Day two of graduations will see students from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences pick up their degree awards in Biology, Computer Science,Dance, Drama, Ecology, Genetics, Information Technology, Music, Performing Arts, Psychology, Sport, Theatre Design and Web Design.

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/

Prestigious award for first class Biology graduate

An aspiring researcher from Edge Hill University has been awarded The Royal Society of Biology Prize for achieving top marks in her Human Biology degree.

Katy Andrews, 37 from Skelmersdale, who graduated this week with a first class honours degree, received a certificate and 12 months membership to the Royal Society of Biology as a result of scoring the highest aggregate mark across the three years of her course.

As well as scoring top marks, Katy thoroughly enjoyed the course and embraced a number of opportunities on offer, from interning in Berlin looking at the development of 3D Human skin models and interning at Edge Hill identifying microbial species in a hyper saline environment in North West England with Dr André Antunes, to presenting her research at the British Society of Investigative Dermatology annual meeting in London.

“The course was great and it enabled me to experience a variety of scientific fields, making it easier to discover the areas I enjoy working in. All the biosciences staff have been so supportive – they even allowed me to go to additional lectures that weren’t part of my degree programme.

“When I found out I had won the award I was over the moon. All the hard work has been worth it and I couldn’t have done it without all the support from Katja and André, as well as Professor Sarah Hedtrich whose team I worked with during my internship in Berlin.”

Senior Lecturer in Biology Dr Katja Eckl, who was Katy’s personal tutor and dissertation supervisor, said:

“I am so delighted Katy was awarded with the Royal Society prize. It was such a pleasure to have her as an undergraduate dissertation project student.

“Katy is one of the very few students who never believes what you say until she has seen evidence and has read everything available and even this is often not enough (ask the library) – this is the stuff future researchers are made from.”

This isn’t the end of Katy’s Edge Hill journey however, as she’s embarking on an Mres in September titled Establishment of a new, plant-cell based mass production pipeline for protein replacement therapy for TGM1 deficient ichthyosis patients.

And what are Katy’s future aspirations?

“At the moment, I’m really enjoying investigative biomedical research,” said Katy. “The research is novel so it takes a lot of investigation to develop the testing protocols and so the outcome is completely unknown. Research is a very large and challenging learning curve, but there is always an interesting surprise just waiting to be discovered at the end. Plus it’s a nice feeling to think that your work has the potential to change a patient’s life for the better.”

Click here for more information about Edge Hill’s Biology courses.

Volunteering leads to a wealth of opportunities for scholarship winner

As well as making the most of the plethora of opportunities on offer at Edge Hill University, Psychology graduate Husnain Shah also dedicated a lot of his time completing voluntary work with vulnerable children.

At his graduation ceremony today, Husnain was also awarded with the University’s Adam Bell Scholarship in recognition of his achievements and contributions to raising the profile of Edge Hill in the wider community, after being nominated by five members of staff.

“I was really surprised when I received the award – it suddenly felt like all that hard work over the three years was worth it,” said Husnain.

During his second year, Husnain, from Blackburn, began volunteering with Action for Children, a charity helping disadvantaged children across the UK, with the aim of gathering the skills he’ll need for his future career.

“I mentored a child who had suffered severe emotional trauma in the past, which led to a number of behavioural, social and academic problems. I planned sessions and activities with them weekly over the course of a year, and although it became difficult at times to juggle with increasing university workload and other commitments, I made sure to attend every week without fail as I didn’t want to let them down. I recently received an award from the Deputy Lord Mayor of Liverpool for completing the programme and making a significant difference in the life of the child I mentored and his family.”

As well as volunteering, Husnain has made the most of his time at University by taking on numerous roles after being voted Psychology course representative and faculty representative for Psychology and Sports and Exercise Sciences, organising departmental and external events, and taking extracurricular Spanish classes.

Husnain has decided to continue his time at Edge Hill with an MSc Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Wellbeing.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time at Edge Hill. The course was really engaging and staff have been extremely helpful, and I was given a lot of opportunities and support. I can’t wait to start my Masters in September.”

