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Issue 03 Summer 2012

Life

WLV Alumn

i mag

azine

for W olverh

ampto

Creating a Big Bang in Hollywood Graduate feature: Alice Amter

Alumni reunion in pictures All the snaps from the night

An Olympic University How your university got involved

n grad

uates

and fo

rmer s

tuden

ts


Life. At Wolverhampton. After Wolverhampton. For Life. Welcome to the Summer 2012 edition of WLV Life – the alumni magazine for graduates and former students of the University of Wolverhampton.

Finally, did you miss our first ever Alumni Reunion back in February? Well don’t worry, because in this bumper edition we’ve got all the pictures (page 3).

Here in the alumni team we love discovering things about our graduates and since the last edition we’ve made some incredible ones.

With all the latest alumni and University news, including the launch of our new branch campus in Mauritius (page 14), and a look at what a day is like in the life of two of our Graduate Interns (page 10), you’ll be sure to find something of interest.

If the face on the front cover looks familiar, you probably recognise her from hit TV show The Big Bang Theory. That’s where graduate, Alice Amter, is currently making a name for herself as ‘Mrs Koothrappali’ and we just had to talk to her about life on the Hollywood scene (page 12). Plus, who can mention summer 2012 without thinking about the Olympic Games? We can’t; and life handed us our own little win when we discovered graduate, Lauren Smith, not only works for London 2012, but is a Commonwealth Bronze Medallist (page 16). You can also find out how your University got involved in the Olympics on page 19, including welcoming the Australian Judo team.

Written by: Amy Roberton & Leigh Joslin

If you fancy sending us a letter or sharing your ‘life’ story then we’d love to read – and maybe even publish – what you’ve been up to since we said goodbye. I hope you find WLV Life an entertaining and informative read – please do let us know your thoughts via email: alumni@wlv.ac.uk

Amy Robert on

03 Contents 12 14

Best wishes

Amy Roberton Editor

16

02 03 08 10 12 14 16 19 22 24

Alumni news and events

What’s been happening at your University...

Alumni Reunion 2012 in pictures See what we got up to

University news

Top headlines from the past six months

A day in the life of a Graduate Intern

James and Sarah, Schools and Colleges Liaison

Graduate feature: Alice Amter Creating a Big Bang in Hollywood

Proudly in Mauritius

We launch a new branch campus and alumni association

Graduate feature: Lauren Smith Making a splash

An Olympic University

How your university got involved

My Life

Jerry Nulun, LLB (Hons) Law, 1997

Puzzle Page

Quick crossword and Sudoku

01


Alumni news and events New 20% Postgraduate Loyalty Discount

The Leading Lights lecture series

Thinking about furthering your studies with a taught postgraduate course? There’s never been a better time to invest in you, with our new postgraduate loyalty discount.

Distinguished figures from the worlds of human rights, law, education and business took centre stage this spring with an exciting new series of thought-provoking public lectures.

If you completed an undergraduate degree at the University of Wolverhampton, you can enjoy a 20% discount* on the first year of a taught postgraduate programme. The discount is available on Master’s degrees, postgraduate diplomas and postgraduate certificates (PGCE, MPhil or Doctoral awards are not eligible). The discount applies to new entrants only on courses starting from September 2012 onwards. Discover our full range of postgraduate taught courses and see what you can save at: www.wlv.ac.uk/postgrad *Terms and conditions apply.

The Leading Lights Lectures 2012 featured a number of the University’s honorary graduates, who are prominent industry figures that the University has awarded with an honorary degree in recognition of their achievements within their field. They included Mary Curnock Cook OBE, Chief Executive of UCAS; entrepreneur Tom Ilube, who founded the world’s largest online bank, Egg; Jean Irvine OBE, who is an equality and human rights commissioner; Constance Briscoe, one of the first black women to be appointed a judge in the UK; and Mark Palmer, the marketing mastermind behind Green and Black’s organic chocolate.

More than 750 graduates donned their cap and gown last April to receive their degrees at the Grand Theatre in Wolverhampton.

Attended by key local and regional partners, the general public, students, graduates and staff, The Leading Lights Lectures have now become a key part of the University’s events calendar. Watch the lectures at: www.wlv.ac.uk/leadinglights

Postgraduate students from subjects across the University were joined by undergraduate students from the School of Health and Wellbeing, including our Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work cohorts, in a celebration of their hard work and dedication.

Alumni and Development team welcomes Graduate Intern

During the ceremonies we also conferred honorary degrees and professorships in recognition of the achievements of our academic staff and those of key industry figures.

We are delighted to welcome graduate, Leigh Joslin, as the newest member of the Alumni and Development team. Leigh joins us as part of the University’s Graduate Intern programme which offers graduates sixmonth paid placements within the University.

Spring Graduation 2012

Presided over by the Vice-Chancellor, Deans of School and teaching staff, the three ceremonies were preceded by a procession beginning at the University buildings in Wulfruna Street.

Leigh will assist the team with a wide range of alumni relations activities including contributing articles to WLV Life magazine and WLV@lumni e-zine, seeking out new graduate success stories, organising events, and helping us to expand our range of offcampus graduate benefits. Leigh graduated in 2011 with a BA (Hons) Video and Film Production and is now undertaking an MA Scriptwriting via distance learning at the University of Glamorgan.

