"I had not done anything academic for a very long time"

Graduation is not just for students; but also staff, as we found out when we caught up with three colleagues who juggled work at LJMU with on-going study.

“I had not done anything academic for a very long time,” admits Colette Quail who works as office manager in Corporate Communications and Stakeholder Relations and is celebrating achieving a Masters degree.

“The level of job I was in counted towards the experience needed to take the course on so after a chat with my manager, I signed up.”

With her children in high school and less needing attention, Colette had been reviewing her career past and future and figured that the MSc in Leadership and Management Practice offered the knowledge and experience she felt closely matched her aspirations. 

She confesses it was tough juggling working full time, running a home and completing her studies: “I had to use up a lot of my spare time, working long into the evenings and weekends around my work commitments. 

“The course was very challenging, however the sense of achievement I now feel is amazing and I now feel like I can accomplish anything I can put my mind to.  The course has given me the confidence and ability to make that leap into senior management.”

Pictured here: Colette Quail. Above Fiona Murphy-Glasher. Homepage image: Hilal Soni.


Hiral Soni, a research assistant in the Built Environment and Sustainable Technology Research Institute, agrees that to study while working full-time takes over your life but says it’s worth it in the long run.

Hiral, whose parents had flown in from India to attend her graduation in MSc Wireless Communications, said: “It was a childhood dream to work in a UK university and now to have my Masters is a great feeling.”

She has been working with Andy Shaw and Patryk Kot on sensor electronics and has so impressed they are now supporting her towards a doctorate.

“The institute has really expanded my knowledge and opened big-time opportunities. I feel overwhelmed about what I have achieved and what the future holds for me.”

Fiona Murphy-Glaysher, from Wigan, has taken a more traditional academic route to Graduation. A Teaching Fellow in the Astrophysics Research Institute she hopes her PhD into the behaviours of stars will launch her career as a researcher/lecturer.

She said: “I am incredibly proud to have achieved my doctorate. It was the culmination of years of work and provided the opportunity to publish a paper and to present at national and international conferences.

“It was lovely to graduate in the beautiful surroundings of the Liverpool Cathedral and the second time I’ve actually done so, having achieved my LJMU distance learning MSc in 2017. It was an honour to be alongside my fellow graduands who put in a lot of commitment, dedication and hard work.

Like Hiral, Fiona was generously supported by her director of studies, Matt Darnley, and funded by the Faculty and also by the Science and Technology Facilities Council.

Colette says it was the support from those around her that got her through: “It was everyone really, family, colleagues, my line manager and my programme leaders were brilliant. There were times when I felt overwhelmed with work but I was spurred on with words of encouragement and thankfully, I listened!

“On Graduation Day, I proudly put on my robe and mortar board and as I sat in the Cathedral with all the other students, it suddenly hit me that all my hard work had paid off and I was actually a Master of Science!! 

“I will forever cherish my graduation day and I am proud to be a graduate at the university I have worked for, for over 20 years – I wouldn’t have wanted to do this anywhere else.”


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