Principal’s Medal: Isabelle Molinari

Lauren Sykes
Thursday 15 June 2023

Presented by Professor Dame Sally Mapstone FRSE

Thursday 15 June – morning ceremony

I would now like to introduce the Principal’s Medal.

This award was inaugurated 14 years ago with a gift from three anonymous donors and is supported by Ede & Ravenscroft, believed to be the oldest firm of tailors and robe makers in the world.

The award of the Principal’s Medal recognises students who display exceptional endeavor and achievement during their time at St Andrews. The awards are open to final year undergraduates and postgraduates in any discipline, and the achievements celebrated are both academic and extracurricular.

For this academic year, the Principal’s Medal is being awarded to two truly outstanding students.

Today, we recognise Isabelle Molinari, who has just received the degree of Master of Arts in Economics and Management with honours.

Isabelle’s nomination references her formidable intellectual accomplishments. She has repeatedly made the Dean’s List for Outstanding Academic Achievement, and the quality of her work is reflected in the inclusion of one of her essays in the University’s student-run Arts and Divinity journal.

Isabelle’s excellence in the classroom is replicated in professional environments. She possesses, to quote her nominator, “a capacity to translate academic ability into practical value”, which is extremely rare and something that few academics are able to achieve successfully. This ability is demonstrated through her work as one of the longest-serving board members of the non-profit student-run consultancy business Playfair, for which she served as head of consultancy this academic year.

While working with Playfair, Isabelle managed 50 percent of the group’s consultancy projects. Importantly, these projects have directly benefited the wider community of St Andrews by providing consultancy services to local organisations on a pro bono basis. Isabelle also played an instrumental role in Playfair’s recovery following the global pandemic, during which much of the group’s organisational memory and knowledge, like that of many student societies, was lost. She successfully led the recruitment and induction of more than 20 new student consultants, enabling Playfair to provide students with crucial, hands-on, real-world experience in consultancy.

Isabelle, therefore, played a pivotal role in helping Playfair to grow from having no clients in the aftermath of the pandemic to successfully completing ten projects over the course of the current year.

Such attainments are laudable in their own right, but they dazzle when contextualised by the breadth of Isabelle’s other commitments to our University, particularly her commitment to fostering a safe and inclusive environment for all students. Over the past two academic years, Isabelle has served as Vice-President of Mermaids, a subcommittee at the St Andrews Students’ Association dedicated to theatre and performance.

During her time in this role, she has led on work to improve the association’s policies on sexual misconduct and on wellbeing. Isabelle produced the first Students’ Association subcommittee policy on sexual misconduct, designed to help students navigate their options in difficult circumstances, as well as to aid committee members in handling allegations of misconduct. This policy has now been shared beyond Mermaids to our other Students’ Association subcommittees.

Isabelle has also led on the introduction of wellbeing planning documents for all Mermaids production teams, which provide important information on how to support cast and crew wellbeing throughout productions.

These examples of Isabelle’s incredible work throughout her time at the University demonstrate the extent of her unfailing dedication to the welfare and wellbeing of her fellow students. Isabelle models excellence whilst embodying a generous, inclusive, and passionate outlook that is an inspiration to her peers and tutors alike.

Isabelle, in recognition of your many accomplishments, both academically and personally, during your time as an undergraduate, it gives me great pleasure to bestow upon you the Principal’s Medal.

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