Above: Tom Ilube, founder of Egg

Alumni Reunion 2012 in pictures... If you missed our first ever University-wide Alumni Reunion earlier this year, then this bumper edition of WLV Life packed with all the pictures from the night is just what you need! We were thrilled to see so many of you come back to campus for our glittering night of celebration. Despite the February cold and the impending forecast of snow, nearly 200 alumni and honorary graduates joined us at the Molineux Stadium for an evening of food, drink and live entertainment that kept us dancing ‘til the early hours. Celebrating the first anniversary of our WLV Alumni Association, we welcomed back former students from as long ago as 1975, all the way through to 2011, and representing over 50 different degree courses from the University’s past and present.

Get your snapshot of the night with our reunion photo album over the page…

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What our alumni said about the night… Fantastic night out!

Tak ing a trip dow n memo

ry lane

‘‘ ‘‘

‘‘

Mee ting frie nds, old and new

Eventful and very entertaining, thoroughly enjoyed the evening.

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ts’ wit h Pre side nt of the Studen Vice-Chancellor, Geoff Layer, ts: pan tici par 11 te to Gre at 20 Union, Ken Har ris, and Gradua t igh Wr ma m and Gem Marcus Wareh am , Sofina Isla

‘‘

‘‘ ‘‘

Attending this party has been great.

Fab evening, great to meet fellow graduates. Keep up the good work.

s Brot hers Tribute Group, Our ente rtainme nt for the nigh t, Blue ban The Full Sha g

Alumni getting into the groove on the dance floor

‘‘ ‘‘

‘‘ ‘‘

A lot to talk abou t since graduating

Had a great time.

Fabulous evening; well done. We need this every year.

Smiles all round from our alumni

Tuck ing in to the buffet

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ry Geof frey Wynn, Former Universit y Chaplain, Prebenda and wife Gaynor, with Geof f Laye r

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Great evening, lots of fun, really enjoyable!

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Great entertainment, good atmosphere – roll on next year.

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Honorary Graduate, Dave Heeley, aka ‘Blind Dave’, and wife Debbie (right), join us at the reunion

y Graduate, Terr y Rile y BBC’s See Hear presente r and Honorar uate and Senior Lect urer (righ t), signing with a Deaf Studies grad lish), John Hay MBE in Deaf Studies and Inte rpre ting (BSL/Eng

Magician, Kr is Kre ndo, wo

ws our gue sts dur ing the nig

ht

Very well organised and highly enjoyable. Let’s hope it’s the first of many.

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Really enjoyed the evening. Food was lovely and I met two lovely people I hadn’t met until tonight. Thank you.

Ken Harr is welcome s returning alumni to our first ever reunion

The eve ning’s luck y iPad winner

Le ice ster, , Barone ss Ve rma of Honorary Graduate La w ith Ge of f ye r and husb and Ashok,

The boys are back in town

‘‘

The next alumni reunion will be in

Spring 2013 07

Look out for more information in WLV@lumni e-zine and on the alumni website: www.wlv.ac.uk/alumni

on, Honorar y Graduate, Lord Bilston of Bilst

and wife

All glammed up for

a night of ce lebratio

n

Chief Executive of UCAS Mary Curnock Cook OBE (centre)


University News Here are some of our top headlines over the past six months...

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Esther Rantzen, David Miliband and Steve Cram present guest lectures

New emergency services degrees launched

TV personality Esther Rantzen, David Miliband MP, and Olympic medallist Steve Cram MBE, all visited the University to give guest lectures. Esther Rantzen talked to guests about the 25th anniversary of ChildLine, the national helpline for children which she established in 1986, and Steve Cram MBE presented an inspirational talk about making the most of mentors and coaches. David Miliband MP visited Wolverhampton to take part in a Q&A with staff and students as part of a universities tour.

We launched two innovative degrees at a special event which saw the University campus transformed into an ‘emergency village.’ The new MSc Emergency Planning, Resilience and Response and the Postgraduate Certificate in the Management of Passenger Transport Emergency Incidents, will provide emergency service and transport industry professionals with additional skills when dealing with major incidents. The launch event featured more than 25 emergency vehicles, including an off-duty Air Ambulance, a fire engine and a rescue boat.

New links forged with Warwickshire Police

A masterclass in evil from Steven Berkoff

The University joined forces with Warwickshire Police to offer practical experience for students on our BSc (Hons) Policing course. Alongside their academic studies, students will undertake work placements as Special Constables with the Force, giving them real experience of police work and helping them to build a solid foundation for a career in the police.

World famous actor, Steven Berkoff, gave theatre goers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see a true master of his craft at close quarters when he presented Shakespeare’s Villains at the Arena at the University’s Arena Theatre. In two special performances, Steven explored Shakespeare’s most villainous characters – Iago, the Macbeths, Shylock, and Richard III. Steven is known to many for the villains he has played in mainstream films – James Bond Octopussy, Beverly Hills Cop, Rambo and The Krays.

