Are you graduating this year with a Bachelors or Masters degree? If so, you are eligible to apply for our 2021 Alan Jenkins Memorial Award*.
Each year we celebrate the fantastic accomplishments of our students by awarding a prize to the graduate we believe has the most inspirational study experience story.
Perhaps you had to overcome obstacles to complete your course? Or maybe you have used your degree to make a difference in your personal or professional life? Whatever challenges you went through, we want to hear your inspirational stories. This is about recognising the student that we feel most embodies our values, and whose story can motivate and inspire both current and future students.
Who was Alan Jenkins?
Alan Jenkins was our former Managing Director who lost his battle with cancer in 2015. The award, which is in its sixth year, is a tribute to the values that he held dear. He was passionate about making education accessible to everyone no matter what their background. He believed in people who worked hard to achieve their goals and recognised that success is different for everyone; that what might be seen as success for one person will be different for another.
Who has won the award in the past?
Last year, the award was won by Michelle Burrows-Adderley.
She achieved her honours degree whilst dealing with caring responsibilities, relocating to a new country, and a hurricane. However she persevered through these challenges and even received a promotion at work two months after completing her final report for her business programme.
In 2019, the winner of this extremely prestigious award was Alison Davies.
Her husband sadly passed away while she was in the process of completing her degree, and she faced her own cancer diagnosis, as well as restructures and redundancy in her work life. But she followed her husband’s encouragement to “just be you”. Her strength and resilience held strong and she achieved her BA (Hons) Business and Management degree last year.
In 2018, the winner was Dr Muna Yousif.
The judging panel acknowledged that not only had she studied through difficult home circumstances and taken on the challenge of studying a postgraduate course in a second language, but also that Muna was focused on putting what she learned from the course back into practice, by providing hospital patients with a basic human need – sanitisation.
In 2017 it was Emmy Foulkes who earned the award.
Emmy’s journey to overcome hardship and poverty to achieve an education, while also trying to change the future of his village back home in Uganda was deemed truly inspirational by the judging panel. Born in Uganda, Emmy worked as a farmhand to pay for his school tuition fees. As he had to work before school to support his family and 22 siblings, he was caned regularly for lateness. Emmy moved to the UK in 2011 and took a part-time cleaning job while beginning his studies with University of Essex Online. As he studied, he was taken on as a trainee manager with a housing association and eventually was able to use the knowledge from his online degree to progress to his current management role.
Emmy has also used his knowledge to help other children in Uganda; he has teamed up with a couple of friends to spot talented youngsters and support them through their education. Emmy has now been offered a fully funded Social Research MSc and PhD at a Russell Group university.
And our first-ever winner in 2016 was Aisha Legge.
Aisha inspired everyone on the judging panel with her determination and dedication to study, despite many personal and professional obstacles.
How is the winner chosen?
Once the closing date has past and all the entries have been received the winner will be chosen by a judging panel. The panel will be looking for the 2021 graduate who has the most inspirational study experience. It’s not about academic achievement, but instead about the journey towards reaching your personal or professional goals.
What does the winner receive?
The winner will be presented with a trophy and a certificate. They will also receive prize money totalling £500.
How can I submit an entry?
If you are one of the hard-working students who are graduating this year, make sure you check your email for a link to apply to be considered for this year’s award. The closing date for the award is Monday 12 July 2021.
If you aren’t graduating this year but you are a student studying with us, then we hope this also gives you something to think about and perhaps a bit of inspiration in those tough times.
*Terms and conditions apply. Please see the Alan Jenkins Memorial Award submission page for full details.