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Student Success | 2012

Introduction to student success With around nearly 400,000 students graduating every year, we know that the bar is set high when it comes to graduate recruiting. When an employer selects candidates for interview they take qualifications as a starting point and then look for evidence of what additional skills, attributes and experience our graduates have to offer. At Plymouth University we offer a range of opportunities to help students extend their personal and academic development. We also encourage and support students to engage in opportunities and competitions at a national and international level that will help them make the most of their university experience. Taking up these opportunities also helps to make our students more employable, setting them on the road to securing their first graduate job and building their future careers. Things like work experience, participation in clubs and societies, voluntary work, being a course representative, competing in competitions; these all add value to a CV and help make our graduates stand out. Through our Plymouth Award our students can gain additional recognition for extra-curricular activities, and it is an award which has the endorsement of many prestigious employers, both local and national. This booklet provides examples of some of the fantastic things that our students are doing to enhance their university experience, and lay the foundations for future success in their career. We hope these success stories will inspire others to take advantage of the opportunities that Plymouth University has to offer. Marc Lintern Head of Employability


Student Success | 2012

Samuel Coumbe BSc (Hons) Business Management Final Year

Sebastian Pitman BSc (Hons) Geography with Ocean Science

Katie Finch BSc Psychology, Third Year

In October 2010, whilst on my Work Placement year I established and started running the Plymouth University Students’ Union Campus Market. For my first event I had 17 local businesses attend, and the event was a huge success with extremely positive Stakeholder feedback.

I am a member of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and in this capacity I am Officer Commanding of a local Air Training Corps Squadron. This is a volunteer post that involves the management, leadership and facilitation of training for some 30 cadets and 10 staff under my command.

Since then it has gone from strength to strength and upon finishing my placement I continued running the Campus Market as a student. I have run 10 events so far and currently have 32 businesses attend each event with a further 35 on the waiting list. As a result of this success, in September 2011 I started running the Plymouth University Craft Fayre, where I currently have 17 businesses attend each event, a figure which is growing each time, and have so far run 5 events. In May 2011 I won the Placement Student and Staff member of the year award for the Plymouth University Students’ Union, In September 2011 I won the Intern of the Year award at the Vice Chancellors Enterprise Awards and came runner up in the Plymouth Student of the Year Award. In November 2011 I won the Young Social Entrepreneur of the year award for the Plymouth Herald.

I have recently secured over £18,000 in funding for the organisation through two separate grant applications. Additionally, I am responsible for the Fieldcraft and Military Skills Training of some 300+ cadets in the Plymouth and Cornwall area as a whole. I take great pride in this work, and am ultimately driven and motivated by the experiences I had as a cadet. I am now in a position to facilitate other young people to experience the same things and go away with the same life skills that I have been lucky enough to develop in my time with the organisation.

This year I have completed my Queen’s Guide Award. It’s a 3 year programme consisting of 5 modules such as Service to Guiding, Community Action and Personal Skill Development. Within each module are several different elements; for example I had to complete at least 60 hours of voluntary service and be responsible for planning an event for several different units amongst other things, I undertook a research project looking into the services available for children with physical and learning disabilities on a local, regional and international level, which involved volunteering at a Special School here in Plymouth, and spending a few weeks at an orphanage in Romania for 2 summers.


It has inspired me to branch out into other voluntary areas, and I’ve recently joined St.John Ambulance and become a Community First Responder for some new challenges! The Queen’s Guide has been a huge challenge, but completing it has given me new-found confidence in my abilities in a number of skills,as well as presenting me with new opportunities I wouldn’t otherwise have considered undertaking. In terms of my university life, it has taught me valuable skills that I can transfer to my work, and I believe that my success in completing the award will help contribute to my success in attaining my degree.

Student Success | 2012

Shannon Sweeting BSc (Hons) Criminology and Criminal Justice Studies with Law, Second Year

Pamela Jaimes Camargo BA (Hons) 3D Design: Spatial & Interiors, Final Year

Henry James Evans Marine Biology, Final Year

Volunteering - I am a gamesmaker for the London 2012 olympics. I have been attending training and will donate 10-20 days of my time to the transport team in summer 2012. 250,000 people applied, 70,000 were accepted, including me. I feel honoured to be a part of the games and will create fantastic memories, and of course, represent Great Britain. I have also done some work experience with the met police in London. I have learnt about the riot gear, seen terrorism laws in Twickenham stadium, been a part of the interview process and even took part in helping trainee police officers pass their learning test.

I participated in an internal mini Flux within 3D design and was selected to be part of the 3D Design Flux Team which took place in Foot Anstey. Even though we didn’t win it was a very rewarding experience. Working as a team in a field in which he had no experience was a challenge for us however we were mentioned as having had an outstanding performance which has given me the confidence to believe that I can apply my creativity in many different situations and contexts that don’t necessarily relate to design. Talking to experts increased my confidence and I believe that this experience will greatly benefit me when going into job interviews as it has built my confidence and presentation skills.

I entered a national competition back in December 2010 ran by the International Scott Centenary Expedition (ISCE) and the Daily Telegraph. The winner would have a place on a 2 month expedition to the Antarctic taking place in November 2012, where they would be part of a sledging party trekking to Captain Scott’s final destination where he and his men perished. It is part of the Scott centenary celebrations. After writing an essay to enter the competition entitled “Why is Captain Scott important to me?”, I was told that I had made it down to the final 10 candidates. Numerous selection events throughout 2011 followed, including 5 days of Royal Navy training at HMS Raleigh in Cornwall and 3 days of Royal Navy Officer training at HMS Sultan in Hampshire.

Helen Leavy Bed Primary Humanities, Final Year I have taken part in Flames training. This training is sponsored by the British Heart Foundation and its aims are to make children aware of the importance of a healthy lifestyle. This is taught through activities and games focus on Olympic and Paralympic values (Friendship, Respect, Excellence, Determination, Courage, Inspiration and Equality). After doing this training I have volunteered go into schools and help to deliver activities and games for children over the next few weeks. There are also larger events arranged as part of the flames programme that I hope to volunteer and get involved with.