Sports stars celebrated We celebrated the achievements of students who have excelled at sport during their time at the University at our annual Sports Awards at Walsall Football Club. More than 150 people attended the event, which recognised individuals and teams who have been successful this academic year. We were joined by guest speaker, triple Olympian Christina Boxer, who competed in the 1980, 1984 and 1988 Olympic Games and claimed gold in the 1500m at the 1982 Commonwealth Games.

Student designs new Dickens cover Photography student, Alexandros Panagiotopoulos, was selected to design the front cover for a new edition of the Charles Dickens classic Oliver Twist that was published in April. Alexandros won a competition launched by The Guardian and Vintage Classics which was run as part of the Charles Dickens 200th birthday celebrations, and 2012 also marks 175 years since Oliver Twist was first published. The challenge was to create a cover which represented a modern twist on the spirit of the original story.

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Students’ Union wins National Environmental Award

New £250,000 graduate placement scheme launched

University launched first SciFest

Our Students’ Union was named Most Improved Union at the National Union of Students (NUS) Green Impact Awards. The award recognises the environmental work of students’ unions and is part of the NUS Green Impact initiative which provides environmental accreditation for unions, helping them to showcase good environmental practice. We were also awarded the Silver Green Impact Standard at the ceremony, which took place in Manchester.

A new £250,000 project will enable University of Wolverhampton graduates to secure valuable experience working in Spain and the Netherlands. Graduates will spend 12 weeks working in companies ranging from engineering and construction to event management and IT firms. Funding for the scheme has been provided by the Leonardo Lifelong Learning Mobility programme.

We hosted our first ever SciFest in a celebration of science and technology. The week-long festival in June was created to enable school pupils from the West Midlands to discover all areas of science and technology, and included a series of interactive activities aimed at Primary, GCSE and A-level years. The event concluded with a Public Day on the Saturday to coincide with the Olympic torch and Blue Peter being in Wolverhampton.

Third annual International Festival hailed a success

Wolverhampton students competed at the brand new Olympic Stadium in the British Universities and Colleges Sports (BUCS) Visa Outdoor Athletics Championships. Student, Jarryd Dunn, won gold in the 400m, clocking up a personal best time of 46.66 seconds, which was also inside the European ‘A’ qualifying standard (46.70). Also celebrating was fellow student, David Lima, who took the silver medal in the final of the Men’s 200m.

Students from around the world came together at our International Festival 2012 in a celebration of the University’s multicultural, multi-talented student community. The event, which had a sporting theme, included an international Zumba challenge where Wolverhampton students teamed up with their counterparts in Japan, Malaysia and Northern Cyprus to do a synchronised class that was linked via satellite.

Students light up Olympic stadium

Firefighter training for students Students were given a taste of life as a firefighter as part of an innovative partnership with West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS). The BSc (Hons) Fire and Rescue students spent four weeks at the WMFS Academy in Smethwick completing the same training as newly recruited firefighters. The 28 first and second year students have been learning to use ladders, pumps and hoses as part of their degree course, which combines academic theory with practical experience.

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A day in the life...

Graduate Interns Schools and Colleges Liaison

James Belsey BSc (Hons) Sports Coaching, 2011 9am – Visit to a local school “One of the key roles of a Student Advisor is to engage with schools and colleges in the West Midlands and talk to pupils, teachers and parents about higher education (HE). This could be a presentation on the benefits of going to university, a workshop giving advice on how to complete UCAS applications, or even a series of one-to-one chats on specific courses and subjects areas. “I always try and make my visits interactive and fun and I have developed my own resources to help me. For example, to explain student loans we created our own version of Million Pound Drop called Student Loan Drop.”

10am – Head back to the office to prepare for a University Open Day “Graduate interns often help out at University Open Days; giving campus and accommodation tours and talking to visitors. We also act as mystery shoppers which involves talking to academic staff about courses, going on various tours, and observing our real visitors to gauge what experience they are getting. “To prepare myself, I spend a bit of time researching different subject areas and thinking about questions I could ask. Being a mystery shopper is a lot of fun and it’s a great chance for us to identify ways to improve Open Days.”

11.30am – Rehearse finance presentation for a parents evening “Tonight I am attending a parents evening with nearly 200 people, talking about the financial side of university such as tuition fees and student loans. Parents play a huge part in helping their child decide what university to go to and financial considerations are a key factor. It’s the largest audience I have presented to so I’m taking some time out to rehearse. It’s quite daunting but it will be a great opportunity.”

12.30pm – Lunch 1.30pm – Respond to an invite to attend an HE Fair “Schools often host their own HE Fairs and invite local colleges and universities to attend. These always take place in the morning and so I get the date in my diary and make a list of the additional materials I will need to take with me such as prospectuses, flyers, stands and tablecloths.”

2pm – Volunteer in The Gateway “All interns volunteer three hours every two weeks in The Gateway, the University’s advice centre for current and prospective students. It’s a very varied role – one minute you’re advising a current student about their loan and the next you’re talking to an enquirer who wants to know what support we can offer mature students.”

5pm – Set off for my parents evening – wish me luck!

Sarah Connor BA (Hons) Business and Dance Practice and Performance, 2011 9am – Host a school Taster Day

2.30pm – Administration and data entry

“To give school children a taste of university life we organise mornings where they can come onto campus and take part in a range of activities. These can be focused on a specific course or subject area, or they can be a general introduction to studying at Wolverhampton.

