Graduation review: Thursday 23 November 2017



Students from the Faculty of Arts, Professional and Social Studies and the Liverpool Business School celebrated their success in the morning ceremonies, while the Faculty of Education, Health and Community were recognised in the afternoon procession. 

Morning ceremony

Image of Grace BurtonGrace Burton, 22 from Scarborough, graduated with an MSc in Policing and Cyber Crime (distinction). Grace is part of the first group of students to complete a masters degree in this subject at the Liverpool Centre of Advanced Policing Studies (LCAPS). Grace originally completed an undergraduate degree in Policing Studies at LJMU and fell in love with the city, so it was an easy choice for her to continue her studies at LCAPS. Grace was accepted on the LJMU career accelerator student internship programme to Slovenia. She now plans to continue her academic education at LJMU to advance to PhD level and carry out research into the trade of drugs on the dark web on an international scale.

“My student experience at LJMU has been life changing. The people I have met in the past year and the support they have given to help me achieve the best I can is unforgettable.”


Image of Conor DavisonConor Davison, 22, graduated with an MSc in Policing and Cyber Crime. Conor is part of the first group of students to complete a masters degree in this subject at the Liverpool Centre of Advanced Policing Studies (LCAPS). His dissertation was titled 'Does UK law enforcement have the capabilities to successfully investigate cybercrime?'  Conor now has a job in the fraud detection team at an international bank.

“I was open to where the course could take me, policing is something I’ve always been interested in and now I’ve had my eyes opened to the threat of cyber security.

“LCAPS is really innovative.

“The lecturers were always really open and had time if you ever needed support.”


Image of Ben GriffinBen Griffin, 25, graduated with an MSc in Policing and Cyber Crime. Ben is part of the first group of students to complete a masters degree in this subject at the Liverpool Centre of Advanced Policing Studies (LCAPS). Ben chose LCAPS as he could combine his studies with a role as a special constable with Merseyside Police. His dissertation was on 'Terrorism: The Utilisation of a Technological Era', he now plans to join the police or work in the cyber industry.

“I’ve loved my time at LJMU and it’s sad it’s come to an end. I’ve experienced so much and achieved even more with help and guidance throughout.

“A personal highlight for myself was joining Merseyside Police as a special constable and spending just over two years policing Liverpool.

“My tutors helped me through the process, setting up mock interviews, supplying me with materials and even arranged time for me with an inspector to help provide tips on the recruitment process.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my student experience at LJMU. I’ve met some amazing people and made friends for life.”


Image of Ryan TorleyRyan Torley, 23, graduated with an MSc in Policing and Cyber Crime (distinction). Ryan is part of the first group of students to complete a masters degree in this subject at the Liverpool Centre of Advanced Policing Studies (LCAPS). Ryan, worked as a special constable, while also developing his critical incident analysis with the support of staff at LCAPS. His dissertation was on 'Cybercrime - A critical analysis of victim demographics and reporting behaviours'. He has already started his new role as a police constable in Merseyside.

“My highlight of the course would have to be the third year of my undergraduate degree, when we were given the opportunity to travel to Ljubljana in Slovenia.

“In Ljubljana we had the opportunity to create a small international research project and conduct research with local organisations.

“Studying at LJMU gave me the opportunity to consider my career paths and develop the necessary skills needed for maintaining a successful career.

“I am looking forward to applying the skills gained from my MSc in Policing and Cyber Crime within a specialised policing role.”


Image of Cindy LiuCindy Liu graduates with an MA in International News Journalism. She also did a summer internship at the University as the China Engagement Officer within the LJMU International Relations Team.

“With my major in International Journalism, I have not only gained reporting skills across all types of media from print to TV and radio, but also ways of communicating with people, working as a team and thinking critically.

“My internship with the LJMU International Relations Team was a wonderful experience and I love that LJMU is such a modern and diverse university, which offered me loads of an opportunities like this.”


Image of Naomi Cull and Sophie SkellernNaomi Cull and Sophie Skellern both studied for an MA in Cities, Culture and Creativity. As part of their postgraduate course, they carried out a bespoke research assignment on the development of Liverpool's new Knowledge Quarter. They engaged with Culture Liverpool, Hope ST CIC and the Liverpool Fab Lab, delivering consultation sessions, one with the general public, and one with key local stakeholders, from industry and the business community. The final report included a set of practical recommendations for the Knowledge Quarter team, in order to help inform the future development and actions.