Lyndsey Williams BA (Hons) 3D Design: Spatial & Interiors, Final Year At the beginning of this term, our first project was a real life project set by Plymouth City Council. The brief was to re-design 3 of the main high streets in the city centre. I designed a concept based on the falls and rises of Plymouths architecture from WW2 until present. Having a keen interest in designs for the public realm and urban development, taking part in this competition and winning it really helped me develop my knowledge in this field of design and it has helped me to define my own design voice as a spatial student. Even though it was only a minor competition, it has boosted my confidence and ability to create good designs which people in the field of urban development think are worthy of a winning status.


The final four were then announced in September 2011 and I was one of them. The final four were next taken to Northern Norway for 2 weeks cold weather training during November 2011, where we learnt how to survive in a polar environment and conducted a 1 week expedition. A few weeks after returning, the winner was announced and that was myself. Since winning the competition, I have had the joy of meeting David Attenborough and appearing in the local and national news. I am currently undergoing training for the expedition and we plan to depart for Antarctica in November 2012.

Student Success | 2012

Naomi Parsons BA (Hons) 3D Design: Spatial & Interiors, Final Year

Ali Ali MPhil/PhD in computing, Electronics and Communication, Third Year

During my second year, I undertook a live project competition at Stoke Damerell Community College redesigning their classroom for students with learning difficulties. I designed the space to replicate a japanese garden, after research I undertook suggested that meditative spaces help people with autism and ADHD concentrate better. My design came first in the competition, judged by members of the college.

I am a PhD robotic student. I am looking at how to improve the existing prosthetic limbs controlled by the electrical activity of the amputee muscle. Those signals are recorded from the residual limb of the amputees and we you those signals with an intelligent algorithms to control the robotic hand.

During my third year, I had to re-design Plymouth city centre’s public realm in a competition ran by the university and county council. My design consisted of an interactive, organic wave sculpture flowing through the centre, inhabiting various activities, inspired by Plymouths maritime history, my design came second. I believe that from my designs being a success, I feel extremely confident in my future design work.

We proposed some approaches and algorithms to decode individual finger movements offering dexterous control to the prosthetic which is unavailable today. The algorithms were tested at Plymouth University. Additionally, I travelled to Iraq to collect some amputee data which was very challenging. The results from the amputees suggested that there is a hope to achieve dexterity of the prosthetic hands for the amputees. I have participated in many conferences and workshops to communicate my research. I won 3 awards for the excellence of research that we are doing.


Laura Weedon, Faye Pickin, Ava Carpenter, Stephanie Smith, Rowena Pearce and Lauren Chilton BSC Sociology with Criminology and Criminal Justice studies, Second Year We have developed a group called W.A.S.P which stands for Womens, Awareness, Support and Prevention group. Our group aims have been to bring awareness to young women and the community of what sexual assaults are, situations that can make you vulnerable and organisations which are around to help people who have been in these circumstances and lastly ways to protect yourself. So far we have delivered presentations within Eggbuckland to years, 10, 11 and 12 about what sexual offences are, types of date rape drugs and alcohol and how this affects your judgement, we have also told the students about organisations that are there to help. We have also gone out once a week in the early hours of the morning outside cuba handing out water bottles and biscuits to girls and make sure they are going home in groups of people. Lastly we have set up self defence classes for girls at Plymouth University which has been a great success. From this the schools have asked us to carry out our presentations regularly, and we are going to expand to cover younger years and boys safety as well as approach other schools. We are also going to make self defences classes a weekly activity within uni and bring these classes into schools as well. This is all based around the extremely successful feedback gained from questionnaires we have produced for each event.

Student Success | 2012

Chienyem Ike BA (Hons) Business Administration, Final Year

EMOP (IBM UBC Semi Finalists) BSc Economics, Second Year

Tom Bradley BA (Hons) business Studies, Second Year

I have been involved in a range of activities throughout my stay at Plymouth University. For example, I was the charity officer of the African Caribbean Society. I helped organize a range of events and we won the best society for the year 2011. I was also involved in the hotseat and Flux challenge and I gained insight into the competencies and qualities that employers look for in candidates. I also volunteered at the Plymouth Drake Foundation and the Plymouth Devon Racial Equalities Council. I was also a member of the choir at my church and I sang in a concert. I have written two fiction books that are unpublished, and I did this during my spare time. I am the course representative of my programme and I was nominated as the course representative of the year.

The Plymouth University IBM University Business Challenge team consisted of Craig Bullen, Alastair Wright, Oscar George, James Ellerby and Areeb Khan. The competition consisted of running a theoretical company for a number of periods and balancing our results between high profits and corporate responsibility. The team represented Plymouth at the semifinals of this competition in London, hosted by RBS. After coming a close 2nd in the first round, we were very competitive in the semi-finals and were the most consistent team throughout. We beat many Universities, including Exeter and Imperial College which we feel is a great achievement. Fantastic teamwork was shown and due to all the team members being good friends at University, we all had a great time doing it and found it extremely interesting and fast paced. This team is full of very ambitious people and we were very proud to represent Plymouth University.

I have set up the classified website ‘’ in October 2011, which is rapidly becoming the largest specialist watersports classified website in the UK. Board-room’s growth is largely due to the websites integration with the social media network Facebook, making it easy for users to post, view and share listings. Through communication with retailers, customers, sponsors and developers, I have created a database of over 450 users and the page receives in excess of 500 hits per week. This summer boardroom will launch a small clothing line, a mobile optimized website a phone app. My next business venture plans to use skills developed from this project to support smaller businesses in the local area with social media, loyalty apps, and brand design. I am also fortunate to be supported and mentored by a number of retailers, in particular Jim Brooks of Pura Vida Boardriders- entrepreneur and founder of one of the most popular watersports retailers in the UK.

