfect choice, also supported by my previous interest in growing fruit and vegetables and going foraging.’

She got married in her third year and went part-time in her final year to allow her to spend time with her son Elijah: ‘It has been a challenge to combine family commitments with my studies since getting married and then pregnant at the beginning of my third year.

‘I will be forever grateful for how incredibly understanding, supportive and flexible SRUC has been throughout this time.’

Looking to the future, she is now planning to continue developing her business designing, building and maintaining office plant displays, including interior green walls.

She added: ‘Other than that, I’m not making any big plans for now, but instead am taking some time for reflection and to focus on family before venturing to new shores.’

For more information about places still available on courses starting this September, visit SRUC’s website.