“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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“When I learned I had been awarded the Futures scholarship, I was overjoyed”

Beth Randell is a first-year Sociology student and a Futures Scholarship recipient. Here, she tells us how her scholarship is opening up career opportunities and supporting her to succeed. 

When I was in sixth form, I was a member of my school’s debate team because I love reflecting on social issues analytically. I also used to write articles on social issues including one which was a runner up in the Guardian’s The Young Hugo Award called “The Impossibility of the Working Mum.” I chose to study sociology because it lends a critical eye to society and allows me the freedom to pursue a wide scope of professions upon graduation including writing, editing, and publishing.

I am particularly interested in publishing because writing is my main strength. It is a competitive sector and there is a lot of pressure to make yourself stand out by doing internships, making connections and networking. In addition, many of these internships are in London, where living and commuting is much more expensive. Without the Futures Scholarship these opportunities would be unattainable for me.

Before I was awarded the Futures Scholarship, I had underlying anxieties about coming to university. I wanted to undertake internships to develop my understanding of different industries and stand out among other degree holders. But, due to financial pressures, I thought I would have to work in retail during the University holidays. Living away from home and studying is expensive, so it is such a relief to have this financial contribution.

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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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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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Changing lives through scholarships

(c) David Pratt

Third-year student Steph Tucker describes how her Futures Scholarship has supported her through the pandemic and inspired her career prospects.

When I found out I was a recipient of the Futures Scholarship I was over the moon. It was such a big relief. It confirmed to me that Bristol was the place I was supposed to be. I’m a Pharmacology student, and about a month after the pandemic hit, COVID-19 was on the syllabus. It’s been fascinating to study something so relevant to the wider world. (more…)

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…)

Providing Sanctuary Scholarships

(c) David Pratt

Gbemisola Ogunlade (MSci 2020) explains how the University’s Sanctuary Scholarship programme changed her life.

I was born in Lagos, Nigeria and I arrived in the UK when I was eight years old. It took a while for me to integrate into a new culture and make friends, but I had really supportive teachers which helped. My teachers used to tell me that I’d be a good doctor because I loved science, especially biology. But when I did my A Levels I studied psychology and fell in love with the subject. I got to learn about so many theories and philosophies that I could apply to my own life. I could see how I would be able to use it to help others and make a change in my community.

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Supporting scientific discoveries

(c) David Pratt

Philanthropic support has allowed PhD student Amy Holt to explore how aspirin could improve bowel cancer treatments.

I’ve always found cell biology fascinating: the way that cells work, how they build us as human beings and how they can cause disease. It’s what drew me to studying cancer. By learning about what goes wrong in cancer cells, we also learn a lot about normal cells and how they should function.

Bowel cancer has one of the highest mortality rates of any cancer, because it’s often detected at quite a late stage. Researchers have established that taking aspirin for long periods of time decreases your risk of developing bowel cancer. But what we don’t know is exactly why that is. Throughout my PhD, my research group and I have been exploring how aspirin influences cellular functions to make cells less likely to become cancerous and to slow the progression of a cancer. (more…)

Alumni and students share their marathon experience

Claire Evans (BA 1991) running the London Marathon 2021.

On 3 October, a fantastic group of Bristol alumni and students ran the 2021 London Marathon, raising over £10,000 for the University’s Healthy Minds Programme. They each ran an incredible 26.2 miles, raising awareness of the importance of physical activity on mental health and the vital nature of the programme itself.

The Healthy Minds programme helps students who are experiencing mental health difficulties by providing them with a bespoke physical activity plan and access to sports facilities. Students are paired up with a mentor – a member of the University fitness team with advanced mental health training – who coaches them throughout their time on the programme. (more…)