A FORMER Llanfyllin High School student is off to Cambridge University after winning a major scholarship to study for a Masters of Philosophy in Archaeology.

Laura Mitchell recently graduated – virtually because of coronavirus – from Elon University in North Carolina where she gained a distinction with average marks over 90 per cent in courses which included modules in both Classics and Archaeology.

Her first-class BA in Anthropology also involved three summer digs at an Ancient Maya site in the jungle of Belize. Additionally, an impressive international football career helped Laura achieve what she calls ‘an amazing opportunity’.

She has now won a scholarship to study at Newnham College in Cambridge, home to the TV celebrity and Classics scholar Mary Beard, with other former alumni including writer Germaine Greer and sports presenter Clare Balding.

Laura played football for school teams in Llanfyllin and Penybontfawr as well as for Newtown, Llanymynech, Shrewsbury, Everton, and Wales.

She ended her university attendance with a final season of her soccer scholarship in the US that saw Elon Women’s Soccer Team gain its highest position in the East Coast Conference reaching semi-finals in New York.

She said: “I am looking forward to the new challenge of studying for my Masters and following in the footsteps of some famous people.

“I’d like to thank all the teachers, coaches and employers who have helped me along the way.”

Laura has won five years of caps for the youth teams of Wales, visiting numerous countries including Turkey, Denmark and Ireland.

Her other footballing honours include playing in the under-17 Women’s English FA Cup Final for Everton and earlier in her career winning national futsal honours with Llanymynech Lemurs.

During a gap year before starting her soccer scholarship in America, Laura trained as a machinist with Laura Ashley at Texplan to gain work experience and help fund her studies.