Over the past two months we’ve received so many fantastic entries to our Graduate of the Year 2014 competition that we are struggling even to choose a selection of finalists… So we are asking YOU to help us! We’ve shortlisted six candidates from UK universities and are asking you to vote for your favourite graduate by 11.59pm on Sunday the 7th of September. The graduate with the most votes will become a finalist in our global competition. So, without further ado, meet our brilliant candidates:
Name: Hannah Donkin
University: University of Sheffield
Category: Creative Arts
Proudest achievement: Known affectionately as ‘Donk’, Hannah was recently awarded a first class honours degree in music as well as the BMus prize for highest overall mark and a Pro Vice Chancellor’s commendation. She also received the Philip John Lord prize for best composition portfolio. Whilst studying for her degree, Hannah fundraised over £4,000 and undertook expeditions to Mount Everest and Mount Kilimanjaro for a children’s charity as well as volunteering as a team leader in which she recruited and managed a team that raised a further £32,000. Hannah was also Secretary of the Music Society and worked part time as a piano teacher, in addition to regular performances as a soloist, an accompanist and with various University ensembles.
Inspired by: Her parents
Spirit animal: The bear
Vote for Hannah here!
Name: Ayla Iridag
University: University of Dundee
Proudest achievement: When it comes to being active within the university community, Ayla has done it all, having participated in several sports teams, helped to form a new university society and been a Student Ambassador for the university. Her proudest achievement, however, is her work for the Dundee Student Law Clinic, which offers free and confidential legal advice, assistance and sometimes representation to members of the public. Ayla took over the running of the clinic (on a fully voluntary basis) at the end of her undergraduate studies, having volunteered there in her final year. In her time there, she has worked to overhaul and streamline many of the processes and procedures at the clinic, whilst also maintaing an advisory role and attending several court cases and tribunals to represent members of the public. She also worked closely with the University’s REACH project, which aims to encourage the ambitions of underprivileged youths, all at the same time as holding down a part-time job!
Inspired by: Baroness Hale, the most senior female judge in UK history
Spirit animal: The arctic fox
Vote for Ayla here!
Name: Michelle Kimberly Jamieson
University: University of the West of Scotland
Proudest achievement: Having recently graduated at the top of her class with a First in Psychology, Michelle has devoted a lot of time to her passion of volunteering and helping others alongside her studies. Michelle volunteers as a Community Support Network Counselling group facilitator at SAMH, a Befriender at Greater Pollok Integration Network and a Pen friend for Human Writes. She spent several months of her summer working with a charity in Transylvania that takes in orphaned children affected by HIV/AIDs, intellectual disabilities and poverty. She has also spent some time with Headway as a group worker with individuals with complex head injuries, with St. Andrew’s Ambulance as a first-aider, as a Research Assistant at Mellow Parenting and with The Rucksack Project, Glasgow. In her volunteer work Michelle aims to raise awareness of several social and psychological issues such as specific mental health issues, social inclusion, health problems, human rights, advocacy and poverty in Scotland. Michelle has won several awards for her work, both social and academic.
Inspired by: All the medical professionals and specialists who helped her cope with her SpLD Dyscalculia, and by all the people she has met during her voluntary work
Spirit animal: The owl
Vote for Michelle here!
Name: Chris Knight
University: Leeds Metropolitan University
Proudest achievement: Chris already has many successes to his name, having run initiatives as diverse as a t-shirt printing business, a student club night and a popular monthly house music night while at university. His latest venture, a product sampling smartphone app called Samply, beat over 250 other entries to win the Leeds Enterprise Awards. The app, which aims to make product sampling more efficient for brands and more rewarding for consumers, is due to launch in October 2014 and has already secured Coca-Cola, Warburtons, Red Bull, Diageo, Nestlé and Kellog’s as strategic partners!
Inspired by: His father
Spirit animal: The hummingbird
Vote for Chris here!
Name: Hannah Witton
University: University of Birmingham
Proudest achievement: On top of studying for her degree and receiving a First, Hannah has been running her own successful YouTube channel for three years. Giving young people advice and help with sex and relationships, Hannah’s profile has gained over 50,000 subscribers, as well as a 10,000-strong following on Twitter. She loves communicating with and helping people from all over the world, some of whom may have no one else to speak to about these important issues. Hannah loves being her own boss and hopes one day to be the British equivalent of Tina Fey or Amy Poehler.
Inspired by: Caitlin Moran
Spirit animal: The badger
Vote for Hannah here!
Name: Alice Beckley
University: University of Wolverhampton
Proudest achievement: Alice turned her back on a professional football career to go into cancer research, after having been diagnosed with cancer herself in 2010. Striving to ensure that others do not have to go through the same experiences she has had to endure, Alice has excelled in her studies, being recognised as The Paycare Trust’s highest achieving biomedical scientist at Wolverhampton in second her year. Furthermore, she was named Cellular Pathology Student of the Year, as well as being awarded with the President’s Prize by the Institute of Biomedical Scientists due to her outstanding academic record. Alice has also spent time volunteering for Macmillan Cancer Support and hopes one day to be a Professor of Oncology at the Institute of Cancer Research.
Vote for Alice here!