Students Doing Great Things!

I had a wonderful day at work the other week when I met with three of my students for a catch up. They were inspiring, full of energy and enthusiasm…and it was one of those days that you remember why teaching is one of the best jobs in the world! So, I felt compelled to blog about this and share the good news!

schoolsspeakersCameron is an undergraduate student in the Business School who is embarking on a self-employed placement year. Cameron came to catch up with me and tell me about his latest ventures and how he’ll be spending his time over the next year. While most of our undergraduate students seek full-time paid employment for their placement year, Cameron will be working on building two of his businesses and developing his role within them: Managing Director of Hungry.Under.Dogs (www.HungryUnderDogs.com ) and as a Motivational Speaker (www.Cameron-Parker.com ).

Cameron has already been involved in a wide variety of charity work, community services and business engagement across the region, nationally and internationally, including The Princes Trust. Cameron was recently invited as a guest speaker at The South Gloucestershire and Stroud College and at Royal Holloway University, to speak to a wide variety of young sports people, including the Great Britain American Women’s Football Team.

Cameron also told me he had recently been accepted as a Motivational Speaker with ‘School Speakers’ (http://www.schoolspeakers.co.uk/ ), an organisation set up by Claire Young, The Apprentice finalist 2008 – wow!  Cameron intends to grow his business and his role to construct workshops that can be taken into schools and colleges to inspire others and promote the value of self-belief, education and aiming high!

There’s something about students with such entrepreneurial spirit that is just so inspiring. It’s great to see students so dedicated, not only to their studies, but to their careers, the lives of other young people…and developing their own business ideas – lovely!

fashionLater that morning, I saw another fab undergraduate student who is just starting his Second Year and is looking for a placement. Daniel came to catch up with me and talk through the finer details of a ‘good CV’! Here was another case of a student going beyond what is expected – Daniel told me about some great marketing work experience he had done over the summer at a leading German Supermarket! He is now working on the PAL scheme that helps other First Year students develop their study skills, he’s part of the marketing society and at the same time has achieved a first in nearly all subjects so far and achieved over 70% for his First Year overall! Crikey!

Daniel told me that he is now looking for a placement for his Third Year and would like this to be based in the Fashion Industry but is also looking at L’Oreal and other larger organisations…

I was so impressed, not only with the grades Daniel has already achieved – amazing! But also his determination to aim high and work in a competitive industry…whilst at the same time maintaining a down-to-earth, approachable and friendly manner…sometimes a rare combination…and good to see!

Grow-Your-Own-1-640x426Later that afternoon I saw a postgraduate student who is just completing her MSc in Sustainable Development in Practice. Jenni is doing some fabulous work for her dissertation; exploring people and their everyday experiences of growing their own food! She came to talk to me about the methods part of her work…and her interest in using visual methods, namely, participant-led photography.

Seeing Jenni’s work progress over the past few months has been really interesting and the use of visual methods for a project like this has worked really well. She came to show me her data and the images her participants had taken and they were just BRILLIANT! SUCH rich data and wonderful stories that went along with the images. We talked about the age old issue of how you analyse all this!?…so we worked through some of the stuff I had done using visual methods…

Jenni had made a great start though, and some of the themes coming out of her thoughtful analysis of the transcriptions were super – stuff to do with how people see the produce they grow as extensions of their own identity and their bodies, stuff to do with emotions, and stuff to do with space and place – marvellous! It was one of those cases where there’s too much for an MSc dissertation…and perhaps a PhD would offer more space for exploration!? Anyway, I found it a fascinating study and I can’t wait to see the outcome!

So, a jolly good day seeing three truly hardworking, interesting and happy UWE students!

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