Sophie commented:

“After working in the creative sector for five years, I had a wide amount of practical skills and experience in delivering creative activity, yet lacked a deeper understanding of my interests, or the academic framework needed to underpin my abilities. The LJMU course 'Cities, Culture and Creativity' gave me that framework, and provided me with a wider set of skills, such as those in research and academic writing, and the confidence to do so to a high standard. 

“As a student studying Cities, Culture and Creativity, there is no better place to be than Liverpool, the 2008 European Capital of Culture. I thoroughly enjoyed my time here as a student, and loved living in such a vibrant and exciting city which has so much culture and creativity to offer.”

Naomi commented:

“The opportunity to work on a ‘live brief’ was one of the best aspects of my research at LJMU. The course enabled us to be as ambitious as we liked with the project as well as engage directly with the Knowledge Quarter which made a big difference to the overall experience and research.”


Image of Janine DaviesJanine Davies, 29, graduated with an MA in Criminal Justice (distinction). Janine, originally from Stafford, had previously graduated with a BSc in Forensic Psychology and Criminal Justice at LJMU and chose to continue her studies as she had developed strong relationships with her lecturers. Personal highlights during her studies include external visits to local prisons and residential rehabilitation centres, which she found both interesting and beneficial. Janine plans to continue working as a Project Manager at Genie in The Gutter - a local charity who provide support to people struggling with substance misuse and mental health. She has also recently launched the 'Start Up' programme with the School for Social Entrepreneurs, which will develop a new social enterprise to generate income for the charity enabling them to become more financially sustainable long-term.

“I really have had the best student experience at LJMU, I have always felt supported and nurtured throughout my time here.

“I have always found the academic team to be approachable, friendly and motivational. I developed great relationships with a few lecturers who have really been pivotal in how amazing my student experience has been.

“These lecturers were fundamental in challenging my thoughts and opinions and helping me to develop my critical thinking skills further.”


Image of Joseph BirchallJoseph Birchall, 39, graduated with an MA in Criminal Justice. Joseph had previously worked as a welder for 17 years before returning to education. He chose LJMU because it offers a wide and varied range of courses and had an excellent reputation. Joseph found the masters degree to be a fantastic experience and enjoyed working in smaller groups, which he felt led to a tighter knit learning environment between students and staff. He is now employed by Merseyside Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) as a case coordinator and is hoping to pursue a career within the probation service and possibly return to education in the future to study for a PHD. 

“As a mature student I found the experience at LJMU refreshing and new to anything I had experienced before. I found the tutors easy to engage with and genuinely found the whole experience to be positive.

“Apart from an academic skillset, I believe I have gained skills in communication, presentation and patience. Above all, I believe I have found the ability to think critically and remain free of judgment until I have a greater understanding of something, to be of great value. This I feel has permeated into everyday aspects of my life in a positive way.”


Image of Sheena-Marie WilliamsSheena-Marie Williams, 31, graduated with an MA in Criminal Justice. Sheena-Marie previously studied her undergraduate degree here at LJMU and enjoyed it so much she wanted to come back to enhance her knowledge. She has already got a new job as a probation officer, which she is hoping will enhance her knowledge and understanding of the ‘real life’ rehabilitation process in the UK. Sheena is hoping to further her career by assisting with policy and process changes in criminal justice in the future.

“The lecturers and staff have been excellent and always encouraging. Nothing was too much for the Faculty staff and I’d recommend anyone to complete their studies within the law school at LJMU.

“I’ve gained my masters degree with a deeper understanding of issues surrounding those that encounter the criminal justice process, which will give me greater understanding for my new career.”


Image of Megan KeaneMegan Keane graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Accounting and Finance. She chose the course with the Liverpool Business School because she felt the placement year would prepare her for the world of work. Megan also had the chance to speak with companies who were recruiting graduates and gain tips for the application process at the finance careers fairs organised by the LJMU careers team. She now plans to start her professional examinations with ACCA and hopefully become a professionally qualified accountant.