“While all the interns have their own administrative duties, I am responsible for updating the system with information about our activities – for example, the number of people we speak to or the number of prospectuses we give out. I make sure this data is logged so we can use it to assess how effective our activity has been.”

“Every Taster Day can be different depending on what the school wants, but a typical one will involve a tour of the campus including the facilities, which will then be followed by a workshop. This could be a jargon buster, a short fun exercise or, if their taster day is based around a specific course or subject area, it could be a mock lecture.”

1pm – Lunch 2pm – Prepare for a UCAS fair “Every year the University attends UCAS fairs at other universities around the country so that prospective students can find out more about studying at Wolverhampton. “I’m due to attend one tomorrow which means I need to make sure I have everything I need to take with me. Thankfully we have a great team of University staff supporting us who have already arranged for prospectuses and stands to be delivered to the venue ready for me.”

3pm – Schools liaison “Every intern is allocated 10 local schools or colleges in the West Midlands and we are responsible for keeping them up-to-date with new activities or services we can offer so that we can build and maintain strong relationships. Occasionally we contact new schools and if they are interested in a visit I will arrange a primary meeting to identify and discuss their particular needs.”

3.30pm – Volunteer in the Course Enquiries Unit “Sometimes we provide cover for the Course Enquiries team, answering calls from prospective applicants and sending out prospectuses. It’s a change of scenery and I get to work with other staff at the University, which is great. It’s also good timing as I can collect my tablecloth for the UCAS fair before I set off!”

5pm – Set off for my UCAS fair!

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Creating a Big Bang in Hollywood LA based actor and graduate, Alice Amter, talks to the University of Wolverhampton about starring in hit TV show, The Big Bang Theory and what life is like on the Hollywood scene. WLV: Alice, we have to say, interviewing a Hollywood actress is certainly a first for us! Congratulations on your success so far, you must be very proud… AA: Yes I am; thank you. It’s been a tough journey at times, but to go from a council flat in the suburbs of Birmingham to the hills of LA is a blessing. WLV: Your big career break came in 1998 when you appeared in the hit US TV show ER. How did you feel getting such a huge opportunity so early on in your career? AA: I was cast in George Clooney’s final two episodes of ER and luckily I got to work with him. I was a big fan of the show and although I was new on the scene I was certain I could do the role. Casting in TV is about fit, and I fit that role. It was a great starting point and proved to me that I could make this work. WLV: Since then you’ve gone on to star in films like The Good Girl and A Man Apart, and you’re now in another award-winning US show, The Big Bang Theory, as Raj’s mother ‘Mrs Koothrappali.’ What’s that like? AA: I love being part of the show. I play a recurring character so I’m not there as much as the regular cast members, but when I do

Above: Alice Amter as ‘Mrs Koothrappali’ with on-screen husband

work it’s very exciting. The cast and crew are small compared to other shows, so there’s a real family bond, and they’re all so talented. WLV: What do you love most about being on the show? AA: It has to be a) working with such an insanely talented group of people both in front and behind the camera; and b) the response from the live studio audience when we shoot; they are so full of praise and enthusiasm and you feel really loved. WLV: What’s the most challenging aspect? AA: To be as good as everyone else. The show runs like a well-oiled machine and everyone is a professional with a good, positive attitude. WLV: You’re known as The Chameleon because of your ability to portray a variety of roles. How did you get the name? AA: I gave the name to myself, but people have always said I’m like a chameleon because I’m constantly adapting myself to suit my environment.

AA: Being able to adapt is definitely suited to film work because you’re a different character every time. But with TV you’ll be one character on a show that could run for up to 10 years and so you’re not so much of a chameleon then! Saying that, people I encounter rarely make the connection between me and ‘Mrs Koothrappali’ and when I tell them, they’re shocked to see how different we are.

to six weeks. Currently The Big Bang Theory is in syndication on four networks in America so I am on TV every week. You can work really hard on a film and it may never reach a single screen because getting a distribution deal can be really tough. Ideally I would like to do both, but being able to work in just one medium these days is a blessing in itself because it is such a tough marketplace.

WLV: You graduated in Modern Languages and International Relations and initially went into teaching English abroad. What made you decide to pursue acting full-time?

WLV: You’ve worked alongside some very famous people – George Clooney, Jennifer Aniston and Vin Diesel to name a few. Have you ever been star-struck?

AA: I always had a childhood dream of being on stage, but back then, because I was academically sound and from a disadvantaged background I did what everyone thought I should do – get a stable job that would bring in regular income. But I realised that even when I had that I wasn’t really happy and I still wanted to pursue my dream. I had no idea it would be the most difficult thing I’ve ever done.

AA: Generally speaking no. Living in LA you get used to seeing famous people and I’ve never been one to be intimidated. To me, Jim, Johnny and Kaley are just fellow co-workers. Saying that, I do remember filming The Cleaner with Benjamin Bratt and wishing I wasn’t dressed like an old lady!

WLV: In what way difficult?

