It was the turn of the School of Education and the School of Sport Studies, Leisure and Nutrition from the Faculty of Education, Health and Community to celebrate on Friday 24 November, with graduating students processing during the morning ceremony.
Adam John Roberts, 28, graduated with a Master of Arts in Dance Practices with Merit. He is an independent dance artist based in Halton. He chose to study at LJMU as an undergraduate seven years ago. The course involved developing contemporary and jazz techniques and learning about choreography and dance film whilst having the opportunity to practically explore, experiment, structure, film and edit. In September 2016 Adam returned to LJMU to enhance his creative practice and study for an MA. He now plans to apply for funding to develop existing choreography and create new work for Edinburgh Fringe Festival, as well as founding an autism-specific integrated dance company.
“I echo my fellow peers, past and present, when it comes to describing my lecturers as amazingly supportive. They exceed in supporting their students with absolute excellence. They have equipped me with knowledge, technical ability and creative tools needed to be a movement director, critical thinker and creative performing artist.”
Rowena Gander, 28, graduated with a Master of Arts in Dance Practices. She previously completed an undergraduate course in Dance Practices at LJMU and chose to return to study for her MA to further expand her research. Rowena received funding from the Centre for Entrepreneurship as an undergraduate, which has led to the creation of an e-book and as a postgraduate, the publication of a resource pack. Rowena is hoping to complete a PhD and continue to teach, perform and develop products for dancers.
“As a student I found this course extremely challenging, but that is what I loved most about it. I think you need to be challenged in order to truly grow.
“I definitely feel much more confident about my area of research and how I can take theory into a creative space.
“I loved my time at LJMU, the freedom to explore my own ideas, with just the right amount of guidance, has given me so much to move forward with as a dance practitioner in both practice and theory.”
Megan Rainford, 23, graduated with an MA in Dance Practices with Merit. She decided to study for an MA at LJMU after completing an undergraduate degree in Dance Practices at the university and graduating with 1st class honours. Megan has had the opportunity to work with professional companies both locally and internationally. The course also encouraged Megan to further her interests within choreography and review writing. She now plans to create opportunities for people with disabilities to take part in dance, explore choreography and eventually become a lecturer.
“The staff at LJMU have always been outstanding, providing constant support throughout my time. The dance department is a credit to LJMU and truly make the students feel welcome and at home. They provide an enormous amount of encouragement and guidance, allowing the pupils to learn and develop within a friendly and comfortable environment.
“The journey has been successful and has allowed much development in myself as a professional.
“I feel strongly about dance and its positive effects on the body both physically and mentally.”
Laura Clancy, 25, from North Wales graduated with an MA in Education, Globalsation and Social Change. She chose to study at LJMU after visiting the undergraduate open day and falling in love with the IM Marsh Campus. She completed her undergraduate degree at LJMU and decided to continue her studies and now wants to stay to complete a PhD.
“The experience at LJMU was great. The lecturers and staff were extremely supportive, encouraging and hard working
“There are many diverse opportunities for students, and while I was studying I had the chance to complete an internship and some part time work as a research assistant.
“Liverpool is a great city to live in and works well for students with free entry given at a lot of local attractions including the Philharmonic Orchestra!”
Holly Smyth from Belfast graduated with an MA in Education, Globalisation and Social Change. She chose to study at LJMU as she felt it offered the right course and the student support to ensure that she settled into student life away from home. Holly’s highlights during her course were taking part in two international placements to Thailand and Malta. She now hopes to travel and pursue and international career.
“I have gained more confidence in myself and my abilities over the four years I have spent at university.
“I have such respect for the lecturers and staff at LJMU. I feel like they genuinely care and invest in the whole student experience.”
Teuta Gjuladin-Hellon, 46, graduated with a Master of Science in Public Health Nutrition (Distinction). She moved to Liverpool in 2010 from Macedonia and later chose to study at LJMU because of its heritage and development into a leading modern higher educational institution with students from all over the world. Teuta gained specialist knowledge regarding the importance of nutrition in public health during her course and advanced knowledge of research methodologies in nutrition science and nutritional assessments using statistical software; as well as practical skills such as motivational interviewing in facilitating healthier lifestyle choices.