Tom Scott & Theo Moule BSc Business Enterprise, Second Year We founded the society in October 2011, with the ambition to build a network for student entrepreneurs. Since then, the society has grown from strength to strength; organising high profile inspirational guest speakers, arranging many well received events, acquiring funding from the Business School and setting up a subsidised student business skills course with CIMA, (to name but few). On top of this, we have helped many students start up their own ventures, further stimulating student entrepreneurism around the University. The society currently has 150 members, most of which are very active in working on entrepreneurial projects, while contributing to the driving force of the society and its aims/objectives.

Daniel Humphreys BA (Hons) 3D Design: Product Designer I took part in a design competition ran by Superyacht UK which required a high level of freehand drawing skills and a portfolio that complemented the ethos of their competition. I won this nationwide competition and the prize was to travel to Italy where I competed in the highly acclaimed International Abitare La Barca Concept Award at the Seatec show near Pisa. I competed against 11 other international students over two days of freehand drawing. I also won this competition and was the first UK student to do so. This has opened up lots of doors for me in the marine industry and I have numerous companies very interested in me for employment. I am in talks with a successful local marine company who headhunted me for a job role they have coming up.


Robyn Sneesby BA Education Studies, Second Year I have done over 50 hours volunteering in a local primary school in the reception class. I have learnt how to communicate with young children to encourage them to take part in activities. This has helped shape the teacher I hope to become.

Student Success | 2012

Charley Utton BA (Hons) International Relations, First Year

Matthew Chan BA (Hons) Business Studies, Second Year

Hannah Fleming BA (Hons) Events Management

We are a group working with the Talent Hub to improve student involvement with and awareness of Social Enterprise (SE) at Plymouth University. The aims of our current project are to: Map out existing SE opportunities at Plymouth University, Identify possible gaps in student opportunities, Research Student perceptions/awareness of SE and best methods of marketing SE to students, Propose strategy for increasing student involvement in SE opportunities/programs in 2012/13. With hope, we will implement the resulting proposal in September. We have been working on the mapping since late February and have already turned over some interesting results. Our preliminary thoughts are that with some more research and strategising we will be able to achieve or help others to achieve a number of activities.

I was part of the SIFE Plymouth presentation team that completed at the SIFE UK National Final in 2011. We were the first ever rookie team that got to the final round of the competition and were crowed the ‘Rookie Champion of the Year!’. We had the opportunity to present our fantastic projects such as Dream for Green, Anti-Social Behaviour, Trufflohog, Students Talents, School FLUX, START and our involvement with Cultural Cafe.

This year I have really pushed myself to get involved in as much as possible to develop and improve my skills through a variety of events. I have worked for the University on projects such as the Business Challenge, Enterprise Institute, Graduation week and other events taking place in the Marques on the Hoe in September.

Social Enterprise is something we all care passionately about and would like to see become more prevalent in business practice. We believe that all Plymouth University students should have the chance to engage with SE in some way; on an educational or practical basis.

In my second year of SIFE Plymouth, I became the Chair. We carried on with our involvement with Culture Cafe, working hard to make positive impacts to START, six form students from School Flux, the Devonport Community etc. SIFE Plymouth’s achievements are based on students’ ideas, determination to succeed and the passion to make a impact to the community that we are part of.


I am also part of a team that organise external events for students such as a street party on the Barbican to celebrate Plymouth’s 150th anniversary. I am School Rep for Tourism and Hospitality this year ,and have developed the student experience by organising a Student Experience evening and Student Integration & Leadership Development event ,as well as working on the SSTAR Awards. I am about to set up my own business for my placement year and also encourage other students to develop their enterprising spirit by being a key part of the Entrepreneur Society which was set up in 2011.

Student Success | 2012

Efthimia Papaefthimiou Masters of Architecture, Final Year

Jack-William Cantwell BA (Hons) English, Final Year

Rebecca Kittle on behalf of ‘Rise To’ BA Events Management

As part of my Master of Architecture programme I have explored my passion for pedagogy and its relation to architecture. Having the support of my tutor and Head of the School Robert Brown, I published my first paper “The way to liberation: Paulo Freire’s Liberatory Pedagogy in parallel to Participatory Design”, to a conference held by University of Exeter last June. Further to that, since last September I am working with the Year 1 Bachelor students as an assistant design tutor. I have also been selected to present my current paper “Decoding Pedagogy for Pedagogy: A Cross-Cultural Perspective. The Importance of Metalinguistic Awareness in Architectural Education” at PedRIO Conference in April. These achievements - research, teaching, and publications in conferences alongside my postgraduate studies have helped me to challenge my personal quest for knowledge and excellence. My goal is to graduate from my Master course and continue actively my research in Pedagogy and Architecture at Plymouth University.

I was voted in as Men’s Captain of the Plymouth University Futsal, the largest sports club at the Uni, in February 2012. I was in charge of running 6 University leagues, including arranging fixtures, liaising with team Captains, running the leagues on match days, solving any issues with captains, handling match fees and overseeing player registrations. I was also Captain of the Plymouth Uni Futsal 2nds BUCS team who compete against other Universities. This final year I have also been doing the role of Social Sec, organising large scale socials for our members thinking of creative and fun ways to encourage camaraderie and fellowship. We broke University records this year for the most people out on a Sports Society social.

I have entered along with five other students into a student enterprise competition called ‘Rise To.’ The aim of the competition is to create an online campaign which develops our team work, communication and problem solving skills in modules such as PR, marketing and sales. The campaign is developed through the concept of giving ‘thanks’ and our target is to raise as much awareness in the community and get as many ‘thank you’ messages on our web page as possible.

Creative Think Tank: In 2012 I was selected to be part of a 5 man student team in charge of generating new and innovative ways to bring commerce and attention to the Student’s Union. I was selected from over 500 candidates and have thus far contributed to a radical re-think of the University Ents department, a culturally diverse range of foods being offered at ‘The Kitchen’ and have begun organising a University wide FIFA tournament. Myself and 6 other friends from Futsal completed a 24 sports in 24 hours, raising over £1500 for Sports Relief. I was in charge of liaising with other University sports clubs and arranging the timetable for our event, which was very hard work.