AA: I want to build an Empire; I want to create brand Alice – a brand of my own that symbolises a lifestyle, incorporating things like perfume, music, clothing, books – the lot! I like challenges and this just seems like a huge challenge. The way I see it, others have done it so why not me?!

WLV: That must come in handy being an actor…

AA: Teaching was a stable job but with acting it takes a while to start making a living. You might get a role here or there but you have to juggle parttime jobs such as waitressing or bartending - I did a little bit of teaching English. You can’t control when auditions come up and it can be very stressful. It isn’t something you should do unless you are really passionate about it. WLV: Do you prefer working in film or television? AA: I love big budget films like A Man Apart and for a while I was getting much more film work than TV. The problem with film though is that the majority are low budget, which means they take a long time to get out of post-production and even then may never be cleared for theatrical release. TV on the other hand is much more immediate. You shoot the show and you know it is going to end up on air – usually within four

WLV: What are your aspirations for the future?

WLV: What advice would you give one of today’s graduates? AA: Think really hard about what you want to do. What I thought I wanted didn’t end up being what I’m actually doing. Your career may not be in the degree you study but you can always find ways of making it work for you. Don’t limit yourself; think really big.

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We launch a new branch campus and alumni association It may only be 45km wide and it may sit in the middle of the Indian Ocean, but the island of Mauritius is already home to over 150 University of Wolverhampton graduates – and it won’t be long before it starts to welcome many more. At a high profile event held earlier this year, the University proudly launched a new branch campus in Mauritius that will place Wolverhampton firmly in the heart of the country’s education provision. Providing courses in law and education, the campus will offer undergraduate and postgraduate degrees to the growing number of students seeking careers in the legal sector and teaching. The new campus, which is currently under construction and will open later this year, will be located in the bustling Ebène Cybercity, one of Mauritius’ rapidly expanding business parks.

Proudly in Mauritius Sealing the relationship

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The launch of our campus in Mauritius is a new chapter in our relationship with the country and our key focus is to nurture and enhance educational development.

As part of the launch event, which took place on Monday 26 March 2012, Professor Geoff Layer, Vice-Chancellor, was joined by Dr Arvin Boolell, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade; and Dr Rajesh Jeetah, Minister of Tertiary Education, Science, Research and Technology, who together signed a partnership agreement sealing the relationship between Wolverhampton and Mauritius. Geoff said: “Our aim at the University of Wolverhampton is to provide an excellent teaching and learning experience for our students, whether they study with us in the UK or overseas. “The launch of our campus in Mauritius is a new chapter in our relationship with the country and our key focus is to nurture and enhance educational development.”

Mauritius Alumni Association The launch at the Hennessy Park Hotel also featured a welcome address via video from the University’s Chancellor, The Rt Hon Lord Paul of Marylebone PC. Lord Paul said: “The Wolverhampton initiative in Mauritius responds to one of the most significant trends in the area of higher education – the internationalisation of learning and the value of transferring and sharing knowledge.” The Mauritius branch campus will welcome its first cohort of nearly 100 students in September with an inaugural graduation planned for 2013.

As part of our celebrations, we were also delighted to recognise our current graduates in Mauritius by launching a new Mauritius Alumni Association.

going on to become key figures within the country, either as part of its Government, or as leaders in its legal and financial sectors.

The Honourable Mr Yatindra Nath Varma, who is the Attorney General of Mauritius and a Wolverhampton alumnus, was appointed Honorary President of the Association. Mr Varma graduated from Wolverhampton with an LLB (Hons) Law in 1998.

“The Alumni Association will offer our graduates a network through which they can engage with the University and each other; opening doors to enhance their professional careers and achieve their individual aspirations.”

Graduate, Reaz Ghanty (LLM International Corporate and Financial Law, 2005), was also appointed Chairman and will be responsible for establishing an executive committee and running the day-to-day operations of the Association. He said: “The University enjoys a long and distinguished relationship with Mauritius, with many of our graduates

For more information about the Mauritius Alumni Association, including how to join, visit: www.wlv.ac.uk/mauritiusalumni Join the Mauritius Facebook page at: www.wlv.ac.uk/mauritiusfacebook

15

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Making a splash It’s all going swimmingly for Sports Studies graduate, Lauren Smith, as we talk to her about being the former Captain of the Great Britain Synchronised Swimming team, how it feels to win a Commonwealth Bronze Medal, and what life is like today working for the London 2012 Olympics.

WLV: Well Lauren, you’ve achieved so much it’s hard to know where to begin! How does it feel to be part of the greatest sporting event this country has seen in over 60 years? LS: It’s amazing and I’m so excited! I’ve always wanted to do events management in sports and so working on the Synchronised Swimming event for London 2012 is like a dream come true. I was the first person to swim in the London 2012 Aquatics Centre last year, which was a huge privilege, and when I got my