“When I first came to Liverpool, I knew that it would forever be a place I would consider my home. It is the most cosmopolitan, friendliest and most vibrant city I have ever been to.
“Lecturers are really committed to creating an engaged and interactive teaching environment and a positive and creative workplace.
“The LJMU staff is exceptional in looking after all needs of its students including wellbeing, support sessions, one-to-one tutoring and career advice.
“They are indeed focussed on unleashing the potential of every student, based on individual’s skills, motivation and educational background.”
It was a special day for the Royal Court as husband and wife duo, Gillian Miller and Kevin Fearon - joint Chief Executives of the Theatre - were awarded Honorary Fellowships.
Accepting her Honorary Fellowship, Gillian Miller addressed the audience saying:
“Thank you very much, I feel extremely proud to receive such a prestigious award and I’m very much looking forward to playing an active role as an Honorary Fellow, and opening the doors to my life. I’d particularly like to thank the Vice Chancellor for his belief and support for our vision at the Royal Court Theatre.”
Going on to speak of her love for Liverpool, Gillian said: “I class myself as a Scottish Scouser. I’ve lived here for over 30 years and I love this city dearly, so much so that I married a scouser.”
Speaking of her journey from studying Applied Chemistry at university to her career in the arts and culture, Gillian spoke of the various options open to graduates, and finished by leaving some words of advice:
“A huge congratulations to you all today. This marks a new beginning for you all with many roads to choose from and I encourage you to always remember to make the most of every minute of your special journey, as I have tried to.”
Following his wife, Kevin Fearon accepted his Honorary Fellowship saying:
“Thanks for you this great honour… This is the first solid sign that people outside our business, recognise what we do. It means a lot. I also see this award as recognition of the support of our staff at the Royal Court give us and I also see this as recognition of the support my wife and I give each other.”
Kevin offered his advice to assembled graduands: “So what are my pearls of wisdom after 40 years in theatre? Well I can that say that if an opportunity excites you and stretches you, then do it. You only get one change at this life, don’t waste it and don’t be afraid of failure. I have spent a lifetime doing that but I wouldn’t change it or the people I’ve met along my journey to get here today.”
Many of the students from the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences have graduated straight into jobs within some of the UK’s leading sporting organisations, including Everton Ladies, Tranmere Rovers FC, Arsenal FC, the Lawn Tennis Association and the English Institute of Sport. They have a variety of roles including nutrition and psychology input to improve performance.
Aaron Argomandkhah’s placement at Tranmere Rovers FC during his MSc in Sport Nutrition led to his first job in professional sport as First Team Nutritionist at the Club.
“The ability to be interact, educate, and work with professional athletes was a concept I found quite daunting 12 months ago, but the anecdotal experience of the lecturers, along with the guest lectures from sports psychologists and practical lectures and my internship at Tranmere Rovers FC has developed my interpersonal skills which are pretty much make or break in a professional sporting environment.”
MSc Sport Nutrition graduate, Craig Umenyi is now an Academy Performance Nutritionist at Arsenal Football Club. Craig said his reason for studying at LJMU was the reputation of the course and its lecturers and he enjoyed the open and social environment on campus with staff and students.
“After a few years away from formal education I had to re-learn how to write academically and critique research. Staff were always open and approachable and I felt showed genuine interest and care in students individually rather than just as cohort. The knowledge and ability to teach what I considered to be very complex topic areas was outstanding whilst they also provided excellent first-hand anecdotes about their practical experiences.”
“I loved living in Liverpool; as a life-long Londoner it was somewhat daunting to make the move but I am so glad I did and really miss the city already.”
Samuel McHaffie, from the Sports Nutrition MSc, has secured a job at Everton Ladies after his placement there. He chose his course because it offered every student a work placement alongside studying.
“I have gained valuable skills that can be directly applied to work. This is mainly due to my placement with Everton Ladies. The teaching was fantastic on my masters, but having the knowledge is pointless if you can’t apply it and engage in a culture of elite sport. My masters was extremely valuable in giving me this opportunity.”
Dan Ellis will be starting a PhD funded by the Lawn Tennis Association following his MSc in Sport Nutrition. His personal highlights included the opportunity to work with elite athletes during his placement module and assist with cutting-edge nutritional research.
