Hundreds of students will don their graduation cap and gown and say goodbye to Edge Hill University to enter an exciting new chapter of their lives.

Students from the Faculties of Health and Social Care, Education and Arts and Sciences will be awarded their undergraduate and postgraduate degrees today.

You can follow Edge Hill graduations live at facebook.com/edgehilluniversity through @EdgeHill or by following the #EHUgrad on Twitter.

Watch ceremonies live here: edgehill.ac.uk/graduation/live/

If you’ve graduated then make sure you keep in touch with the University by joining Edge Hill University Connect – the official networking platform for Edge Hill University alumni. Join now at edgehillconnect.co.uk. 

You can also like the Edge Hill Alumni page on Facebook for all of the latest news, graduate opportunities and reunions at facebook.com/ehualumni

Going back to University inspired a lifelong love of learning for Ormskirk student

Returning to university and having another chance of being a student was “the best thing that I’ve ever done” according to 41-year-old Nicole Mason from Ormskirk.

Nicole graduated on Saturday (1 December) from Edge Hill University with a PGCE in Further Education and Training, after going back to study rekindled her love of learning.

As an 18-year-old, Nicole had gone to University, but didn’t do as well as she’d hoped in her Psychology and Criminology degree. It wasn’t until 2009 that Nicole returned to her studies, and a second attempt at a Psychology degree.

“I always wanted to go back to University, I even had dreams about going back and studying, then I’d wake up.” said Nicole.

“My sister suggested studying on a part time basis so I didn’t need to give up work, so I completed my undergraduate degree with the Open University.”

It was only after graduation, when she was thinking about her next steps that Nicole decided to take the leap into teaching and was accepted to study at Edge Hill after giving a presentation to staff in the Faculty of Education.

“Studying at a ‘brick’ university is different because you’re able to make friends and talk to people to get advice and help about how they would address tasks and problems, “said Nicole. “This was different to my previous experience of distance studying, because there you have to do it all on your own,” she said.

Nicole has secured a teaching job, and is currently working with a young person in care to teach her Maths and English. “I absolutely love it, she is very eager to learn and a joy to teach,” she said.

Continuing her own education has also created a love of learning for Nicole, and she has just begun studying modules on a natural science degree course. “I enjoy learning, and having studying to do makes me feel better,” she said. “For my mum it is gardening if she’s feeling stressed, for me, it’s learning.

“I loved being at Edge Hill, it is like a community, I made a lot of friends I’m going to stay in touch with, the staff in the library were exceptional and I thought the facilities were brilliant. I’ve had a lot of help and support while studying and want to thank my personal tutor Scott Clark, lecturers Shereen Shaw and Dave Allan, Vicky Duckworth who is a reader in Further Education, senior lecturers Tim Rutter and Peter Crainie, Peter Atherton the partnership quality officer, and head of department Phil Rigby.

“But my main advice to others currently studying or wanting in the future, is to interact and talk to your peers, ask questions and not be afraid to say if you need help. And enjoy it!”

Find out more about studying in the Faculty of Education here.

“Inspiration, hope and support” helped Andrea through the last two years

Committed student Andrea Middleton has overcome devastating family tragedy to graduate from Edge Hill University on Saturday 1st December with a Masters in Education.

In the summer of 2016, Andrea (46) who is originally from South Africa but moved to Hook in Hampshire ten years ago with her husband and three daughters, received some news that would change her life forever.

“As I was about to begin the field research part of my final module, I had news of the sudden and tragic death of my youngest brother, who was still living in South Africa,” said Andrea. “He was killed whilst securing the safety of a friend experiencing a violent attack.

“I immediately travelled back to South Africa to support my family, abandoning my studies, and over the course of the next two years, the criminal trial began, and the process is still ongoing.  I’ve travelled back many times to attend court proceedings, interrupting my daily work at school and impacting my young family.

“The MA team at Edge Hill have been understanding and supportive from the very beginning, allowing me additional time to complete assignments and to submit my final thesis.  Two members of the faculty, Dr Linda Dunne and Christine Lewis, have been outstandingly supportive and I am immensely grateful to them for their encouragement and their belief in me.  That support, along with that of my wonderful husband, Gary, and my daughters has helped me through.”

When Andrea moved to the UK, she worked as a Special Needs and Learning Support Assistant in a local junior school and started a Nurture Group to cater for a number of vulnerable pupils.

“I chose to do my Masters at Edge Hill because of the wide range of interesting modules on offer,” said Andrea. “I wanted my studies to deepen my knowledge in the specialist area that I was working in so that I could apply what I was learning in a very practical way.

“There were elements of the course that surprised me in that I enjoyed them more than I thought I would and there were also elements that have enhanced and changed my practice enormously.”

Andrea’s ultimate goal was to produce a study that would be published, so that the findings could highlight the wonderful work of her fellow practitioners, and be shared with these inspirational people that helped her to create it.  Andrea has recently been notified that her dissertation will be published in an academic journal next year.