Olympic uniform it gave me goose bumps. WLV: You’re the Administration Group Leader for Synchronised Swimming. What does your role involve? LS: I’m part of the team responsible for organising the Olympic Games Synchronised Swimming event. I manage the logistical aspects, which can range from organising transport and accommodation for the athletes to training volunteers for the different venues. It’s a very diverse role and it is hard work – I often work 16 hours a day – but I love every minute of it. WLV: You first started synchronised swimming aged 11. What made you take up the sport? LS: I did gymnastics for eight years, but at 10 years old I still couldn’t swim properly. At a swimming lesson with my sister, the instructor suggested I try synchronised swimming because of my flexibility from my gymnastics. After one class I

absolutely loved it and three weeks later I took part in a competition and won. I knew it was the sport for me. WLV: Why did you decide to study BSc Sports Studies at the University of Wolverhampton? LS: I loved studying sport at school, both the practical and the theoretical side, and so a degree in the subject was an obvious choice. I chose Wolverhampton because, unlike other universities, the course offered the right combination of modules that suited my interests. WLV: You were competing while you were a student. How did you combine your training with your studies? LS: To be the best it was crucial that I kept up my training and so whenever I had a spare minute I was either in the pool or in the gym. My lecturers were very supportive, especially when I was competing abroad and needed the time for assignments. They were genuinely interested in what I was doing, which was a real confidence boost.

WLV: You joined the GB Synchronised Swimming team full-time in 2007 and throughout your career you’ve been British Champion and competed at the World Championships and Commonwealth Games. What was your favourite competitive event? LS: It has to be the Commonwealth Games in 2010 in Delhi as that was where I won the bronze medal for my solo routine. My dream was always to go to the Commonwealths but I didn’t necessarily think I would come away with a medal. As the Games drew nearer I decided I wanted the bronze. There was a lot of pressure for me to get it – and I did! WLV: How did it feel on the podium receiving your medal? LS: Very emotional. As I stood there I could see everyone who had come to support me and when I was interviewed I broke down in tears. I realised that all my hard work had paid off and I just wanted to thank my parents because without them I couldn’t have done it. It was the pinnacle of my career.

WLV: What are your aspirations for the future?

WLV: Was it always your dream to Captain the GB Synchronised Swimming team? LS: It was never my goal but I knew in my last year that I had the skill and experience to lead the team and so when I was offered the position I gratefully accepted it. I retired in 2011 and when I look back I have a lot of fond memories; including the time I greeted Tony and Cherie Blair as they arrived into the village at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in 2006, being interviewed live on BBC news, and meeting Alex Ferguson. Earlier this year I was also invited to a ‘Women in Sport’ reception at the Houses of Parliament in recognition of my athletic career and my work at London 2012. It was a real honour.

LS: I definitely want to continue in sports and events management and my job at London 2012 has set me up for a successful career in that area. I also write articles for Swimming Times magazine, which is another avenue I’d like to explore more. As for my synchronised swimming, my sister and I are part of a company called Aquabatix which puts on synchronised swimming performances for different events and in 2000 saw us star in a scene in the film Love’s Labour’s Lost. It’s been a great year for me since retiring, but I’m sure I won’t be packing my costume away just yet.

17


&

Sport Physical Activity Society

An Olympic University

Whether you played for one of the University’s teams or clubs or whether you just like sport to keep fit, the Sport and Physical Activity Society is a great way of getting back in touch with old friends and meeting new ones. Membership is free and open to everyone – whatever your age or ability.

Join today, visit: www.wlv.ac.uk/sportssociety

Our facilities We welcomed the Australian judo team to our Walsall Campus after they chose our Sports Centre as their official training base. Six members of the team, plus their coaching staff, set up camp at the Centre for their all-important pre-games training in preparation for the competition. The Sports Centre was selected as one of the country’s official Olympic training bases in 2008 in recognition of its elite sporting facilities. It was included in the Guide for National Olympic Committees (NOCs) for the sports of Judo, Basketball, and Taekwondo.

Director of Sport, Mike Chamberlain, a former British Judo Champion and international competitor, said:

‘‘

The University’s Walsall Campus offers the perfect environment for the Australian team, with the best judo training facilities in the country complimented by modern campus facilities to give them a truly excellent experience.

‘‘

Did sport play a big part in your University life?

Since the moment it was announced that the Olympic Games would be coming to London in 2012, the whole country became united as hosts. From large cities to small rural villages, and from multi-billion pound global companies to your local high street store, everyone wanted to get involved – and that included us… The Sports Centre is a British Judo Association High Performance Centre, one of only a few in the UK, and plays host to many international sporting competitions. The Great Britain judo team also used the Centre in 2008 in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics.

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Our academic expertise

Our research excellence

Our student body

Our role in the community

University dance lecturer, Dennie Wilson, received international recognition when she was appointed to produce the Olympic victories ceremonies.

Research into the emotional experience of runners by Professor of Sport Psychology, Andy Lane, was awarded the prestigious ‘Inspire’ mark from the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The Students’ Union received Gold accreditation for its work supporting the London 2012 Olympic Games as part of the nationwide project, ‘Be a Champion.’

We helped to bring the Olympics to the Black Country when we hosted two major events for the region.

The Birmingham-based choreographer was appointed Victories Ceremonies Producer for Athletics (Games Time), responsible for leading, training and directing the Victories Ceremonies Team for athletics at both the Olympics and Paralympics.

The ‘Inspire’ mark recognises exceptional projects and events that have been inspired by the Games coming to the UK.

