#BeckettGlobal alumni who are paving the way for women in their countries
For International Women’s Day, we are recognising the accomplishments of our alumni from around the world. These are just a few examples of former international students who have used their experience at Leeds Beckett to break boundaries and inspire others with their work.
Putri Afzan Maria Zulkifli, Malaysia (MA Development in Global Societies, 2006)
After receiving her Masters degree and returning to Malaysia, Putri has become a prominent early childhood researcher and educator. She is a pioneer for the importance of ‘play’ in the Early Childhood Education industry, advocating for the importance of supporting children’s emotional and cognitive development through play-based learning. She owns and runs more than 40 early childhood education centres called Kinderkaizen, developing a unique educational model which has been published in academic papers and presented at global conferences.
Putri has advice for anyone who wants to pursue their goals: “As you choose to start your journey, you will definitely face many bumps along the way. It’s important that you keep moving forward and stay focused. I am very firm in what I advocate for – I view myself as a changemaker in the Early Childhood Education industry and believe that as the world changes, so should our approach to education.” Read more about Putri here.
Minakshi Mohanty, India (PG Dip International Events Management, 2012)
Minakshi is one of the very few female solo motorcyclists in India. She is a key member of The Bikerni, the largest all-women motorcycling group in India with over 17 chapters and a member base of over 1,600 women (it is also the second-largest group in the world). Working with the Bangalore chapter of The Bikerni, she has travelled 170,000km throughout India and Nepal as part of the group and on her own.
In 2018, Minakshi founded a start-up called The Endless Trail, whose mission is to train women in basic motorcycle skills. She partners with motorcycling brands and events in India, and hosts an annual event with The Bikerni. She says of her experience: “Coming from an events background helped me in my career, and I can’t thank Leeds Beckett University enough for the exposure.” Her advice for fellow female motorcyclists? “Don’t hesitate to spread your wings and do the impossible. Ride hard and ride safe.” Visit The Bikerni on Facebook.
Bedour Al-Mousawi, Qatar (BSc Sport and Exercise Science, 2015)
In 2015, Bedour was the first Qatari female to graduate with a Sport and Exercise Science degree from a UK institution. She now works as an Exercise Scientist at Aspetar Hospital, Doha. As the countdown to the Qatar 2022 World Cup approaches, she is looking forward to contributing to the event along with colleagues in her organisation. Of her experience, Bedour says: “I hope to be a role model for other Qatari females thinking of joining this field. I’m proud to think that my experience will contribute to future generations and at some point, it might change other people’s way of thinking. I may inspire them to achieve their dreams and make what seems impossible possible.”
She also has advice for students who are thinking about studying abroad: “My Leeds Beckett degree gave me everything I need to succeed. The journey of studying abroad might seem tough at the beginning. There will be ups and downs, but at the end you will make it and you will be proud of yourself. My advice is to follow your dream, take on new responsibilities, become a leader, and don’t let anything stop you from achieving what you think you can do.” Read Bedour’s profile by the British Council.
Laura Etemah, Nigeria (MA Music Production, 2016)
Laura was the first woman in Nigeria to graduate from a UK University with a Music Production degree in 2016. She had always wanted to be a music producer, but found the Nigerian higher education system to be limited in her field. In her second year as an undergraduate student in Nigeria, she auditioned for Star Quest, a national music reality TV show. On the show, she formed a band called D’Accord with her fellow cast mates, in which she played bass. At the time, a female bass player was seen as a novelty to Nigerian audiences, and Laura’s talent helped her band win the entire competition.
Upon coming to Leeds Beckett to join the MA Music Production course, Laura developed her studio skills – singing, songwriting, playing instruments, composing, producing, and editing. She also joined the Beckett Choir, and enjoyed spending her free time teaching children in the Leeds Nigerian community to play guitar. Since returning to Nigeria, Laura has established a music school and published her third book about overcoming challenges as a performer. Read more about Laura here.