“I really enjoyed my student experience at LJMU. I particularly enjoyed mixing with a variety of people of different ages and different backgrounds, I have met lots of interesting people.

“The lecturers at LJMU are brilliant, they always go the extra mile to ensure that the students succeed in everything they do. Nothing is any bother for them and they constantly encourage you to either email them or pop in and visit them if you are struggling with any modules.

“Although it was a challenging experience it was certainly a rewarding one.

“The list of skills I have developed is endless!”


Image of Hesham AbidHesham Abid originally from Abu Dhabi graduated with an MSc in International Business and Management. He chose the LJMU business school as he was impressed with the facilities and gained a scholarship to study. Hesham has now been offered a graduate scheme position with PricewaterhouseCoopers in their London office. He will be working in the assurance stream where he will be providing accounting and advisory services to a number of industry leading firms, many of whom are in the FTSE 100.

“There is always something happening in Liverpool, it's an exciting place to be.

“Overall I had a great time.

“My highlight would be a trip to Italy which was organised by the business school where postgraduate students took part in a practicum and worked alongside a Smart City company based in Turin.

“It was an extremely exciting and innovative project and I learned a lot from it. We also got to collaborate with students from top universities from Italy and Kazakhstan, and made really good connections.”


Image of Patricia MacKinnon-DayPatricia Mackinnon-Day is Reader in Fine Art in LSAD and she was awarded a PhD titled ‘Intimacy and Immensity. A practice-led exploration of the infra-ordinary of people and place’ by publication. This encompassed twenty years of creative art practice including exhibitions in heritage buildings, a closed psychiatric hospital and rural environments.

“It has been an intense but rewarding time. The PhD was an opportunity to challenge myself because I’ve never lost my childlike curiosity – always wanting to explore and learn new things. The whole experience has improved my teaching. Putting  myself back into student learning mode means I have new knowledge to share and I am currently putting together a series of films and artwork in response to my research.”


Afternoon ceremony

Image of Zoe SwithenbankZoe Swithenbank, 35 from Chester, graduated with an MSc in Public Health (distinction) specialising in addictions. Zoe was encouraged to submit an application for Go Global funding for a trip to the USA during her course. The application was successful and enabled her to expand her research by learning about public health in the USA.  She was also supported in attending a summer school programme on European drugs policy run by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) as well as several conferences in the addictions field. 

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as LJMU. I have had some amazing opportunities as a result, despite worrying that I would miss out on the traditional student experience with being a little older than many students and living outside of Liverpool. 

“I have met some wonderful people and had the chance to learn from them which has definitely broadened by perspective. 

“I set up the University’s first Public Health Society, which gave me opportunities to meet new people and to try to encourage students to get more involved.”

“My study at LJMU has convinced me that public health research is where my passion lies, and I hope to continue my work and study in this field.” 


Image of Rosie WilsonRosie Wilson has completed her Masters in Social Work, which she chose to undertake following her law degree, also at LJMU.  After a work placement at The Venus Centre, a mental health charity supporting young women and children, Rosie now has a full time job there.

“I really enjoyed my course and the work placement opportunities which have led to employment for so many of us before we’ve even graduated. LJMU has so many brilliant links with employers to set up these connections.”


Image of the Right Reverend Bishop WilcoxAlso during the afternoon ceremony, the University conferred The Right Reverend Dr Pete Wilcox, recently installed Bishop of Sheffield and previously Dean of Liverpool Cathedral, with his Honorary Fellowship for his outstanding contribution to inter-faith relations and community in Liverpool.

Accepting his Honorary Fellowship, the Right Reverend Bishop Wilcox reflected on a mantra learned during his time as Dean of Liverpool Cathedral:

“Liverpool Cathedral is a safe place to do risky things in Christ’s service. This taught me the value of judicious risk taking, pushing boundaries and embracing the inevitable failure that sometimes happens.

If you can’t remember the last time you failed you probably aren’t taking enough risks. So I commend that statement to you!”

He finished his address by setting assembled graduands with a new mantra to live by, now they have degrees:

“The challenge I set to you graduands today is this: Now that you have received your hard-earned degree, use what you have learned to make a difference in this world, which so badly needs difference-makers of every kind.”



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