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Celebrating graduate success

20 Oct 2021 7:15PM

Over 300 students from the School of Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Suffolk graduated today.

Cristina Darmaz from Romania graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Criminology. Cristina said “I was attracted to study at the University because of the area, the town, the lecturers; it seemed like a very good university where I would be able to succeed, and I was right. I’m going to miss everything. The lecturers, my colleagues, our discussions during seminars, even being stressed over assessments! It all was a part of my experience and I’m definitely going to miss it.”  
  
Cristina has won a Fulbright scholarship and next year will continue her studies in America.  The Fulbright Programme is a highly competitive, international educational exchange programme sponsored by the U.S government. It is designed to encourage mutual understanding between cultures, by providing support to collaborate with US Universities within a highly professional and competitive academic environment.  

Cristina said “Fulbright will provide me with moral and financial support to pursue my Masters' study within the US. I will be studying Criminology and Criminal Justice. I chose to study this because I want to pursue a career in law enforcement and criminal justice, my ultimate goal being to work for the Drug Enforcement Administration within the US. After completing my postgraduate study, I will be returning home to Romania and will work on designing a programme in order to help the young Roma children from Romania, struggling not only within the academic environment but the overall social environment too. I want to change the perspectives and stereotypes about my people, the Roma people. That has been and will forever be my motivation.”  

Emilie Witt also graduated today. “After finishing my undergraduate degree in Psychology and Criminology at the University of Suffolk, I decided to study the MSc Applications of Psychology course. I really enjoyed the neuropsychology module, and my course leader encouraged me to consider brain injury rehabilitation, so I applied for a position with Headway Cambridgeshire. I now work for Headway Cambridgeshire as a Senior Rehabilitation Worker, providing psychosocial support services for individuals with both acquired and traumatic brain injuries, and those who care for them. The university helped me to find my passion within neuropsychology and gave me the confidence to pursue a career in this area.”    

Claire Kidd and Emily Maskery both graduated with an Fda in Early Years Practice.  

Claire is now doing an BA (hons) in Early Learning which she hopes will lead to teacher training.  “At the moment I am a teaching assistant at a primary school.  I absolutely love my job with all my heart and soul and have always put in a 100% effort, or so I thought…. My university experience has blown my mind wide open about children and how they develop. I want to teach, support, and inspire these young children, right at the very start of their education.  I want them to believe in themselves and know that they can do or be anything they want to be. I was attracted to study at the University of Suffolk because I’m mature, a wife, a mother, I can still earn an income and do the job I love and get myself a degree…. Something I thought I had lost the chance of ever doing. Having that chance still there for me was amazing, so I took it. I have conquered my fears, I have educated myself and when I look at my CV now, I feel very proud of my achievements.”  

Emily Maskery said “Obtaining a university degree has always been a goal of mine. It stemmed from various experiences that have moulded me into the person I am today. When I was four years old, I had trouble developing my speech and language and was referred to a Speech and Language Therapist, who diagnosed me with a stutter which still affects my daily life today.  During a GCSE parents evening, my English teacher told me that no matter how hard I tried with English I would never pass. This really affected me and made me do everything I could to prove her wrong, which really paid off when I passed it. In 2018, I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS/ME). I thought I would never achieve my dreams, but I didn’t give up. Many people told me that university would be too difficult and tried to persuade me not to go. Two years on, I have proved them all wrong and am still following my dreams. I am now studying the BA (Hons) Early Learning (Progression Route) and hope to progress to Teacher Training after this.”   

The University of Suffolk’s Students’ Union Presidents Alex Gooch and Meg Wright graduated today.

Alex said “I’m over the moon to be graduating. It feels great to know that all the hard work has paid off and I now have a degree in Psychology! I’ve had such a brilliant and memorable time here at Suffolk, both through the University itself and the Students’ Union. I am so proud of everyone who is graduating this year, we made it and that’s such a commendable achievement!”

Meg also graduated with a degree in Psychology and added “I'm so happy that graduation day is here. It has reminded me of the journey that myself, fellow graduates and even those still studying have been on to get to this point. We've been carers, we've been key workers, we've adapted whilst on the move to many different ‘new normals’ that are far from how things were when we started our degree. To be graduating today feels incredible, especially looking back at the way I started at the Uni, having dropped out of my previous one. I've had an amazing three years studying for a degree I'm truly passionate about, and feel lucky to be celebrating in person with my friends and family considering the last year and a half. Looking back at how I have progressed during my time here, through my studies and in my other roles, I feel so grateful and proud to be doing the job I do today.”

The University presented an honorary award to Albert Grant OBE. Albert is an ex-Labour Councillor who has dedicated his life to tackling racism and fighting to secure Equality and Justice for all.

Albert came to Ipswich in 1955 at the age of 21 from Barbados. During his time as Councillor, he became the first Black Mayor of Ipswich in 1995. He also served on the Housing and Planning committees, was Chairman of the Whitton/Whitehouse Housing Forum, Chairman of the Council’s Equal Opportunities Steering Group and a leader of the liaison panel dealing with the West Meadows Travellers site.  

Outside Council activities, Albert was a founder member of the Ipswich Caribbean Association and the Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality. He served on the board of Ipswich Blind Society and as Governor for Westbourne Academy and Whitehouse Community School. 

Upon hearing the news, he would be awarded an honorary doctorate, Albert said “I see life like a conveyor belt, starting with the raw material, represented by the opportunities and challenges life throws at us, the helping hands and minds we bring. It is about finding the right tools, resources, energy and creativity laid out in equal measure to help mould the perfect product. A part of me has always been on that conveyor belt and I hope each of us could find our place to contribute to that perfect product.” 

Tomorrow students from the School of Health and Sports Sciences graduate as ceremonies continue on the Ipswich Waterfront.

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