‘Be a Champion’ is aimed at the UK’s student population and encourages them to make the most of the huge range of opportunities that the Games present – whether running sports activities, being creative with art, showcasing the country’s culture and traditions, or raising awareness of the importance of creating a sustainable environment.

In collaboration with the Black Country BeActive Partnership, we hosted the Black Country School Games Winter Festival and two Sports Makers conventions, bringing the magic of the Olympics into communities across the region.

Dennie works part-time as a senior lecturer in Dance at the University’s School of Sport, Performing Arts and Leisure and is a teacher of Contemporary Dance at the renowned Elmhurst School for Dance in Association with Birmingham Royal Ballet. She said: “This truly is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I’m hugely proud. It’s not often that people in the arts get the opportunity to represent their country in the same way that sports people do, so I am absolutely thrilled to be part of such a magnificent event.” Dennie is also the Artistic Director of dna3d, a dance, design and digital performance company that brings together dance and performance artists, sound and vision to create unique ensemble performance-based work.

A psychologist by background, Andy’s research interests include emotion, emotion regulation and psychological skills in sport performance. The award-winning research was conducted as part of the Emotional Regulation of Others and Self (EROS) project; a national collaborative project of university researchers who examine different types of psychology, covering areas such as work, social and sports. Andy leads the sports and exercise psychology aspect of the EROS project, which focuses on emotions in sport and exercise. His work has examined specifically how athletes regulate their own emotions, in particular before, during and after competition, and the effectiveness of interventions to help athletes regulate their emotions.

The Students’ Union was initially awarded Bronze accreditation before moving up to Silver and then finally Gold, the highest accolade available. Representing Wolverhampton Students’ Union, current student in Sport and Exercise Science, Victor Dimakopoulos, undertook an art-based project featuring photographs of local residents, each holding a board stating what the Olympic Games has inspired them to do. The photographs were put together to create a montage of images that represent the different ways the Games has inspired the local area. Victor said: “As a Sports Science student and an avid athletics and sports enthusiast, I was excited to get involved in the Olympics. I wanted to give the Wolverhampton public the opportunity to share their thoughts about the Games and how it has inspired them. Hopefully my passion and philosophy will help encourage new athletes to push their sport and ambitions to the limits.”

Over 1,100 young people from primary and secondary schools in the Black Country took part in the School Games Winter Festival, which was held at our Walsall Campus Sports Centre and included over 20 different sporting events. The School Games initiative is designed to encourage young people of all ages and abilities to participate in competitive sport. Similarly, our Active Volunteers programme played a leading role in bringing the national Olympic legacy programme – Sport Makers – to the University. Hosting two conventions, students were given the opportunity to find out how they could become a Sport Maker and get involved in sporting activities across the region, either through leading and organising events, or by simply taking part. The students also got to meet Olympic 400-metre runner, Daniel Caines, and Commonwealth and European Swimming Gold Medalist, Adam Whitehead.

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My Life

Jerry Nulun

LLB (Hons) Law, 1997 Jerry Nulun’s life began in the isolated highlands of Malaysia with early hardships that not many people could imagine experiencing. Never in his wildest dreams did he think that one day he would graduate as a lawyer. But with his late father’s “never say never” attitude, at age 37, Jerry was given the opportunity to study Law at the University of Wolverhampton via distance learning which changed his life. Since graduating in 1997 he has worked for some of the world’s largest oil and gas companies, managing some of the biggest contracts worldwide.

Above: Jerry’s father, Mr Nulun Tuan

Above: Jerry as a child

Never say never

“My father single-handedly raised me in Bario, the capital of the Kelabit Highlands, an isolated region within Sarawak, Malaysia. The Kelabits are mostly farmers and are known to place a lot of importance on education. I believe this is why, against all odds, and having witnessed many injustices around me as a young boy, I was prompted to study law. “When I completed my tertiary education in 1976 I initially became a temporary teacher before being employed by Sarawak Shell as a store man. I was eventually promoted to contract executive, but all the time l still harboured the desire to become a lawyer. My salary with Shell was not enough to pay for my distance learning programme and my father, who was a farmer, earned less than the equivalent of £1 per month. “My big break came in 1993, when Sarawak Shell offered to sponsor my law studies, subject to acceptance by a recognised university. When my application to study law was approved and accepted by the University of Wolverhampton, it Above top: The house where Jerry grew up. Above bottom: Jerry at his home in Miri Sarawak, Malaysia

was one of the happiest moments of my life! My father gave me his entire life savings to start me off and then subsequent fees were paid by Shell. “As a distance learning student my experience of university life was different to a typical student’s. Studying while working has unique experience and benefits that include being exposed to diverse cultures, team dynamics and problem solving in the workplace. I consider these some of the key ingredients for fostering innovation and richness of ideas in life.

