Habi Ceesay

Habi was born in the Gambia but spent most of her formative years in Germany before moving to the UK. She has overcome the obstacles and discrimination that she faced throughout her childhood and teenage years in Germany, to seek out her own opportunities, to educate herself and to work with others to challenge unconscious bias and promote inclusivity.

“Growing up, as the daughter of first-generation immigrants, I faced various challenges, including racial abuse, discrimination, and limited access to opportunities. Despite these obstacles, my mother, who has been a guiding force in my life, instilled in me the belief that education could be the key to overcoming limitations.

“My experiences in Germany, with its unique set of challenges, motivated me to pursue higher education and strive for success. My journey reflects a determination to transcend adversities through the transformative power of education, and I am committed to making a positive impact in my chosen career path.”

Habi completed her A-Levels in Germany and up until around that time had always wanted to become a surgeon.

“I meticulously ensured that all my academic qualifications were aligned with the pursuit of a medical career. However, as I approached adulthood, I discovered that the sight of blood was something I couldn't easily reconcile with, leading me to reconsider my career path.”

Among trying to rethink what she might like to do for her career, Habi had decided to leave Germany and to move to the UK.

“Upon moving to the UK, I decided to explore alternative fields and enrolled in a digital media course in college. This exposure introduced me to graphic design and the associated tools. Coincidentally, I had a cousin who had started a web design startup, and upon completing my college course, he offered me a position as a graphic designer. This role not only allowed me to refine my graphic design skills but also introduced me to the basics of web development.

“As I delved into the intricacies of web development, I found myself increasingly fascinated by the inner workings of computers and how they execute tasks. This newfound interest marked the beginning of my journey into the world of computing. While my initial career aspirations took a different turn, the evolution of my skills and interests ultimately led me to choose computer science as a field of study. It's a decision I made with curiosity and passion, driven by a desire to understand the fascinating mechanisms behind the technology that surrounds us.”

So, in 2017, Habi joined LJMU as a computer science student, full of excitement and enthusiasm for her future career, and for what she felt both the university and the amazing city of Liverpool had to offer. She would also continue to work full-time, due to her immigration status, having to balance her studies with her job.

“LJMU is not just a place to earn a degree; it's a platform for transformation and discovery.”

– Habi Ceesay

“I was certain about my interest in studying computer science, and after thorough research, it became evident that LJMU offered one of the best courses in this field. The curriculum was comprehensive, and the faculty had a strong reputation for delivering quality education in computer science.

“Beyond the academic aspects, my choice was also influenced by the vibrant city of Liverpool itself. I fell in love with the city's unique character, marked by friendly people, a happy way of living, and a diverse range of experiences. Liverpool seemed to capture a spirit that resonated with me, and I found that LJMU, as an institution, reflected this spirit.

“The lively atmosphere, cultural richness, and various facets of Liverpool seemed to be encapsulated in LJMU, creating a learning environment that went beyond the classroom. I was drawn not only to the academic excellence promised by the computer science programme but also to the overall experience that LJMU and the city of Liverpool could offer. This combination made LJMU the perfect choice for my higher education journey.”

And during her higher education journey, Habi also gave back to the university, offering her voice and mentorship for a scheme that has brought about better awareness of the experiences of Black students.

Our well-established diversity and inclusion team was leading innovative approaches to address the attainment gap between ethnic groups, and to widen access and participation in higher education. One of their ambitions was to transform the way our university understands and responds to the perspective of Black students. As-a-result LJMU’s first Reciprocal Mentoring Scheme was born, and Habi played a key role as a student mentor.

“I immediately recognised the value the scheme could bring. I've always placed high importance on mentorship, and the prospect of not only benefiting from it but also sharing my experiences to potentially have a positive impact on future students resonated strongly with me.

“This initiative allowed me to mentor multiple LJMU executives, providing insights into the challenges faced by Black immigrant students like me. It was an honour to contribute to a dialogue that aimed to foster understanding and bridge gaps between different perspectives. This experience not only enriched my university years but also highlighted the importance of advocating for inclusivity and diversity.”

In 2020, Habi graduated and with that become only the second person in her family to obtain a university degree. She is already an inspiring alumna, having had great success in finding employment linked to her computer science degree.

“Since graduating in 2020, my career has been a journey of growth and advancement. Immediately after graduation, I secured a position as a graduate functional consultant, a role for which I was selected from a pool of over 1,200 applicants—highlighting the competitiveness of the hiring process.

“Over the years, I have steadily progressed within the company, and I am currently positioned as a full functional consultant. This role has provided me with a unique perspective into various industries, offering a behind-the-scenes look at their operations. One of the aspects I enjoy most about my job is the dynamic nature of the work—each day brings new challenges and opportunities to learn.”

Not only has Habi flourished personally in her career, she has also continued to actively contribute to initiatives that promote understanding and inclusivity.

“My career has presented me with several moments of pride, but a few stand out prominently. One notable achievement was the honour of delivering a company presentation on unconscious bias. This initiative was well-received within the organisation, emphasising the importance of addressing and raising awareness about unconscious biases in the workplace.”

As Habi continues on an amazing trajectory as an LJMU graduate, she has some words of wisdom for anyone else looking to follow in her footsteps and to study at the university.

“Don't be shy to ask for help and dare to make your dreams a reality because LJMU makes it possible. The university is not just an academic institution; it's a supportive community that values your aspirations and is committed to helping you achieve them.

“Whether you're facing academic challenges, navigating personal issues, or seeking guidance on your career path, don't hesitate to reach out to the faculty, staff, or support services available at LJMU. The university is invested in your success and wellbeing, and there are resources in place to assist you every step of the way.

“Embrace the opportunities for personal and professional growth that LJMU offers. Get involved in extracurricular activities, connect with like-minded individuals, and take advantage of the diverse learning experiences available. LJMU is not just a place to earn a degree; it's a platform for transformation and discovery.

“Remember, your dreams are achievable, and LJMU is here to help you turn them into reality. Seize the opportunities, embrace the challenges, and make the most of your educational journey at LJMU.”