Meet our #TeamUoB London Marathon Runners (Part 2)

This October, an incredible group of ten Bristol alumni and students are taking on the 2022 London Marathon in support of the University’s Healthy Minds programme. 

This 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. 

Introducing this year’s runners… 

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Meet Our #TeamUoB London Marathon Runners (Part 1)

This October, an incredible group of ten Bristol alumni and students are taking on the 2022 London Marathon in support of our Healthy Minds programme. 

This 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. 

Introducing this year’s runners… 

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Celebrating the success of Bristol Mentors

An enormous thank you to alumni and students who have participated in the Bristol Mentors programme this year. We were delighted to have many of you get together for our Bristol Mentors Thank You event last month, to celebrate the contributions of our alumni volunteers and the students who have been paired in the last academic year.

Bristol Mentors is an alumni volunteering programme where students from underrepresented groups are matched with a Bristol graduate who acts as their mentor. Mentors work with mentees to help them with their career development and provide support which can enhance their university experience. (more…)

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.

The Scholarship Coordinator also encouraged me to enrol in a social mobility programme called upReach, where I received in-depth one-to-one career support and took part in mock interviews to prepare me for job applications. I was also offered insight days at Bank of America, Citadel, and HSBC. Initially I was apprehensive to apply to large firms like these, but upReach improved my confidence during the application process. All of this has led to my successful assessment and graduate position at Lane Clark & Peacock LLP.

Through the Futures Scholarship, I accessed employability funding, which I used to pay for accommodation and travel to assessment centres. I also bought a webcam for remote interviews and shirts so I could look professional when meeting prospective employers. The employability funding has been essential in my success; it removed the financial barriers involved in securing a graduate position.

The Futures Scholarship is vital in guiding students from lower income backgrounds; it allows us to pursue our passions and funds the leaders and thinkers of the future.

If you would like to support more students like Matthew, go to our Alumni website to make a donation. 

Scholarships empower: Keeley’s story

In 2022, 33 Futures Scholars will graduate from the University of Bristol, many of whom have already secured their graduate jobs, internships and opportunities abroad. The Futures Scholarship programme is funded through the generosity of the University’s alumni and friends. It awards talented students with up to £4,500 and enables them to access guidance and career support from a dedicated coordinator. Graduating psychology student Keeley tells us how she has developed her career path with the help of the scholarship.

I am not from a wealthy background. In my area few people go on to higher education and I am the first person to go to university in my family.

The Futures Scholarship is exciting because you receive funds along with guidance and employability support. If I had just been given money, I may not have known how to spend it in the best way. But having the support of the Futures Scholarship Coordinator meant that I got so much more out of this scholarship. It set me up for making long-term plans and helped me to really think about what I can achieve.

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“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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