Dreams to reality

“Through helping me to develop the necessary knowledge and skills I needed to pursue a career in law, Wolverhampton nurtured my dreams to reality. After graduating I was promoted to senior contract executive at Sarawak Shell Malaysia where I stayed for another few years; raising my profile and mastering the required skills. Since then I have moved to several different oil and gas companies such as Exxon Mobil and OMV, each experience enhancing my career development through gaining new skills and achieving promotions. The hardships and difficulties faced in my early life have conditioned me and put me on a strong and stable footing to face challenges in life and in my career. “In September 2010, I became the senior contracts manager with TOTAL E&P, one of the world’s leading oil and gas companies. In my role, I oversee many challenging contracts; most are international agreements which are incredibly complicated as you need to consider the different taxation laws, statutes, ordinances, judicial decisions, executive orders and other applicable laws in different countries. I also lead on strategy development for the contract department’s activities and ensure compliance to company policy and procedures, as well as government regulatory bodies. My job offers many challenges, but I always draw great satisfaction in solving problems and leading a project to its fruition.

Building a global profile

Where are you now? We love to hear about where life has taken our graduates – the next steps they have taken and the joys and successes they are experiencing. Why not tell us where you are now and be featured on our alumni website or maybe even in future editions of WLV @lumni e-zine and WLV Life magazine. You could write about your: • career success or further study since graduating • travel experiences and adventures • hobbies and interests • personal life such as marriage and children • any other fantastic experiences you have had! To find out how to send us your story, and to read where some of our graduates from the past 50 years are now, visit: www.wlv.ac.uk/alumnistories

“International exposure enhances employability in my line of work and the skills acquired through working with people from different cultural backgrounds and overcoming language barriers makes me more attractive to employers. I have been developing my own global profile over the years and look forward to the new opportunities coming my way. “In the meantime, I dedicate my time to my family and, like my father, I have persevered to ensure that all of my four children have been able to go to university. Studying law and becoming a lawyer has been a life-changing experience. I will be forever grateful to the University of Wolverhampton and to Shell.”

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Puzzle Page

We know that you all have busy lives, but why not take a five minute break from it with these quick puzzles. Answers and solutions will be published in the next edition of WLV Life.

If you have an engineering or physics I invested background then teach with a PGCE in my future Secondary: Physics with Maths.

Quick crossword 1 6

2

4

Across

5

6 Made a derisive sound (6) 8 Prophecy (6) 9 Pavement edge (4) 10 Very great (8) 11 Tedium (7) 13 Fold (5) 15 Lustrous gem (5) 16 Into pieces (7) 18 Words of gratitude (5,3) 19 Irish Gaelic (4) 21 Young foreign family (2,4) 22 Male goose (6)

8

7

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3

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13

Down

14 15 17 18

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For further details please call: 0800 953 3222 or visit: www.wlv.ac.uk/physicswithmaths

1 Ten cent coin (4) 2 Version (7) 3 Wretched (5) 4 Early slide projector (5,7) 5 Final (8) 7 Underground (12) 12 Refurbish (8) 14 Relieve (pain) (7) 17 Aromatic resin (5) 20 Waxy fat (4)

16

21

for the MBA qualifications was more than and a As you hold “Studying highly sought-after expertise you will be eligible for a qualification for me; it was an achievement comprehensive package of benefits, including: and a constant driver in my life.” • up to £20,000 bursary, dependant on your qualifications to help you through this one-year course. • excellent employment prospects - there is a national shortage of physics and maths teachers. Marie Buckley • between £21,000 and £27,000 starting salary Master of Business Administration (MBA)with clear progression routes for improvement.

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Winter 2011/12 answers and solutions

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Crossword answers

Sudoku

Across: 1 Tore; 4 Guyed; 8 Toff; 9 Function; 10 Contrariwise; 12 Cola; 13 Lava; 17 Eat humble pie; 19 Fixation; 21 Wink; 22 Solve; 23 Hark

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Down: 2 Offenbach; 3 Effort; 4 Gantry; 5 Yet; 6 Drops; 7 Poncho; 11 Will power; 14 Vienna; 15 Empire; 16 Blanch; 18 Aries; 20 Ail

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Can we tempt you with science? The School of Applied sciences has developed some new unique courses investigating core areas of forensic science and an accredited Prescribing Certificate. Developed in close collaboration with professional services in healthcare and government departments, these courses are designed to enhance your employment opportunities and to explore new challenges in research. • Postgraduate Certificate in Prescribing Studies - study from September 2012 • MSc Medical Bioinformatics - study from September 2013 • MSc Forensic Genetics and Human Identification - study from September 2012 For more information about all of our exciting postgraduate courses

visit: www.wlv.ac.uk/sas tel: 01902 322 667 email: sas-enquiries@wlv.ac.uk

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Life by email Help us to cut down on the amount of paper we use by receiving WLV Life by email. There are three ways you can read Life online: • Flip page magazine – just like the paper version • Downloadable PDF – all the pictures and the jazz but just one page at a time • Collection of webpages – just the text and a picture Let us know your email address If you have an email address and would like to receive future editions of Life by email let us know at: www.wlv.ac.uk/life

University of Wolverhampton Wulfruna Street, Wolverhampton West Midlands, WV1 1LY United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)1902 323 056 Email: alumni@wlv.ac.uk Fax: +44 (0)1902 322 099 Website: www.wlv.ac.uk/alumni

MAC1076

WLV Life  

WLV Life – Issue 03, Summer 2012 Welcome to WLV Life, the alumni magazine for graduates and former students of the University of Wolverhampt...

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