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Prize-winning graduates


It wasn’t just a degree that some of our graduates left with at this year’s Graduation ceremonies. Many were recipients of Faculty prizes, honouring their hard work over the course of their studies.

Prize-winner Alex Rorks-Barnard

We spoke to a handful of them to find out what they’d won and why.

Alex Rorks-Barnard (pictured) studied BA (Hons) Marketing & Advertising Management and picked up the CIM Student of the Year. “It was not something I was expecting, so I was surprised but very proud to have won. Some of the assignments on my course were challenging but really fun to do. And a lot of the teaching staff were so passionate about the subject that it rubbed off on everyone and made studying really enjoyable.”  Asked what he’s off to do next, Alex said: “I’m straight into work. I started full-time at CreativeRace in May as an Account Executive. I had been there part-time throughout my final year after being on placement there.”

Fellow Faculty of Business & Law student Marcus Taylor studied BA (Hons) International Business, and was awarded the Dean’s Prize for the Most Outstanding Student. It’s clear to see why, as Marcus explains: “During my placement year I was in a pool of 350 graduates who were tasked with selling technology and large IT infrastructures to corporates. Running large projects and consecutively hitting targets allowed me to develop and refine my professional persona while learning how to pitch and present effectively. As a result, I finished second in the pool.”

Marcus openly admits he wasn’t always top of the class though: “Academically, I started my degree poorly. In my second year my average was 54 which meant in my third year I needed to average 74.5 to get a first. I averaged 84 and got the year’s highest mark on our dissertation/consultancy, scoring 98.”

BA (Hons) Youth Work & Community Development student Chloe Grindford also picked up the Dean’s Prize for her course. Speaking about how it felt to receive the news of her nomination, Chloe said: “I was overwhelmed, excited and also quite tearful. I felt a great sense of achievement that my hard work had been noticed and appreciated by all the brilliant tutors who I came to have wonderful relationships with throughout my time at University. I never thought I would even have the chance to go to university, never mind be nominated for this fantastic award!”

The motivation behind Chloe’s hard work was her son: “Receiving this award makes me realise I have done him proud. This will hopefully give him some enthusiasm for his own career prospects and make him believe anything is possible if you try hard enough.”

Faculty of Arts, Environment & Technology student Daniela Seggewiz won the Dean’s Prize for Excellence in Music Enterprise.  When asked what she enjoyed most about her course, she said it was, “the hands-on experience, to always be able to apply the theory in practical work”. Feeling “honoured and proud” to be receiving the prize, she’s taking her talents onto the road: “I’m currently touring with bands as their sound engineer, and will be continuing to do so.”

Stavroula Giagkou won the Institution of Civil Engineers Award for Best Graduating Student in BSc (Hons) Civil Engineering. She is working at a structural engineering firm and has put plans in place to do a masters degree after what she describes as a ‘superb’ experience: “I enjoyed going to university, being with my friends and studying together. All the modules were interesting,” she said.

“I am already working at a company called DP Squared in Hebden Bridge. This year I am having a break from my studies and am getting married end of July. From September 2017 I will do my masters degree in Civil Engineering. I am over the moon that I have won the prize. I wasn't expecting it.”

Elsewhere, BA (Hons) English Literature graduate Victoria Turner was rewarded for her work with both the Sarah Holt Memorial Prize for Best Dissertation in English Literature and the Dean’s Prize for Outstanding Student Achievement in English Literature.

She explained how the mental-health impact of the First World War was central to her dissertation: “It was about the literary response to suicidal shell-shock after the Great War; a bit of a deep subject but not a lot has been done about it and it was really interesting,” she said.

On winning the prizes, she added: “I was a bit shocked really because I wasn't aware you could win prizes. It's a lovely way to be recognised and it's made me realise how well all my hard work has paid off. I'm currently working at the Bronte Parsonage Museum in Haworth as a Museum Assistant, I'm just getting as much experience as I can in the museum sector before I decide which path to go down. I think the money from the Dean’s prize will go towards that or a holiday - I feel I need one.”

For more coverage of our 2016 Graduation, take a look at our live news feed.

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