‘Shakespeare has been a passport through my life’: celebrating the 2024 Alumni Award winners

In celebration of Bristol’s 2024 Alumni Award winners, the University hosted a special dinner in The Orangery at Goldney Hall, bringing awardees and their guests together to honour the remarkable achievements of these Bristol graduates.  (more…)

On George Odlum: Dr Anderson Reynolds on the life of Bristol’s first Black Student Union president

George Odlum stood in conversation with a fellow student (both wearing formal gowns) and Prince Andrew, Queen Elizabeth II is seated at the table beside Odlum.
George Odlum with Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip and a fellow student (image courtesy of the University of Bristol’s Special Collections archive)

During his time at the University of Bristol, Saint Lucian politician George Odlum (BA 1959) was the first Black student in any UK university to become president of the Students Union and went on to become a leading voice in Caribbean politics during a time of significant social change. Although Odlum died 20 years ago, his legacy lives on. Below, Dr Anderson Reynolds shares insights into Odlum’s life from his recently published book, They Called Him Brother George: Portrait of a Caribbean Politician. (more…)

Colonel Anne McClain, NASA astronaut and US Army Officer, on space exploration and following your passion

Colonel Anne McClain, NASA
Colonel Anne McClain (image courtesy of NASA)

NASA astronaut and University of Bristol alum Colonel Anne McClain (MSc 2005, Honorary DEng 2023) returned to the University recently to accept her Honorary doctorate, and talk about her space experience, her journey to becoming an astronaut, and the next decade of space exploration. Colonel McClain’s incredible career has seen her fly 20 different aircraft as a Senior Army Aviator, train as a US Navy test pilot, and serve as a Flight Engineer on the International Space Station (ISS), where she spent 204 days and led two spacewalks. In 2020, she became part of the Artemis programme, a NASA-led mission to put astronauts back on the moon by 2024 – with this mission, Colonel McClain could become the first woman to step on the moon.    (more…)

From undergraduate to alum: A Bristol story

Helen celebrates her graduation with a smile, as she stands outside the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, dressed in her cap and gown.

Recent graduate Helen (BA 2023) took on a Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Summer Internship, working in the University of Bristol’s Development and Alumni Relations Office (DARO). We caught up with her to hear about her internship experience, how she feels transitioning from graduate to alum, and her advice for current students.

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Scholarships nurture talent: Matthew’s story

The Futures Scholarship programme awards talented students with up to £4,500 and enables them to access guidance and careers support from a dedicated coordinator. The scholarships are funded by Bristol’s alumni and friends and the support they provide gives students the security to focus on their studies and pursue their interests with enthusiasm. Read on to hear from economics and mathematics student Matthew, who is among the first cohort of 33 Futures Scholars graduating this year. 

In my final year at the University, I secured a graduate position with Lane Clark & Peacock LLP (LCP), as a pensions actuarial analyst. My position involves a blend of analysing the financial costs of risk in pension schemes and liaising with clients. In this role I’ll be able to use soft skills whilst also having the opportunity to solve complex problems, which is why I was overjoyed with the offer.

Laura, the Futures Scholarship Coordinator, encouraged me to apply for opportunities within the University very early on which helped me develop all the skills I needed to succeed. In my first year, I was selected as the vice-president of Riverside Junior Common Room at the Students’ Union, representing over 600 students. In my second year, I became treasurer for the Economics, Finance and Management Society. Then, in my final year I became the secretary of the Bristol University Actuarial Society and the head of finance for Epigram, the University of Bristol’s student newspaper.

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2022 Alumni Award winner for Achievement in Sport: Hannah Mills OBE (DipHE 2012)

This year’s Alumni Award for Achievement in Sport has been given to Hannah Mills OBE (DipHE 2012) in recognition of her incredible career in sailing and sustainability.

At Tokyo 2020, Hannah became the most successful female sailor in Olympic history, after she won gold with Eilidh McIntyre in the women’s 470 event. Hannah also sailed to a gold medal in Rio in 2016 and a silver medal at the London 2012 games, alongside her then sailing partner Saskia Clark.

Cardiff-born Hannah started sailing at age eight, while on holiday in Cornwall with her family. She went on to study Mechanical Engineering at the University of Bristol, training in her spare time to prepare for the London 2012 Olympic games.

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Alumni, staff and a student celebrated in the 2022 Queen’s Birthday Honours List

This year we were delighted to see Bristol alumni, staff and one of our current students recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. In these awards, which conincided with the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations, alumni were honoured for their services to academia, the arts and more. Read on to see if you can spot any of your former classmates below!

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‘We walk together’: sharing city and culture with Bristol Voices

The Bristol Voices programme matches students new to Bristol with members of our alumni community to help them familiarise with their surroundings. Students learn more about the city and their University and our volunteers learn a lot, in turn!

Claire Nuttall (BSc 1983), who was linked with two students from China, shares her experience as a Bristol Voices volunteer.

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2022 Alumni Award winner for Lifetime Achievement: Professor Dame Julia Slingo FRS OBE (BSc 1973, PhD 1989, Hon DSc 2010)

(c) Mary Slingo

The UK’s first female professor of meteorology, Professor Dame Julia Slingo OBE (BSc 1973, PhD 1989, Hon DSc 2010) broke the glass ceiling in the world of climate science and paved the way for more women to enter careers in scientific research. This year she is the recipient of the 2022 Alumni Award for Lifetime Achievement. We spoke to her about her time at Bristol, her impressive career as a climate scientist, the gender gap in research and the future of science for a fairer planet. (more…)