The team have chosen to support St Lukes Hospice, Plymouth. The team have managed to get recognition from the Evening Herald as well as radio stations and have also received a donation of £1500 to give to St Lukes Hospice on their 30th Birthday.

Student Success | 2012

Richard Dempsey BA (Hons) Media Arts, Final Year

Kirti Ramesh BSc (Hons) Marine Biology and Coastal Ecology, Stage 4

Sabrina Heiser BSc Marine Biology, Final Year

This year I have joined RAG society and our best event so far has been people taking part doing a 175ft bungee jump raising money for guide dogs. This was at the Barbican Leisure Park and real life guide dogs were there to support our jump. We are still counting the money but we had a real good turnout. It was nice for everyone to get together not only students and support each other one by one as we took a scary 175ft drop. I helped raise 120 pounds which I am very pleased about.

I am currently the President of a student led volunteer society that has successfully organised 40 volunteer projects all over the South West this year and won its first society of the month award, through active fundraising and extraordinary projects.

This year I got elected as a Course Representative and as a School Representative for Marine Science and Engineering. I have learned how much students are actually involved in feedback and to communicate criticism constructively.

I have always been a part of the societies’ committee, and complete over 150 hours of volunteering every year. I have also in my time at university been awarded the VImpact award by BTCV and the UPSU Award. I have taken on lab-based internships in different countries where I have helped study genetics of sharks in the Middle East.

I also presented my honours project at the British Phycological Society (BPS) Annual Winter meeting 2012 in Newcastle. I was not only able to talk to specialists but was also received the student poster prize. It was a great experience to have my research this highly recognised. Throughout the year I have been volunteering for the National Marine Aquarium. Since my second year I have been a volunteer diver. Luckily, last November I was able to join the husbandry volunteering scheme. I learned skills in handling organisms and taking responsibility. Spending one whole day a week in the aquarium I had to carefully manage my time in order to not neglect coursework and my other tasks.

Catherine Henry BA (Hons) Art History, Final Year

A group of 3rd year Art History students called the rammbassors, have been working with Royal Albert Memorial Museum, producing an art blog, leading to soap box talks to the general public inside the museum. Our blog has been read by the members of the Art Council, which lead to them being present at some of our soap box talks. These are available as i-pod talks for the public as they go around the exhibition.

Alan o’Doherty BA (Hons) 3D Design, Second Year

This has given us the chance to present our own research in to British impression, to the general public, and strengthening our ties with the art world.

Working with the client has given me experience and invaluable knowledge of how the sale of ideas and products is conducted.

I have been working on a live client project where the client has accepted one of my designs to use as a future product. The design is a fur hood attachment that does not cause permanent damage to the material of the garment.

It has given me a product to add to my portfolio while also helping me develop my design identity and its application in the public domain.


Student Success | 2012

Stuart Queen BSc (Hons) Marine Biology & Oceanography, Second Year

Christopher Hunt BSc(Hons) Digital Art and Technology, Final Year

Vanessa Carter BSc (Hons) Criminology and Criminal Justice Studies

Working for the charity BLESMA, which provides rehabilitation for injured ex-service personnel, I have organised and managed a number of events taking groups on rehabilitation diving events with training elements in the UK and trips to the Red Sea.

This year I have set myself up as a freelancer, primarily doing work for i-DAT, but also working with the Bill Douglas Centre, CSF and M&C Saatchi. I am also collaborating with M&C Saatchi on a new start up idea, Deep Dive.

Student Talents Project: Getting to know the police and opportunities for the future. The project opportunity emerged from Devon and Cornwall Constabulary and Santander offering funding to Plymouth University students to set up projects which would make a difference within their local community. ‘Getting to know the police and opportunities for the future’ was one of 18 successful student talent projects to be funded. Our project is targeted at the younger years 7, 8 and 9 at secondary schools and focuses on providing a wider education for the young people about the police, antisocial behaviour and opportunities for their futures.

I have learned a great deal about the logistics of organising trips including special arrangements for those that need them and about how to best help the guys on the project. A large element of this involves helping people come to terms with their injuries. One of my all-time greatest moments in diving comes from the reaction of a double leg amputee to a particular dive. 300 words is not enough to describe it!

Vicky Gilbert BA (Hons) 3D, Designer Maker Student, Final Year From the 4th – 7th March 2012 I helped set up and exhibited my sleek desk light at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham at the KBB Exhibition (Kitchens, Bathrooms and Bedrooms) This was an extremely successful experience that allowed me and others from my course to gain contact with professional people that could one day become clients or possible employers. I learnt a huge amount about exhibiting to the public that will help me further exhibitions. It also gave me confidence when talking to potential clients

I have developed a tracking and feedback system for BAS7, ran school workshops and deployed environmental sensors as part of the Confluence Project, collaborated with Artists and built new opportunities where ever I go. My time at the University has allowed me to develop professionally through an industrial placement, and create a network of potential clients and colleagues all around the UK and beyond. I believe that experiences make you more employable, and Plymouth has been a great place to start.

Karen Cheek BA (Hons) Photography, Graduate Undertaking a Student Internship at Peninsula Arts during my third year of study followed by Graduate Internship, I was able to gain an insight into a professional arts environment. During this time I was able to gain administrative, marketing and customer service skills, as well as an understanding of the logistics of running an arts programme. These workplace skills were important areas to develop and understand and ultimately gave me the opportunity to progress within this area, particularly when an opportunity arose as a Marketing Assistant within Peninsula Arts and the Faculty of Arts. Without my initial experience as an intern, I may not have had the opportunity to have progressed as far as I have done so quickly upon Graduating, as my experience was key to obtaining the role.


The aim of the project is to get young people to have a better understanding of the police and to educate them on aspects of anti-social behaviour and its consequences. We also aim to enable young people to think further about their own futures and the opportunities in their local areas which they can use to better their experiences.