She plans to use the knowledge she has gained, academically and through her personal experiences, to support others in the future.

“In my work with some of the most vulnerable children in our communities over the past seven years, and in my own life experience, I have realised that people usually only require three things to overcome even the cruellest and most tragic of circumstances: inspiration, hope and support.

“Throughout my time at Edge Hill, I was inspired by the conviction, courage and compassion of my brother and that gave me the purpose and strength required to sit down at my desk each day and immerse myself in my research. I held on to the hope that in striving to learn and understand more, I could continue to make a difference in the lives of young people, thereby affecting society in a positive way; and with the loving support of my tutor and my wonderful family, friends and colleagues, I was able to reach the goal that I had set for myself.”

For more information about Edge Hill’s postgraduate Education courses here.

Cancer nurse who never gave up on her university dream graduates with Masters

 

Edge Hill student Jodie Roberts says that fate helped her find the best route to her Masters in Children’s Nursing.

Jodie, 25, from Hunts Cross, Liverpool, completed her first degree at Edge Hill University after gaining a place on a new Child Health and Wellbeing degree, having initially thought Children’s Nursing was the obvious choice.

“I’ve always wanted to be a nurse so I’d never considered this degree but looking back it was fate as this has helped me be a better and more prepared nurse than if I’d just done straight nursing,” said Jodie.

“I graduated with a first degree in 2015 and gained a place to continue at Edge Hill on the BSc Nursing degree but after the first year I was given the chance to complete my final two years at masters level.”

Jodie, who now works in the Oncology Unit (Cancer) at Alder Hey Hospital, added:

“This degree gave me the background to child development and helped me understand the theories behind child development and health. It not only helped me to become a more well-rounded, knowledgeable nurse but has made me more mature as a person. After two years I was able to change and complete an MsC in Children’s Nursing.”

During her time at Edge Hill Jodie was keen to help future potential students and founded the departmental Nursing Student Council. Jodie said:

“As nurses you spend a lot of time on placements, which is great for work experience but often means you fall under the radar with what’s happening on campus. I wanted to make sure future cohorts felt more involved and had a say. We started new student nursing awards to coincide with nurse’s day celebrations and set up a student council suggestions email so students can share their knowledge and ideas.”

At today’s (Saturday 1 December) ceremony Jodie was awarded a Merit and will continue her career full-time at Alder Hey. Jodie added:

“I love my job and loved my time at Edge Hill. I’d advise anyone to never give up on their dreams. There are many routes to success and it might take a little bit longer to get there but I’m a much better nurse thanks to fate and I appreciate my career even more now.”

To find out more about Child Health and Wellbeing and Children’s Nursing

Mum who swapped career for the NHS hopes to make childbirth better for women with mental health conditions

 

Mum-of-two Lorna Randall who swapped a profit-driven career to become an NHS midwife is hoping to make childbirth a better experience for women with mental health conditions.

Lorna, 41, who graduates today with not only a first in BSc (Hons) Midwifery but also the Chancellors Scholarship, is hoping to one day focus on research helping pregnant women with mental health issues.

Having started work full-time at Liverpool Women’s Hospital, Lorna wants to continue her research into mental health to help women experiencing difficult pregnancies and births. Lorna, of Wavertree, Liverpool, said:

“While studying I carried out a literary review of advice available to women taking anti-depressants who are trying to become, or are pregnant. The current advice is to let women decide for themselves but while this is right, there is a deluge of information available and no clear advice to help women make informed choices.

“This review was published in the British Journal of Midwives and, having seen a number of traumatic births linked to mental health conditions I’d like to take this research further. Specifically, I’d like to look at how better anti-natal care might pick up mental anxiety and clinical conditions earlier, thereby allowing for a better planned and managed birth.”

Lorna was also awarded the £2000 Chancellors Scholarship in part for her role presiding over Edge Hill’s Midwifery Society. She said:

“The society really helped me and my fellow nursing and health graduates as we were able to organise experts to come and talk to us on study days. We had a bereavement expert and a pioneering midwife who promotes the importance of skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby after birth.”

During her degree Lorna also volunteered with Liverpool Refugee Connect alongside a qualified midwife offering advice on feeding and accessing health care.  She added:

“I worked in a corporate office job for 15 years where everything was about making a profit, but I always knew I wanted to work as a midwife. The vision and values of the NHS are all about care and compassion and I love that, I love my job and I know I’ve done a good job if the women are happy with their care.”

Find out more about studying for a degree in Midwifery

Student who was first in family to go to University aims to help others

Kayley WilsonA former Edge Hill Students’ Union President who was the first in her family to go to university has graduated with a distinction in her Masters in Sport, Physical Activity and Mental Health.

Kayley Wilson (26) from Chesterfield studied for her first degree at the University after deciding she wanted to be a teacher when she completed her year 10 work experience in a school.

