Students Staff

15 July 2014

Graduation stories

The Big Essex Award from University of Essex on Vimeo.

“Essex is one big family. It sounds like a cliché, but it really is true. When you come here you feel a sense of belonging and of being part of a wider community.” Chad Blackman, from Barbados, is full of praise for his time at Essex, but has also made a huge impact himself. While here he has been named International Student of the Year and established the University of Essex Bar Society – now one of the largest student societies. Now he has forged an agreement for students in the Bar Society to offer legal guidance to the Commonwealth Students’ Association. Chad, who is staying on to study for a Masters, said: “This is a phenomenal opportunity and I am really excited about this happening in our 50th year as it is a testament to the strength of this University.”

The Big Essex Award programme has proved phenomenally successful this year – helping more than 500 students showcase all their extra-curricular achievements, think about their career paths and chart their personal development while at Essex.

Elena Weisbrod-Nathanael , who won the Big Essex Personal Development Award, believes the award programme helped her secure her graduate role at Barclays thanks to the advice and support she received. She said: “I think taking part in the award really gave me a lot more confidence and helped me articulate my answers in the interview.”

Sports Scholar Tom Moore made his debut for Essex County Cricket Club in May picking up two wickets in his first game. He has benefited from the structured support we offer talented student athletes to help them reach their full sporting and academic potential. He said: “The University has provided a remarkable combination of experiences. I have made friends with so many people from all backgrounds and cultures, yet despite being an amazingly busy, buzzy place, the Campus retains a homely feel.”

Mike Prokopiou had the chance to perform in the world premiere of O Starry Starry Night by Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott while here at Essex and travelled to perform the show in St Lucia and Trinidad. He said: “Being a part of O Starry Starry Night is one of the highlights from my time at Essex. Each production provided me with invaluable experiences which have added maturity and professionalism to my approach to acting and to the practical aspect of my studies.”

Student Mike Prokopiou talks about performing in O Starry Starry Night by Derek Walcott from University of Essex on Vimeo.

A year in industry working for Proctor and Gamble as part of her degree helped Sian Jordan with her studies and then was crucial in securing a job with Enigma Diagnostics. She said: “The year in industry definitely helped to get the interview if not the job. It was one of the things they were most interested in talking to me about in my interview." Since returning to the University, Sian has been supporting other students to think through their career options and apply for internships and work experience.

Computer Science student Szu-Han Chen worked with telecommunications giant BT on his final year project to find new ways for humans and computers to interact. He helped develop a new system which uses in-air gestures to perform the multi-touch functions we use every day on our mobile tablets and PCs.

He said: “I enjoyed the opportunities to collaborate with leading technology companies in the area of research and development while at Essex.”

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