Student Success | 2012

Phil Martin MGeol Geology, Third Year

Helen Morton MGeol Geology, Third year

Rachel Cunningham MSc Psychology

When I applied for and was awarded a Nuffield Foundation Undergraduate Research Bursary in my second year. This award and the 8 weeks of research that came with it allowed me to work and develop skills and knowledge over the summer of 2011 as part of an active research team led by Dr Stephen Grimes. The research I undertook was related to a greenhouse event in Earth’s geological past. The greenhouse event occurred 55 million years ago and I looked at how we can track the event using carbon isotopes in fossil wood. At the end of this research I gave a talk on what I had done and discovered at the Centre for Research in Earth Science (CRES) conference in the 16th November 2011 in front of an audience consisting of visiting academics, PU academics, researchers and students something I could never have done previously.

During the summer of 2011, I was awarded a Nuffield Research Scholarship fund to work on the Macquarie Island Gabbros (South Pacific). This project was proposed by Dr. Arjan Dijkstra who had collected the samples several years earlier and whom I worked alongside. The results were presented at the CRES conference in November 2011 at Plymouth University and I also presented the results to the Volcanics and Magmatics Study Group Conference 2012 in Durham where I received a commendation for my work. The project was a steep learning curve and the Durham conference allowed me to gain some useful contacts that has led to possible work placements and plenty of support and advice from influential people who work in the industry I would like to work in. Attending the conferences has given me confidence to stand up in front of my peers and present findings in a constructive and professional manner.

Across the year I have sat on Parliament as Postgraduate Campaigns Chair, I established and have the position of president of the Gender Equality Society, and currently work as a Research Assistant within the University. As president of the Gender Equality Society I lead an event called ‘Reclaim the Night’ which is a march that is held to take a stand against sexual violence on the streets. Over the past few years I volunteered with Women’s Organisations and Children’s Services.

As a result of being awarded a Nuffield Foundation Undergraduate Research Bursary, of conducting independent research, and giving a well received and accurate talk in front of peers and other academics I have come to the realisation that I not only want a career in research and academia, but I now have the confidence to pursue my goal. The effects the Nuffield Foundation Research Bursary has had on me cannot be measured and I consider myself exceptionally lucky to have won this award and would recommend it to everyone.

My post as Research Assistant where I work part-time alongside my Masters looks at the impact of student volunteering in the community and the barriers to volunteering. I carry out one to one in-depth interviews, questionnaires and collect data for the project. I also co-write the surveys, do the literature review search and matrices, and transcribe the interviews that have been recorded. As part of my role I liaise with external organisations and students to build important links between the University and its community. I have been in post since January. My confidences in my own ability and realisation of my capacity for self-development have flourished. Previously I worked in a customer facing role but aspired to gain employment that would enhance my CV for my future career goals and that I could feel passionate about.


Student Success | 2012

Christa Feltham LLB (Hons) Law, First Year

Marc Partridge BA History, Final Year

Francesca Stramandino II PhD in Cognitive Developmental Robotics, Third Year

I am a volunteer for the Youth Offending Service (YOS) in Plymouth. I act as an “appropriate adult” if needed and therefore get the opportunity to learn how to work with vulnerable youths. Through the YOS I have completed my CPF (Understanding Child Protection) Certificate. I am a member of the LCJS (Law & Criminal Justice Society). Being a member has enabled me to participate in competitions and enhance my advocacy skills.

After working on my dissertation about the policing of prostitutes in Victorian Plymouth, my tutor Richard Huzzey put me in touch with the trust at Ford Park Cemetery. I was then invited to take part in a symposium of short talks on the various aspects on prostitution in Victorian Plymouth. I presented a thirty minute talk based on the first couple chapters of my dissertation.

In May 2011 at the IV FET Conference (The European Future Technologies Conference and Exhibition), held in Budapest from the 4th to the 6th of May, I presented a poster that has been awarded with the Second Prize Best Poster. The poster was about development of two robotic experiments for investigating the relations between symbolic representation and sensory-motor knowledge in the iCub robot.

My partner and I are now in the debating finals which will be held on the 20th March. Besides the LCJS I am on the Governor Scheme. This scheme provides the opportunity for me to understand what it means to be on the board of Plymouth University and also to meet some very interesting personalities. A great achievement of mine besides my academia and extracurricular activities is being nominated “Sports personality of the Year” for Sailing in Austria. I appreciate the incredible opportunities to learn and enjoy my time at university, and how important it is to undertake the obligations and responsibilities with passion.

The event was a sell out and a success. I received great feedback from my fellow speakers who were all doctors who were surprised I was an undergrad! It was a great experience for me and hopefully people heard some things they never knew from my talk.

Rebecca Thomas BA (Hons) 3D Design, Final Year I have had the opportunity to participate in a number of live projects. One of the projects was working on a commission for a social enterprise called Embercombe, and for them we designed and made 8 tables and 16 benches. I have also been involved in a project for Duchy Timber, where we designed a new contemporary range for them that will be launched at the Cornwall Show. This has been great experience for me, it has given me an opportunity to learn things that I wouldn’t have done otherwise, and have learnt to work well as part of a team. It also gives potential employers and clients confidence to hear that we have done project like these.


In December 2011 I was invited to give a talk about science communication to the general public at the First Innovation Convention organised by the European Commission in Brussels.

Ian Reveley 3D Design - Designer Maker Final Year A small group of us within our course volunteered to design a new range of furniture for an outside company to accompany their present products. This was a successful project with the clients being happy with the results and rewarded us with some support towards our future exhibitions.

Student Success | 2012

Jekaterina Kockina BA (Hons) International Business with Spanish, Third Year

Aimee Kingston BA Hons Music, Final Year

Nathan Nicholls BSc (Hons) Psychology, Final Year

I am on placement in Plymouth University HR gaining real work experience. I also work as a Language Ambassador facilitating video conferences in Spanish which is great practice for me and participating school students. I volunteer in the Cultural Cafe and take part in events organisation there. Participating in the Students as Partners Event and receiving funds to enhance the Languages Cafe project had a great impact on my development.

Aiming to be a teacher, I carried out an investigation during an independent study module on the legitimacy of the Mozart theory.

