The sun came out on Thursday 14 July as Graduation week continued, with students from the School of Education, Leisure and Sport Studies celebrating their achievements in the morning, while those from the Schools of Sport and Exercise Sciences and Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences graduated in the afternoon.
Catriona Burden graduated with a degree in Food and Nutrition and is now working as a research assistant at LJMU conducting interviews with midwives caring for obese pregnant women. "I had a really enjoyable experience at LJMU and I met a lot of great people along the way," she said. "The teaching staff are very supportive and gave me good advice throughout my three years of study. In the future I plan to secure a role within the food industry working alongside innovative food manufacturers."
Dance Practices graduate Joshua Rotherham overcame challenging circumstances during his studies to achieve a First Class Honours degree. Tutor Angela Walton said: "We are incredibly proud and inspired by Josh. His commitment, dedication, passion, complete openness and 'have-a-go' approach has been motivational and an absolute pleasure to be a part of."
Josh commented that studying at LJMU had been the best experience of his life so far: "Apart from my degree, I have developed my social and literacy skills and my current aim is to continue my work with creative youth development. My future plans include the possibility of studying for my Masters. It was a great place to enrich myself and provided me with an excellent environment and place to learn. It also enabled me to make new friends and to promote my local area."
Daniella Laverty also graduated with First Class Honours, this time in Food and Nutrition. Her Personal Tutor, Lucy Richardson described Daniella’s journey as “a success story and a half. Her First Class mark has not come easily. Daniella has worked tirelessly, arriving at University early every morning and working until late at night. Her achievements are very much her own, against all odds."
On top of her studies, Daniella has worked as a student advocate, representing the programme at every Open Day and Applicant Day and was the recipient of The Meyer Prestige Outstanding Contribution Award. She has also been working part-time since she finished her placement at the ABP Food Group and has now secured a full time job with them.
Daniella added: “My time at LJMU was the best time of my life. The people I’ve met and the things I’ve learnt will always be with me. I wish I could be a student forever. I feel it really was the making of me.”
Home Economics (Food Design and Technology) graduate Courtney Porter was awarded First Class Honours plus recipient of the Howdens Award for being the student with the highest overall mark on their programme of study. She is pictured here with tutors Lucy Richardson and Wendy Johnston.
Mia Smith graduated with her PhD from the School of Education. Her thesis is entitled 'Born into the midst of parental drug misuse: The voice and life story of a child survivor'.
She commented: "In 2006 I set out on my LJMU experience when I enrolled on to the Education Studies and Special Inclusive Needs degree. I almost can't believe that 10 years later I am graduating with a PhD and lecturing at the University, teaching on the suite of programmes that I studied back during my degree. I consider it a privilege to be able to share my research with the students I teach. I am extremely grateful for the opportunities I have been given by LJMU and I want to thank my supervisory team, colleagues, family and friends who have been exceptionally supportive in helping me achieve my goal."
Gemma Fisher, a former mechanic from the West Midlands, joined LJMU as a mature student and today graduated with an Outdoor Education degree. Gemma said:
"LJMU has been such a positive experience; from being part of such an interconnected and community spirited course to volunteering opportunities with the National Trust through the LJMU Conservation Society, and securing work experience in a management position at a US Summer Camp to being part of the LJMU team that climbed Mount Kilimanjaro for charity in 2015, which was amazing. There were times that I was presented with challenges, both personal and academic, but the connections created with people that I met here meant that those challenges were never faced alone."
Gemma is currently working on a short-term internship with another student that involves analysis and research on education for sustainable development. She has been offered a place on a masters degree focusing on environment, culture and society. In the future, she would like to complete a PhD in outdoor and environmental education. Photographed along with Gemma is Harry Smither, also graduating with a BSc (Hons) in Outdoor Education.
Track Dinning, from the School of Sport Studies, Leisure and Nutrition collected her Teaching and Learning Award during the ceremony. Track is described as an "exceptional educator" who makes a "considerable impact on the student experience and the University as a whole".
Damian Maher from the School of Education also collected a Teaching and Learning award, while the Programme Team Award went to the Education Studies and Special Inclusive Needs team, led by Lynne Kendall. This team was praised for their "student satisfaction and strong academic performance, and their rich contribution to the learning community in the School of Education and the wider University".
John Meadowcroft (pictured left) and Marcus Cusani (pictured right) not only secured First Class Honours in their Education Studies and Physical Education degrees, they were also awarded Gold World of Work certificates. John said completing this certificate was "hugely beneficial" and good practice for interviews. He is working as an intern in the Faculty of Education, Health and Community, exploring curricular enhancement initiatives with Emma Ball from the School of Education. Marcus will begin teacher training in a school in Wigan this September.
The afternoon ceremony recognised the achievements of graduates from the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences and the School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences.
Alex Wells and Tom King both graduated with first class honours in Science and Football. Tom has secured a three-year fully funded PhD in Applied Sport Science at Liverpool Football Club and Alex plans to undertake a masters degree focusing on performance analysis of sport. Tom commented: “I am very grateful to the University and the Sport and Exercise Sciences lecturers. I truly believe that I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do the PhD without my degree and the placement LJMU secured for me at Everton Football Club.”
Clare Roberts achieved first class honours in Applied Biomedical Science, while also raising a family of four, all aged under ten years old. Her tutor Dr Kenneth Ritchie commented: “This is a truly remarkable achievement. Clare showed real dedication, often working late at night once the children were asleep. In addition to this she has also secured a job as a biomedical scientist in the hospital where she carried out her work placement. Clare is a true inspiration to any mature student who has family and is wondering if they have left it too late. The answer is obvious.”
Dr Zoe Knowles of the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences received the Vice-Chancellor Award. Dr Lee Graves and Dr Rebecca Murphy, also of the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, were presented with Learning and Teaching Awards.
Also during the afternoon ceremony, the University conferred Councillor Gary Millar with his Honorary Fellowship for his outstanding contribution to the Liverpool city region and its people.
Former Lord Mayor of Liverpool, local councillor, music entrepreneur and businessman Gary Miller hails from Scotland but has lived and worked in Liverpool for over three decades. A graduate of Liverpool Polytechnic, Gary’s political career began in 2008 when he was elected to Liverpool City Council for the Old Swan Ward. Since then he has served as Cabinet Lead for Culture and Tourism, as a board member for Stepclever, Liverpool BID, LGA Culture Committee, and the Arts Council. He is also a Trustee of Liverpool Students’ Union and St George’s Hall Charitable Trust. In May 2013, Gary became Lord Mayor of Liverpool. Co-owner of Parr Street Studios, Gary has won numerous awards including DLIB Business Personality of the Year, Liverpool ECHO Enterprise Champion, LJMU Alumnus of the Year, and Liverpool’s Best Dressed Businessman.
On accepting his Honorary Fellowship, Cllr Millar thanked his civil partner Steve for his support, and put his success down to team work and the unwavering support from those around him. He asked graduates to stay in Liverpool so that together, and with their newly gained expertise, they can help to make ‘the best city in the United Kingdom’ even better. Moving to Liverpool from Edinburgh in 1983 to attend LJMU, he commented: "Back then I didn’t have a graduation ceremony, so thistoday means even more to me. I fell madly in love with this city and I still wake up every day with a smile on my face because it is such a wonderful place. I’ll do as much as I can to take this city forward, and I’ll do it with your help. This city is full of wonderful people and with many great universities in the region, you chose the very best."
You can read the full oration for Cllr Gary Millar here.