“It really does mean everything to me”: William’s scholarship story

First-year student William Shelley was inspired to study for a degree in law, after working as a Royal Marines Commando and witnessing the importance of humanitarian law.

William is one of the 160 Futures Scholars who have received support through the programme since it began in 2019.

Futures Scholarships provide undergraduate students with a £2,000 bursary, which helps them to buy essential items for their studies and a further £2,500 for employment opportunities.

Speaking about the impact of his scholarship, William said: “The moment that I found out that I received the Futures Scholarship it was life changing. The first person I told was my mum, and she was elated.

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In-person graduation ceremonies (and mortar boards!) return to the University

From Friday 8 to Thursday 14 of April, the Wills Memorial Building will be a sea of gowns and mortar boards as the first in-person graduations in over two years take place. Around 4,500 students will have their graduations conferred after ceremonies were postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

This year students will be wearing mortar boards, which have not been part of University of Bristol graduation dress since the 1960s.

Speaking about the occasion, Professor Hugh Brady, Vice-Chancellor & President, said: “Graduation is the focal point of the University of Bristol calendar and a chance for students and staff to celebrate their considerable achievements. Many of those graduating left us during the pandemic, and I am truly thankful that we have this chance to see them again in person, and to congratulate them on their nous, tenacity and aptitude.

“Gaining a degree is challenging. It involves sacrifice and fortitude; intelligence and insight; and every one of the 4,500 new graduates deserve their hard-earned reward.”

The ceremonies will also see five distinguished guests (three of whom are alumni of the University) receive honorary awards in recognition of their outstanding achievements:

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“It felt like the world was on my side”: David Afikuyomi on his scholarship journey

 

David Afikuyomi’s (BSc 2015) dream of completing a Master’s in Research (MRes) in Economics was almost ended because of financial concerns. But after securing an Opportunity Bristol studentship through the University’s Black Bristol Scholarship programme, David was able to start his course last year.

Here he explains the impact the scholarship has made on his life and his plans for the future.

When I got the email telling me that my application for a Black Bristol Scholarship had been successful, I was so shocked that I threw my phone across the room! I picked it up, read the email again, ran a couple of laps of my flat and then burst out crying. I just couldn’t believe it.

In the weeks leading up to that moment, I had decided that I’d have to defer my place because I couldn’t see how I would fund the year without a stream of income. The Economics MRes course is very rigorous and it would have been hard to earn enough in a part-time job to support myself while studying. When I found out I had a scholarship a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders; it felt like the world was on my side.

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Liam White (BEng 2015): From investment banking to start-up success

After graduation, Liam White spent two years working in the world of investment banking before embarking on his entrepreneurial journey. Alongside co-founders Dr Will Breakey and Josh Rose, Liam launched Dr. Will’s, the UK’s first all-natural condiment brand. Now, the trio are leading a low-sugar revolution, with their products stocked in retail giants such as Tesco, Waitrose, Ocado and Selfridges. We spoke to Liam to find out more.

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Fred Moss (BA 2013): transforming company cultures through peer learning

Most office workers will be familiar with the annual cycle of employee training. You log on to a website, read some module material, complete a quiz and you’re done. It’s a tried-and-tested (if somewhat uninspiring) format that peer-learning company Hive Learning are aiming to disrupt.

Founded in 2013 by rugby world cup winning coach, Sir Clive Woodward, and digital venture builder, Blenheim Chalcot, Hive Learning’s technology is based on a combination of network science and nudge theory – borrowing some of the principles that draw users into social media. Users of the platform can come together with their colleagues to learn about a wide range of topics, which cover everything from improving resilience in the workplace to becoming a more inclusive company.

Bristol alumnus Fred Moss (BA 2013) has worked at Hive Learning for seven years, during which time he moved to New York to set up the company’s US business. We caught up with him to learn more about life in the US and how Hive Learning is reimagining corporate learning.

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Maria Gallo, author of The Alumni Way, on getting more from your relationship with Bristol

In 2021, Maria Gallo published The Alumni Way: Building Lifelong Value from Your University Investment with Policy Press, an imprint of Bristol University Press. Here, she shares key insights on how Bristol alumni can continue to benefit from their connection to the University post-graduation.

When you think of the word ‘alumni’ what comes to mind? In casual conversations, and in my research into university-alumni relationships over the last decade, two of the most common responses to this question are: ‘the university only contacts me when they want to ask for money’ and ‘I haven’t really given my university or my alumni status much thought since graduation.’

In my book, I make the case for thinking bigger and bolder about your alumni relationship, from the moment of graduation through the rest of your life.

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Genevieve Schwartz (BA 2012): life as a jewellery designer

After graduating from the University with a History of Art degree, Genevieve Schwartz (BA 2012) went on to train as a silversmith. She started working in jewellery design and production, developing her craft at iconic brands such as Vivienne Westwood and Astley Clarke. This year, she took the plunge and started her own business – Genevieve Schwartz Jewellery. She now makes beautifully crafted pieces from her studio in London and most recently, she launched a collection of engagement rings for men. We spoke to her to learn more about life as a creative entrepreneur.

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Nominations open for 2021 Alumni Association Community Award

Nominations for the Alumni Association Community Award are now open. The Alumni Association Community Award (previously known as the Alumni Association Medal) is given out to recognise volunteers who have worked hard to build and strengthen the University’s alumni community. This could be through organising alumni networks, coordinating events or actively participating in the Association.

The Alumni Association is the official body of the University’s alumni community – anyone that has studied at the University automatically becomes a member. The Alumni Association Committee represents the Association and it is now looking to recognise individuals who have championed the Alumni Association through their service.

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Applications open for student telephone fundraising team!

We are currently recruiting for student callers to work on our Spring 2022 Telephone Fundraising campaign. This is a fantastic opportunity to join a friendly team in which you can build your skills, make a difference and gain fundraising experience.

Are you:

  • enthusiastic?
  • reliable?
  • curious?
  • adaptable?
  • a team player?
  • keen to make a difference?
  • comfortable speaking over the phone?

If the answer to one or more of these questions is yes, we’d love to hear from you!

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Creating opportunities through mentoring

(c) David Pratt

Chemistry student Farhan Khawaja and alumnus Hamish Beeston (BA 1992) were paired up by the Bristol Mentors programme.

Farhan’s story

I’ve always been interested in both science and the media and I’m hoping to enter a career path which combines those interests. Getting into the media industry is challenging because a lot of it is about who you know and getting your foot in the door. That’s why I applied to the Bristol Mentors programme during my third year. I wanted to connect with someone in the TV and film industry and learn more about the path they took to get there. (more…)