In January of this year I organised a charity futsal tournament that raised £1000 for the Devon Air Ambulance. There were over 300 people who needed organising to make this event the success that it was.

I also volunteer for Plymouth Multilingual Families - voluntary organisation in Plymouth that benefits the community greatly by bringing bilingual families together. There I am working with events management students on fundraising. This summer I am going to Spain to work thanks to a Santander Language Exchange Scholarship which will help to improve my Spanish skills as well as enable me to do a part of my dissertation research. I feel that getting involved in various projects helped me to develop the skills that employers are looking for nowadays. I would encourage students to do as much as they can while at the university - that will equip them to achieve success in future!.

Through my voluntary work in schools and a paid placement ran by the TDA, I felt this was an area of education that needed to be covered. This piece of work gained me a mark of 80% and has allowed me to stand out when attending an interview day at Cambridge University. I have now received a conditional offer from Cambridge for a place on their music PGCE course, and their Masters in Education. As someone who has always struggled in education, I am extremely proud of the fact I have now been accepted to one of the most respected institutions in the world, and hope it will allow my career to excel to benefit education with my new theories on how background music can be used in educational environments.


As well as this, I was integral to the organisation of the recent 24 Sports in 24 Hours event. We completed a sport every hour for an hour from 9 till 9 on the Saturday and Sunday at the weekend of February 24th-25th. This was featured on BBC Devon (TV), Spotlight on Devon (TV), BBC Devon (radio) as well as 3 pieces in the Herald. We have currently raised £1450 but are pushing to go over the £1500 mark.

Student Success | 2012

Millat Hossin Bsc (Hons) Computer Networking, Final year

Jacob Roberts BA (Hons) Media Arts, Graduate/Staff

Craig Bullen BSc Economics, Second Year

During my journey in university life, I have setup a software development business, with the help from Plymouth University Enterprise Solutions. My company services include Complex Web application, Mobile apps, Business Automation Systems and Enterprise resource planning (ERPs). My company will be operating throughout England, the Netherlands, and Denmark.

Since graduating and earning Media Arts Student of the Year in September 2011, I’ve returned to Plymouth University to work on the media team in the Charles Seale Hayne Library as well as setting up my own Video production company along with two other graduates; Olly Reed and Adam Howard.

I am soon to start my third business in Plymouth after two other successful ventures in Cornwall, and I have also been responsible for the start-up of another business in Winchester and a charity in the South-West. I was the team leader of this year’s Plymouth IBM University Business Challenge team and was also a member of the FLUX business challenge team. I am also a Business Consultant for Plymouth University’s Enterprise Scholarship Scheme. Through these, I have developed strong leadership and interpersonal skills. I am also a member of the Economics Society, the Entrepreneurs Society and the Lacrosse Society at the University. I have also also been captain of 2 rugby teams and represented Cornwall in the last few years.

I have also been invited to networking events across the globe. One very successful networking event was held in Amsterdam and was organised by the International Trade Center (ITC) part of United Nations (UN). It was due to the collaboration with the Bangladesh Company that I was invited by ITC to attend a business ‘match making’ event, also held in Amsterdam. As a result I have established a joint venture with a Dutch company, for the purpose of sales, support and local contact point in the Netherlands.

Setting up my own business has been a challenge, especially trying to put my more creative and artistic skillset to use in developing business plans and working out pricing structures. We’ve recently received our first paid job, which was a great feeling to be paid for something that we all love doing. Although as a business we’re not planning on taking on Warner Bros or Pixar yet, we like to think we have a bright future and we know we can rely on the skills that we all learnt here at Plymouth University to make us all successful.


Student Success | 2012

Terence Totty FdSc Environmental Health, Second Year

Last year I applied to become the UPC Representative for Petroc in Barnstaple. This position has allowed me to get deeply involved with all the Course Reps in Higher Education at Petroc and gather the student views and opinions to put forward and change certain aspects to improve the student learning experience. I am also in the process of organising a movie screening in conjunction with the Coop Group about Hydraulic Fracturing. A lecture will be given and the movie will be shown to make students aware of the damage that Hydraulic Fracturing can cause to the environment and public health.

Aimee Goddard BA Music Final Year I am submitting this as a member of a team of students who have been delivering music workshops in local schools since the beginning of this year. I manage a team of 6 dedicated members who are all responsible for organising sessions which aim to be child-lead and to encourage children who might not necessarily consider themselves particularly musical to embrace their own musicality in a variety of different ways.

Hope Thomas BSc (Hons) Geology Student, Second Year

Madhusha Wijesiri Master of Architecture, Stage 2

This year I have completed and been awarded the Queen’s Guide Award, this is a culmination of 3 years work. The award is based on the concepts of personal challenge and participation and is split into five sections: services in guiding, outdoor challenge, personal skill development, community action and residential. With other Guides I have travelled across China, Mongolia and Siberia. Along the way, we drank fermented horse’s milk and watched the opening fireworks at the start of the Beijing Olympics.

I was awarded for the best design project of the year for Master of Architecture stage 1 last year (2010/11). One of the articles that I wrote on sustainable design approach was chosen to be published on the Scroope 21, a forum held by University of Cambridge.

I have also completed a research project on the dilemmas concerning assisted suicide nationally and internationally , worked as a young leader for Brownie groups in Cumbria and Plymouth, and volunteer in various roles with Girl Guiding and other charities. This gave me a great sense of satisfaction and was a great way to make friends and get involved with university life when I started. I was presented with a certificate and brooch for my award at a local ceremony in December, and I have been invited to a national celebration to be held in the House of Lords in October.

We have been really successful in this and many member of my team are going on to do PGCEs at postgraduate level. I think this experience has really helped all of us to consider innovative and more inclusive approaches to teaching which foster creativity rather than prescribe it.

Also I’m currently working as an Assistant Tutor for BA Architecture Stage 1-design and communication modules. These opportunities have given me the confidence to go further in the field that I’m pursuing. I do believe that these achievements have enhanced my CV greatly. Specially as an International student, these achievements will open up a better career path for me within UK as well as internationally.