“The facilities at LJMU are second to none, paired with modules taught by world-renowned academics, provided me with a fantastic student learning experience. The lecturers at LJMU are considered some of the world’s best academics and practitioners. Their delivery of the individual modules was engaging, inspiring and informative.”
Steve James Jones graduates with an MSc in Sport and Clinical Biomechanics and his placement was with Everton Football Club’s Sports Science department where he worked with Club and Academy players on a regular basis.
“I have always had a passion for sport and LJMU is renowned for excelling within sports research. Liverpool is a fantastic city with amazing culture and opportunities. The connections LJMU are able to offer students is first class and not something that can be replicated at many other universities. I was given a day experience at Alder Hey Chidlren’s Hospital studying the effects of cerebral palsy. This gave me an insight in the different types of cerebral palsy and how each type has a certain characteristic that needs to be treated differently. They are also available for 1-2-1 meetings with students, should a student feel they need a bit of extra support outside of the lectures.
"Now I have successfully completed a masters degree in Sport and Clinical Biomechanics, I hope to work within a sports science or performance analysis role at an elite level sports team. Currently I am working as a cover supervisor at Turton High School in Bolton, which I am hoping will develop my experience with working with children and also share my knowledge and experiences at LJMU with the pupils, to give them a positive insight of the educational and life skills that can be gained at LJMU. As an LJMU student I have been able to experience a student life and also experience of professional roles, which I will be expected to do once I leave university."
Steven Ward, gained a masters in Sport Psychology and is now a research assistant with plans to progress onto a PhD. He undertook a placement at The Mersey Forest Partnership where he took part in field trips, conducted innovative and novel research, and developed relationships with individuals, leading to his current employment.
“I chose to study at LJMU due to the reputation of the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences on the international stage. Undertaking my MSc at LJMU offered me the opportunity to be affiliated with a School that leads, innovates and is at the very forefront of the rapidly developing field of sport psychology. The staff are passionate about ensuring each student realises their full potential.”
Dan Charters graduates with an MSc in Bioarchaeology from the School of Natural Sciences and Psychology. He had previously studied Forensic Anthropology BSc at LJMU and found the postgraduate course built on the knowledge and contacts he’d made, including the continuation of research projects with lecturers. He is the recipient of a Holt Education Trust research grant and is currently in Belgium producing research on Pleistocene cave bears.
“I couldn't be happier with my experience at LJMU, it gives me great pride to say I have two degrees from this university. I have made contacts and friends from all over the world that I will keep throughout my life, along with a research project that shaped my BSc and MSc degrees.
“The grant from the Holt Education Trust meant that I could go to Belgium and carry out research into the evolution of the cave bear, how they tried to adapt to their environment and why they went extinct. Without the funding I wouldn’t have been able to do it, being on location made my research so much better.”
“Having the opportunities to work with large osteological collections housed onsite and travel abroad multiple times to conduct research is something I could only imagine before enrolling. Staff are always willing to help, showing genuine interest in your work and going that extra mile to see you succeed.”
Lillian Alnsour won the Kelvin Chan Prize for best overall performance in MSc research project in Phytochemistry.
Claire Williams, 23, graduated with an MSc in Drug Discovery and Design. Her research focused on novel therapeutics for the anti-biotic resistance crisis. Claire was awarded a grant from the Holt Education Trust, which exists to promote and encourage higher education among the people of Merseyside in science and vocational training.
“I’ve loved meeting new people and making new friends. Everything that I’ve done at LJMU has led me to this point.
“My lecturers were very helpful, they’ve taken their research and given me a little slice and I’ve taken it further and put my own spin on it.”
Jessica Leather, 23, graduated with an MSc in Health Psychology. Her research focused on cold pain and pleasant touch. Jessica was awarded a grant from the Holt Education Trust, which exists to promote and encourage higher education among the people of Merseyside in science and vocational training. She hopes to further her career in research and health psychology.
“I’ve found LJMU brilliant – that’s why I came back. The staff have always been supportive.
“The grant from the Holt Education Trust has helped to support my research project and meant that I could do more independent studies.”