Students Staff

Essex women of the future

Maria Patricia Miranda Rivera

Maria Patricia Miranda Rivera

MA student, Santander Scholarship recipient

Santander scholar Maria Miranda Rivera aims to use her Masters degree in Speech and Language Therapy to work with children and young adults with additional needs.

One child

Maria worked as a babysitter while studying in France and was asked to teach a four-year old French girl to speak English from scratch. By the time she finished the girl was forming sentences and it sparked Maria’s fascination with how children learn to speak.

“[Thanks to my scholarship], I hope to become a speech language therapist and work with children and young adults with additional needs to help them speak and to be able to express themselves.”

One scholarship

Thanks to a scholarship from Santander, Maria completed a Masters in Language and the Brain, giving her new insights into language processing and acquisition. While studying for this MSc, she started volunteering at the Edith Borthwick School in Braintree in Essex, shadowing and helping out the therapists who work there.

She found the experience “very enriching” and said it “reinforced my desire to become a speech language therapist.”

Changing lives

Maria is now studying a second Masters in Speech and Language Therapy. Once finished, she aims to work with children and young adults with additional needs. Her knowledge and abilities will help others to realise their own potential and bring real change, not only to Maria’s life, but to those of the children she helps, to their families and communities, and the wider world.

Dr Yukti Hari-Gupta

Dr Yukti Hari-Gupta

PhD Molecular Medicine,
Colchester Catalyst Charity scholarship recipient

The benefits of scholarships go far beyond the recipient. They don't just change lives - they can save them.

Dr Yukti Hari-Gupta has begun her journey to change the world with a breakthrough in cancer diagnosis, thanks to a scholarship funded by the Colchester Catalyst Charity. Support our Women of the Future Appeal to help women just like Yukti.

One grant

The Colchester Catalyst Charity pledged £84,000 to fund a PhD studentship at the Essex Biomedical Sciences Institute – with the aim of getting results from the research which could change the way we treat prostate cancer. In particular, it was very difficult to tell the difference between benign and malignant tumours, so some patients were being 'over-treated', causing them distress and costing the NHS money. Further research was needed.

"I am really thankful to the Colchester Catalyst Charity. They allowed me to carry out this research for three years – and definitely made a difference in the global study of cancer."

One molecule

Yukti's University of Essex PhD supervisor, Professor Elena Klenova, discovered a protein called BORIS in 2002, which she identified it as a potential biomarker. The team found that BORIS appears in malignant tumours, and published their research in 2014. Their findings look set to help diagnose prostate cancer earlier, and to make sure patients get the right level of treatment.

A world of change

The Colchester Catalyst Charity's mission is to improve the health of people living in north-east Essex, but these findings could have an impact far further afield. A third people living in the UK can expect to be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime. Professor Klenova is now looking at BORIS and its links with breast cancer.

Dr Amanda Wilkinson

Dr Amanda Wilkinson

History research fellow,
Silberrad Scholarship recipient

Amanda Wilkinson is passionate about history and had always wanted to teach and conduct research. She came to Essex as a mature student to pursue her dream, and now passes on her knowledge to the next generation.

One scholarship

Amanda graduated with a First in History and Sociology, followed by a Distinction in her MA Cultural and Social History. She set her sights on a PhD but with a family to support, self-funding wasn't an option.

The generosity of one man changed Amanda's life when she was awarded a full Silberrad Scholarship. Essex barrister John Silberrad left us more than £2 million in his will for PhD scholarships.

"Being awarded the Silberrad Scholarship quite literally changed my life. It was a case of no funding, no PhD, so hearing that I had been awarded it was like being told I'd won the lottery."

One subject

Amanda's research interest is working women in Victorian Britain. She used the 1851-1901 censuses from England and Wales to create a new history of women's economic contribution to society and the changing patterns in occupations available to working class women.

Real change

Amanda graduated with her PhD in 2012. She is now a research fellow in our Department of History and has published papers on working women in the 19th century and other subjects. She presents at conferences, and is Deputy Director of our Centre for Local and Regional History.

Amanda also engages the public in her work, writing a piece for The Guardian about our perceptions of women at work or in the home, upending the idea that working women are a new phenomenon. She also blogs and tweets about her research.

One scholarship helped Amanda achieve the career she wanted and she is now passing on her knowledge to new generations of students here, changing lives herself.