Nicola Carter BA (Hons) Illustration, Final Year My ambition is to become a successful Set Designer for Theatre. Also a result of networking a local theatre group, ‘The Tamaritans’ were willing to meet up with me. There I expressed my passion and interest for Set Design, they also looked at my previous work in Theatre, and as a result I was offered the chance to design the set for John Mortimer’s ‘A Voyage Round My Father’. The opportunity led to local media coverage of my involvement in the company and my artwork featured in the shows programme. It was not only an amazing opportunity for my future ambition but the success of my work has led onto two more offerings for Set Design jobs for ‘The Drum’, one of which I am working on at the moment, which is part of my final year major project.


Student Success | 2012

Sue Newell BA (Hons) 3D, Designer Maker Student, Final Year

Jamie Hayward BSc (Hons) Marine Biology and Coastal Ecology, Second Year

Suzi Graham BSc (Hons) Criminology and Criminal Justice Studies, Second Year

At the end of last academic year, I had work selected for the Pop Up shop run in collaboration with Pen Arts, and for exhibition on the Aim Higher Stand at Contemporary Craft Fair.

I Emma Cope, would like to nominate Jamie Hayward. Jamie has played an active role within the local community, working with the volunteer society in the SU, taking part in many projects, including several days working on the University’s allotment. He is also involved in the uni’s Musical Theatre Group (MTG) , going above and beyond his role of ‘health and safety’ officer on the committee.

I decided to gain some practical work experience during my degree and was accepted by Devon and Cornwall Constabulary as a Special Constable in October 2010. I faced my own challenges when considering how undertaking this sort of work would affect my disability. However, I have been overwhelmed by the positive support and encouragement I have received from my colleagues and the police force itself.

Playing large roles in both the Christmas Cabaret concert and upcoming March musical takes up enough time in itself, however Jamie has not only done this and organised the health and safety aspects of the shows but has taken large amounts of his own time to arrange volunteering opportunities for the 70 strong society.

I am privileged to have the opportunity to engage with a local community, to work with some outstanding and inspiring officers, and develop myself and my skills in a way that benefits not only me and future employers, but importantly the community within which I work. The job has also provided a wealth of practical knowledge and experience which has greatly enhanced my learning and the quality of my academic work.

This academic year I had work selected from an open submission to Present Makers, an exhibition held at Thelma Hulbert Gallery, Honiton. I’ve also had a commission for candle lanterns for the New River Cottage Restaurant in Plymouth, to design and make soap dishes for Odds and Suds an artisan soap company and work selected for exhibition at KBB held at the NEC. Through these opportunities I have had to be professional in my preparation i.e. website, business cards, packaging, pricing etc as well as hone my networking skills and talking about my work. I am presently looking for funding to help in the set up of my own workshop so I can continue making after leaving University.

Amy Coulling BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies This year I have been volunteering in a Reception class in Plymouth, which has meant my experiences in the school has secured me a place on PGCE course for September, as I am hoping to become an Early Years teacher. In other news, as a student representative, I organised a Christmas party for the course in December which was successful and very enjoyable, and has now started a trend for the following years.

Throughout this academic year Jamie has independently organised, taken part in and encouraged as many society members as possible to join him in helping the local community. Jamie would never nominate himself because he doesn’t do the work for the recognition; he does it because he loves helping others and giving back to the community. I believe he really does deserve acknowledgment for the work and time he puts into helping others.


As a result I was awarded a Commander’s Certificate in December 2011 from the Devonport and West Sector Superintendent, in recognition of my dedication and commitment. This award was presented to me for my victim - centred approach and thorough understanding of ‘Operation Encompass’ during a violent incident in September 2011.

Student Success | 2012

Santander Scholarships A new partnership with Santander Universities will provide the University with a range of funding and scholarships worth almost £60,000 a year, for the next three years. The funding – awarded to students for academic excellence – will provide scholarships that enhance the student experience and their career opportunities. This includes activities such as work-based learning; support for voluntary projects; overseas visits to study and work; and language exchange programmes with Spain and Portugal. PhD student Claudio Saez Avaria was selected to receive the Santander Postgraduate Internationalisation Scholarship in order to conduct field experiments on marine toxicology in northern Chile. He said: “I was very happy when I was informed about the results of the scholarship; being awarded with this scholarship has been an extra source of energy, enhancing the reach of my investigation and, of course, contributing importantly to my development as a researcher.” Jekaterina Kockina, BA (Hons) International Business with Spanish, was awarded a Santander Language Exchange Scholarship to enable her to travel and study in Spain to improve her Spanish language skills. She said: “I love learning languages - I am studying Spanish as a part of my degree but I have never had the opportunity to go to Spain.

I am very excited about the project I will be undertaking, which is a workbased learning activity. I will go to a university in Spain and volunteer on campus for five weeks during the summer 2012. This will enable me to utilise my previous work experience, as well as improving my Spanish!” For more information about the Santander Scholarships and the other winners for 2012, visit:

Santander Scholarships 2011-2012 Aitor Hernandez PhD Chemistry Student Claudio Saez Avaria PhD Marine Studies Charlotte Levy PhD Environmental Sciences Richird Dienga BA (Hons) International Relations with Spanish Jakaterina Kockina BA (Hons) International Business with Spanish Jana Darmovzalova BSc (Hons) Environmental Sciences Marcello Gatti BSc (Hons) International Relations with Politics Vivienne Ralph BMBS Medicine Chidi Egwu BSc (hons) Economics

Ross Cosgrove MSc Marine Renewable Energy 17

Employability Bursaries We are grateful to Santander Bank for providing funding to help our students take up opportunities that will enhance their awareness of different career opportunities and also develop their employability skills. In particular, this year Santander have funded: • C  areer Insight Bursaries, providing opportunities for students and recent graduates to undertake a ten day work insight placement in a career area of their choice • O  ne day Flux challenges that are a cross between the Apprentice and Dragon’s Den and which give students an insight into what is involved in running their own business • E  xpenses for students taking part in the University’s Employer Mentoring Programme, which pairs disabled students with an employer mentor in order to provide students with advice, introductions to professional networks and assisting with confidence building In addition, Santander and Devon & Cornwall Police have between them funded twenty Student Talents ‘Acorn’ Projects, each enabling students to undertake community projects that will improve their employability skills at the same time as giving back to the local community in which they live and study.