She began her degree in Primary Education with QTS after a friend recommended Edge Hill for teacher training. “I fell in love with the campus from the day I visited for my interview. Whilst I loved the whole university experience as an undergraduate, by the end of my three years I was unsure whether teaching was for me so I decided to run in the Students’ Union elections to try and make a difference at university,” she said.

“Being elected as Vice-President and then later as President created new opportunities and changed my mindset of what I wanted to do, I enjoyed running campaigns that could make a difference to students and supporting individuals on a one to one basis which influenced my decision to apply for this Masters.

“I’ve always had an interest in sport and physical activity and the benefits it can have. My undergraduate research focussed on high quality physical education lessons in schools. So when I was introduced to this course through working with the University on campaigns for student mental health, it sounded like a great opportunity to combine two areas of interest.

“As President I’d also submitted and signed the time to change pledge in collaboration with the University and taken part in mental health first aid and suicide awareness so that I could better support students, but I’d always wanted to find out more about support available and believed this course would help me to do that.”

Working in the Students’ Union allowed Kayley to get first-hand experience of students seeking support for issues that were either as a result of them struggling with their mental health, or the issue they were dealing with was affecting their mental health.

“It made me want to find out more about the issues students were facing and what more could be done to support students,” said Kayley. “But I was also interested in the staff perspective, I wanted to understand how they supported students, and if they themselves had appropriate support.”

“My research titled ‘challenges and support for mental health in higher education: a staff and student perspective’ highlighted the interconnected nature of the university setting and found staff and student issues to be closely related.”

Kayley hopes to publish the findings from her thesis to assist universities when planning future mental health provision.

After beginning her studies at Edge Hill eight years ago, with just a two year break away from campus, the University will hold fond memories for Kayley. She said: “I think it’s such a community, for both staff and students.

“My advice for students is to try and get involved with as much as possible, join a society or sports team if you can, try new things and ask for help if you are struggling whether it’s from the university services, a tutor or even a friend.”

Kayley now intends to use her experience and studies to support individuals who may be struggling with their own mental health.

She said: “I would like to explore and support the transitional period from secondary school to university, as now I have worked with both school aged children and higher education students and have found that there does seem to be a gap in support between these ages.

“I am currently looking at new roles being introduced covering this area and younger as education mental health practitioner.”

Find out more about studying for a Masters in Sport, Physical Activity and Mental Health here.

 

Passion for helping others prompts career change for Sara

Dedicated student Sara Norburn has undergone a complete career change, swapping education for nutrition, and has already managed to secure her dream job after graduating from Edge Hill University today.

Sara (28), from Ormskirk, completed an undergraduate degree in Early Years Education at Edge Hill in 2010, and enjoyed her university experience so much, she returned to complete a Masters in Public Health Nutrition.

After a few years working in education, Sara started teaching fitness classes in her spare time in a bid to help people that felt uncomfortable to go to the gym to get fit and feel healthier.

“I loved doing this and decided I needed to have a career change to help as many people as possible lead healthier happier lives, so I decided to return to Edge Hill to learn more about nutrition,” said Sara.

“I really enjoyed the course. It was a great balance of learning about nutrition for individuals and the effects of certain foods, to practical sessions in the lab – which was a bit nerve wracking at first as the last time I’d been in a lab was in secondary school.  We also learnt about international food insecurity issues as well as local malnutrition and food bank usage.”

Sara works at an occupational health and wellbeing company People Asset Management (PAM) in Warrington, where she puts all the skills she learnt on her course into practice on a daily basis.

“I was very lucky to start a new venture at PAM as part of PAM LIFE – it will be an exciting support service for employees,” said Sara. “We are a team of life coaches that work behind the scenes on a website and app full of health and fitness information, providing a service which allows individuals to get personalised health and wellbeing advice from ourselves as well as accessing a range of fitness videos, cookery videos and podcasts.”

“Each coach has a different specialism, including fitness, psychology and health, and mine is nutrition – I’m the food coach.  The idea behind it is that employers can purchase PAM LIFE as a service for their employees to keep everyone healthy and happy.  My job involves creating the content for the website, travelling up and down the country helping individuals to use our health genie which tells people all their health stats, as well as providing one on one email or skype consultations and support.”

Dr Jane Bradbury, Senior Lecturer in Nutrition and Health, who taught Sara, said:

“I’m so pleased for Sara.  This is a fantastic job and well deserved. PAM will find in Sara an enthusiastic, motivated and determined team member, who will always do her very best.”

Sara has some words of wisdom for current students who are hoping to secure a job before they graduate.

“Obtain work experience wherever and whenever you can and network with people in the right industry,” said Sara. “Your lecturers are there to help, so if you’re ever stuck ask, decide on your research topic as soon as you start the course and start reading a little bit, and finally don’t panic, you will be fine.”

For more information about Edge Hill’s MSc Public Health Nutrition programme, click here.