Husnain also has some advice for students looking to secure jobs and graduate positions.

“Do as much as you can to enhance your CV and personal profile,” said Husnain. “From taking on extracurricular activities to helping out within your department, the experience counts for a lot when you are looking for a job and really helps you stand out from the crowd.”

After contacting a Senior Educational Psychologist in Bolton and impressing them with his CV, Husnain was successful in securing an opportunity with the Bolton Educational Psychology Service. He is helping implement a working memory intervention programme, called Meemo, for children with special educational needs in three schools in the Bolton area. He’s also involved in creating resources for teachers and parents, such as materials to help parents understand psychological assessments used on their children, as well as providing translations of these materials to Urdu and Hindu in which he is fluent.

Click here to find out more about studying Psychology at Edge Hill.

Supportive campus atmosphere gave Emma confidence to live her University dream

A student with a genetic condition which makes it harder for her to process information and feel socially anxious collected her degree in Psychology today at Edge Hill University.

Emma Clarke (21) from Warrington has Turner Syndrome, which is a condition that affects about 1 in 2,000 girls, and means she is shorter than average and had delayed physical development. As a child she refused to do new things, and speak to new people.

“Coming to university and living away from home was a huge step for me,” said Emma. “Initially, when viewing universities I was set on living at home and commuting. However, after attending an open day at Edge Hill, which appeared to have a brilliant friendly atmosphere and felt very safe with everything being on one campus, I decided it was the university for me.”

Emma initially felt anxious about starting her course.

“I was very worried at first about both the personal and friendship aspect and also the academic side of university,” she said. “Edge Hill helped me because I was assigned to a learning facilitator who I met with for an hour once a week, and the meeting could be used for whatever I needed that week – just a vent or general chat or to help go over any assignments. This really helped as with my condition I can be very anxious and like to have reassurance that I am on the right track.”

Edge Hill also eased Emma’s worries about making new friends as she was able to make contact with her new flat mates before moving in to halls.

“The movie nights and treasure hunt provided in the Freshers’ Week activities were a great help as I was worried I would have to drink or go to clubbing-based activities which I do not feel comfortable with,” said Emma. “This option allowed me to do what I feel happier with but still develop and build friendships which was very important to me.”

During her studies, Emma had the opportunity to become an intern to assist Reader in Psychology Dr Motonori Yamaguchi, with his research, which has helped her secure a place to study a Masters in Psychological Wellbeing in Clinical Practice.  She said:

“I was able to gain both personal confidence, having to approach people in the Hub to recruit participants, and academic skills by conducting a study and analysing data, which are very important for the career I hope to achieve.”

She also has some advice for current students.

“Do not be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and give new things a try – make the most of every opportunity offered by the university. For example, even though I never thought I would get the internship I still applied as it sounded like great experience. And amazingly I got it and it has been one of my best decisions and experiences whilst at uni.”

Find out more about studying Psychology at Edge Hill University here

Graduate ticks off his university bucket list

If ever there was a living endorsement for making the most of all the opportunities on offer at Edge Hill University, it’s Sports Development and Management student Jonathan Ollerenshaw who graduates today.

The student experience at Edge Hill has been recognised as the best in the North West, and from Jonathan’s account of his time here, it’s easy to see why.

Jonathan wasn’t sure he was cut out for university, however a passing comment from one of his school teachers helped change his mind, and he’s had the time of his life.

“I was pretty much an ordinary student at high school, passing all of my GCSEs, but I never aspired to go to university – to be honest, I had no idea what I wanted to do in life,” said Jonathan. “I just enjoyed playing sport and having fun with my friends, simple. An instance that epitomised this was when I was playing football an hour before a GCSE PE exam instead of going to a revision session. My teacher walked past and I knew he spotted me. No words were spoken until after the exam, he then walked up to me and asked me how I’d done, I said OK, I’ve probably passed. To which he replied ‘don’t be one of the lads’. This story may seem pointless to some, but that conversation changed me, and I made an active decision to not be ‘one of the lads’, and concentrate on myself instead.

