History Student Wins Aston Prize

A dedicated History student at Solihull Sixth Form College has won top prize in a competition run by Aston University.

Zarah Ahmed (formerly of Ninestiles School) wrote a paper on the Cold War to enter into a competition that the university was running, after learning about it during a History symposium she attended online. She wrote about how the Cold War impacts international relations today.

“I thought it would be fitting because I loved learning cold war history,” she commented. “I’d like to go on to do History and International Relations at Aston and I was motivated to enter the competition because I thought it would be a good extra-curricular opportunity for me, especially because sometimes there is a limited amount of these for humanities subjects.

“I love studying history because it’s all so relevant! All the events we learn about help us understand the world as we know it today and I think it’s so important that people know about what’s happened in the past. It also helps us not make the same mistakes people in history might have made. Things that might be obviously wrong to us now, such as the transatlantic slave trade, were thought to be completely fine at the time and so we should try to understand what was being taught wrong.”

Aston University praised Zarah for her Cold War paper, saying it “expressed great insight, independence and initiative – skills we love to see in students taking an interest in History”.

As well as History at A level, Zarah is also studying English Literature and Fine Art and has taken on the added challenge of completing an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) on racism in the 21st century. she is particularly exploring recent efforts to decolonise the curriculum in higher education and put an end to covert racism. Zarah is also starting her own @educ8youth brand on Instagram and Twitter to help teens and young adults understand history and political news.

She explained:

“I really want to make history and politics more accessible to young people, and even older people who might not understand politics. My aspirations are to study history or history and politics at University and then possibly continue my education with a masters, and go into politics, maybe even working my way up to prime minister!”

6 July 2021