First cohort of Black Bristol Scholars begin their studies

One of the inaugural Black Bristol Scholars, David Afikuyomi

Forty Black Bristol Scholars will start their studies this month, as the University’s newest scholarship programme gets underway.

The University’s Black Bristol Scholarship Programme was launched to address the under-representation of Black students at Bristol and will see scores of students given bursaries, postgraduate funding and targeted careers support.

One of the inaugural scholars, David Afikuyomi, who will be studying for an MRes in Economics, said: “I was lost for words when I received the scholarship. This is one of the best things that has happened to me and I’m incredibly grateful.

“The University of Bristol has always supported me since I finished my undergraduate degree six years ago.

“Ultimately, this funding helps my dream to complete a PhD in economics. As one of the first people to receive this scholarship, I hope that I can set an example for others with a similar background to pursue their research aspirations.”

Funding for the first four years of the Programme – totalling more than £1million – comes from the University of Bristol’s generous community of alumni and friends.

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Meet our marathon runners [Part 2]

This October, a brilliant group of Bristol alumni and students will be donning their running shoes and taking on the 2021 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.

We caught up with four of our runners to find out how their training is going and why they’re running in support of student mental health.

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Meet our marathon runners [Part 1]

This October, an incredible group of Bristol alumni and students are taking on the 2021 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.

We spoke to three of the University of Bristol runners taking part this year to find out what inspired them to raise money for Healthy Minds and how their training is going so far.

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‘It’s important to find what’s right for you’: Bristol Mentors share their insights

One hundred alumni and students joined us on 16 March for the Big Bristol Mentors Mingle, which was our first ever Bristol Mentors virtual networking event. This was a chance for alumni, students and mentors to meet each other and share invaluable career-focused insights. (more…)

Join our telephone fundraising team!

We are recruiting for student callers to work on our Summer 2021 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! 

As a telephone fundraiser you will call Bristol graduates to discuss what’s new at the University, answer any questions they may have, and ask for a charitable donation. It’s an important and rewarding job. In 2018/19 our team of student callers raised an incredible £151,872.32, which helped to support projects such as our Futures Scholarships and cardiovascular research. Click here to read more about the amazing things you’ll be helping to support through telephone fundraising. 

We are proud to be a Living Wage accredited employer, and you will be paid £9.50 per hour plus 12.07% holiday pay. All students are paid in arrears for the previous month’s work on the 26th of each month, or on the previous working day if this falls on a weekend or bank holiday. 

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Eileen Atieno (MEng 2018): “All of the doors were closing – but I just needed that one door to open.”

Eileen Atieno (MEng 2018) has achieved an incredible amount during her time at the University. But before she could embark on her Bristol journey, there were significant barriers that she had to overcome.

At the age of 11 Eileen moved from her home in Kenya and began studying at a secondary school in London. She achieved top grades but when she tried to apply for university, Eileen found that her visa status meant she didn’t qualify for student finance. Not one to be put off by a challenge, Eileen applied to almost a hundred bursary and funding opportunities, eventually securing one which meant she could join the University of Bristol as an Aerospace Engineering student.

After graduating in 2017, Eileen began a PhD in Advanced Composites and is now at the University exploring the mechanical properties of polymer composites. Alongside her academic work, Eileen has advocated for greater representation for Black students across her faculty and has set up outreach programmes to inspire young Black children in the Bristol area to study STEM subjects. We caught up with her to learn more about what motivates her to keep pushing for change.

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You’re expanding postgraduate opportunities

Olivia sits on a beach smiling at the camera. She is wearing an orange top and dark trousers

Olivia Kinsman was able to take up a place at the University of Bristol this year having been awarded the Keil Scholarship, which supports PhD students in the Department of History.

I can remember taking my A-levels and knowing how much I wanted to go to university. Even then I knew that eventually I wanted to do a PhD. I’m from a single parent household with a low income and there are lots of us in the family, so growing up was really challenging at times. I’ve always been determined that I wasn’t going to let my background or finances get in the way of what I wanted to do – even if that meant saving up until I was 50 to do my PhD. For me, applying for scholarships and being proactive about reaching out for financial assistance has been really important.

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You’re creating space for research

Robert Chapman sits outside a University of Bristol building. He is wearing a blue shirt and looking away from the camera

Robert Chapman, Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow, explains how this fellowship is advancing important research.

The first year of my fellowship researching Health and Wellbeing for a Neurodiverse Age has been amazing. My PhD explored the philosophy and ethics of autism, challenging the notion that living with autism is inherently at odds with living a good human life. With the fellowship, I’ve been expanding on my previous work to explore neurodiversity more broadly, using my background in Philosophy and Disability Studies to explore the models we’ve developed to understand whether or not someone is psychologically healthy or unhealthy and how they might be ‘disordered’.

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You’re offering sanctuary

Stephanie is smiling at the camera. She is wearing a dark top and denim jacket. The background shows stone columns inside at University of Bristol building.

Chemistry student and former President of the University’s Student Action for Refugees group, Stephanie Hall, has witnessed how Sanctuary Scholarships can transform lives.

During my first year at Bristol, I went to a poetry reading in a café on Gloucester Road. That was where I first heard Home, an incredibly moving poem about how it feels to be a refugee. The piece was written by Warsan Shire, a Somali-British poet who was born in Kenya. In this poem, Shire talks about how you’d never want to leave your home, unless it had become ‘the mouth of a shark’ – in other words, when it becomes so unsafe that it stops being your home.

It was one of the most powerful things I’ve ever heard and it inspired me to join the University of Bristol’s Student Action for Refugees group (STAR).

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