Student Success | 2012

Hail Rihan PhD in the School of Biomedical and Biological Sciences, Third Year

Stacey Weeks MRes Dance, First Year

Louis John Brzozka BA (Hons) Theatre and Performance, Final Year

I have published 5 articles in international journals, one of which has been reviewed and presented in Agricell Reports Vol 57 no 5. This international review newsletter selects the most noteworthy publications in the field of plant biotechnology each month. I was funded by (1st Plant Environmental Physiology minisymposium) conference held in London to present my research. I presented three studies in the conference. I have presented my research in several national and international conferences. I was rewarded as the winner of the best oral presentation in the postgraduate conference at Plymouth University.

As a Plymouth University postgraduate student, I have co-founded a dance company with three other Plymouth graduates, called Exim Dance Company CIC. Exim has a vision of inclusive and accessible dance. Our ethos is Educate, Support, Contribute, Inspire and Coalesce. We currently provide twice weekly dance classes at the University. As part of Exim, I made a dance film called Bleak which came 2nd in November at the Cornwall Film Festival 2011, Dance, Camera, Action! category. Although the film making was solely my responsibility, the research and creation of material was a collaborative effort allied with the fantastic camera work of David and Nathan Hilton. My next external and solo project will be another entry for the Cornwall Film Festival 2012. This achievement has given me the confidence to pursue other dance film opportunities and to incorporate this medium within my postgraduate practice of sited dance.

As part of my course I worked with the team here at the University who are running the project to renovate the reservoir and gardens, in order to create an interactive audio experience based in Plymouth. I offered to devise a script, oversee voice recording and the technical publication of the audio experience with the aim of boosting their bid for funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. We have since been awarded funding through the Students as Partners Scheme in the University and we hope to have the project up and running by early April. The skills and contacts achieved from creating this project have offered me a strong practical insight into the feasibility of running similar project in the future as a realistic business opportunity. I am already a selfemployed Genealogist and a project like this could be an ideal business venture to run alongside my Genealogy.

I have applied for the Plymouth award scheme and was able to secure £250 funding to participate in an international conference held in London. I have completed the student associates scheme (SAS) and I have completed a teaching placement in Tavistock School.

Tom Vowler MA Creative Writing Since graduating in 2008 my short stories have appeared widely. My debut collection was published by Salt and won the Scott Prize in 2010 and, in 2011, the Edge Hill Readers’ Award. Last year I was signed by the literary agency A.M. Heath, who represent, among others, Hilary Mantel and, formerly, George Orwell. I have recently signed a twobook deal with publisher Headline, and my first novel is due out in March 2013. I have since become an Associate Lecturer in Creative Writing at Plymouth University and I am the Assistant Editor of the literary journal, Short FICTION, which is published by University of Plymouth Press.

Alichia Maxine Peters LLB (Hons) Law, First year I have volunteered at Citizen’s Advice Bureau this year and this has led to me gaining the Santander Award. Through this I can learn BSL, which will be my fourth additional language. I also have got more involved with other charities for my law course and this has improved my confidence


Ben Harvey BA (Hons) 3D Design, Product Design, Final Year I designed the ‘Wine-V’ Wine Rack – The Wine-V sits comfortably between the contemporary style of Karim Rashid’s mass produced goods and Stuart Melrose’s iconic modern furniture. With a variety of coupled colours it is ready for any restaurant’s, vintner’s or home colour scheme. Originally designed as a display unit for vintners, the Wine-V allows the viewer to see the wine clearly from as many angles as possible. As a standalone unit it is strong and sturdy allowing it to be used as a display unit ‘light up’ any space. So far the Wine-V has been on display and for sale in the Seale Hayne gallery in Newton Abbot as we as selling through private sales. Bistro One restaurant, winner of Plymouth’s Best Restaurant 2011/12, has also had the benefit of using it where it received an excellent response. Most recently I have commissioned LG Hi Macs to fabricate a Wine-V for free, which was on display in the NEC for the KBB trade show in Birmingham.

Student Success | 2012

SSTAR Awards


The UPSU Student and Staff, Teaching and Representation (SSTAR) Awards have been organised by students with the support of the Students’ Union to reward the many excellent university staff members and dedicated course reps at Plymouth University.

Our University FLUX team successfully retained the ‘National FLUX Champions’ title at the hotly contested FLUX Final in London in March. Plymouth University’s team made up of final year Law students beat off stiff competition from 19 other universities. The team consisting of Josh Lintern, Kayleigh Clark, Emma Pierce, Alex Jordan, James Simmons and Lucy Nash were set a challenge of developing an area of waste ground situated next to the O2 Arena. The two day competition included the teams taking part in a fast paced networking event, a series of expert briefings as well as pitching their idea to a panel of industry experts.

This years successful students were Parliamentarian of the Year Shortlisted: Rob Young Winner: Emily Robson

Course Rep of the Year Faculty of Health, Education and Society: Chris Carter Faculty of Arts: Sam Kelway Faculty of Science and Technology Highly Commended Sabrina Heiser, Winner Grant Cole UPC Faculty - Highly Commended Andrew Faulkner, Winner Tom Evans Plymouth Business School – Silje Ueland

The Plymouth team beat Bicton College and University of East Anglia to claim the title in the final challenge, a head to head pitch off. The team performed strongly throughout the two days of the competition and impressed experts and students alike. They acted as true ambassadors for Plymouth University and helped to raise the profile of Plymouth on the National stage.


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Student Success with Plymouth University  
Student Success with Plymouth University  

Plymouth University students are undertaking a number of activities to great success and to celebrate this hosted an event to showcase these...