“Then came another decision, what am I going to do next? All my friends were going to college, so guess what? I did the same. I went to a couple of meetings at Cheadle College and liked the courses they had to offer. I had meetings with the BTEC Sport department, and as sport was my one passion, it was a no brainer. Long story short, I found the course easy (probably because I was no longer ‘one of the lads’, I attended every class and decided against turning up late with my friends), and my teacher proposed the option of starting an academic lifestyle, going to university. Me?! University?! It was something I had never considered, but it seemed right.

“So, I went through the campus tours and course talks at four different universities, and one stood out. Edge Hill University. Firstly, the strikingly enticing campus; secondly, the friendly staff and volunteers; and thirdly, the fact that the lecturers wanted more than good grades, they wanted to help students become more employable, and do so through engaging in a number of opportunities. I was sold.”

And Jonathan has never looked back.

“The course was great, and I was given the opportunities to get involved in real life situations. I volunteered on the Tackling the Blues scheme and thoroughly enjoyed the experience of engaging with young people in the community through sport and physical activity. Through volunteering I have been able to see how the course can increase someone’s knowledge of the sport development discipline, as everything I learned is relevant for my future.”

It wasn’t just the opportunities available through his course that Jonathan embraced. He also engaged in a wealth of extracurricular opportunities, from 5-a-side football on a Monday, working with The International Society and playing Futsal for the first team, to leading a team up Kilimanjaro and raising a total of £28,000 for the Childreach International Charity, taking part in the Erasmus+ programme, and making the most of the Student Opportunity Fund by travelling to Montclair State University.

“When I arrived at university I knew no one, thrown in at the deep end some would say,” said Jonathan. “Luckily I got on with my flat mates, but I wasn’t much of a ‘clubber’, so I made sure that I went out a few times in Freshers’ Week. Fortunately, on Welcome Sunday I met someone who was on my course when I was out with my flatmates. We made more friends throughout our time at uni, but it was nice to walk into the first class on Monday and see a friendly face. The friends we would go on to make meant the beginning of our 5-a-side team.

“This led to Peter Armstrong from the Sport department, asking me to join the first ever Futsal team at Edge Hill. I thought I’d never play football competitively again so I was excited. Best memory was by far playing in Varsity, having other students support you was a great feeling; I’d only played in front of crowds that included mums and dads in the past.

“Back to the friendships. In halls I lived with two Germans – one who I became close to and inspired me to travel. I showed her everything the UK has to offer, and by doing this, I saw my home as an adventure, which inspired me (and still does inspire me) to explore the world. Then we had a presentation in class about Erasmus+, which was perfect timing. I applied straight away, and received confirmation soon after. I was off to Universitat de Vic, just outside Barcelona.

“I could go on about Erasmus+ forever, but I’ll cut it short from the ‘I met friends and travelled’ – pretty obvious. Here, I met two people who brought fun back into my life. In second year I became a book worm, I knew it. Despite going out regularly, I was obsessed with grades. The friends I made on Erasmus+ made me laugh like I used to in high school, it was a long journey of self-development but something finally clicked – you can have fun while working hard, who’d have thought it!

“Thankfully I brought this thought process back to third year, I went out regularly (having fun while doing so), going to festivals, gigs and playing sport. However, what shocked me was that I was achieving even better grades than I was in second year. Then my course was given the chance to go to New Jersey through the Student Opportunity Fund. So, after having the time of my life over the past few years I thought, why not make it a little bit better. I applied, had an interview, and got it. I was travelling to the US. What a way to finish an incredible experience at university.”

So what’s next for Jonathan?

“The big question. Employment is the big one for me, however, I have not ruled out applying for a Masters in the future too. Having studied for four years at university, I want to put what I have learned into real life situations.

“I have a passion for active transportation, as I am a keen active commuter, whether that be walking or cycling. To delve into this area would be ideal, as I want to see more active communities across the UK. I hope to be a successful manager in this field in the distant future, but for now I’m just looking to get my foot in the door.”

Click here for more information about studying Sports Development and Management at Edge Hill.