From education to employment

Students awarded prizes for achievements and making a difference

From setting up their own businesses and volunteering in the community, to excelling in their studies, supporting fellow students and making an impact with new research, soon-to-be University of Chester graduates have been recognised for their achievements.

The University’s Business School Valedictory Prize Winners for 2023 have been announced, and presented with the prestigious accolades.

Staff are asked each year to nominate students who have stood out academically, in entrepreneurial endeavours, or substantially contributed to student and community life.

The awards and a ceremony at Queen’s Park, the home of the Business School, this month (July) acknowledged and celebrated the outstanding accomplishments, talent and dedication of four students.

The winners were:

Dr Connie Hancock, Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Management shared why Liam was chosen for the Enterprise award:

“Liam’s achievements in the field of entrepreneurial excellence, his dedication to outstanding academic performance, and his commitment to the local community have set him apart.

“Seizing every opportunity that came his way, he won a place on the Venture Adventure, to develop his enterprising ideas in Spain, volunteered to mentor local school children, started his own business in his second year and also produced an exceptional dissertation.

“He is a very worthy recipient of the Valedictory Award from the Department of Management, and we look forward to seeing his future achievements as he commences Officer Training for the Army after graduation. Congratulations Liam.”

Liam said: “I’m very honoured to be chosen for this Valedictorian Award and I am filled with pride that such nice words have been said about my time here at Chester.”

Beth Morris, Programme Leader for Digital Marketing nominated Hannah for her award. She said:

“Hannah has been a pleasure to teach, her dissertation on women’s football post-Euros was awarded the highest dissertation mark ever for the programme and her overall mark for the year was the highest in the Business School. She has worked incredibly hard and the results of her hard work have been exceptional, she is a great peer and we are all extremely proud of her.”

Hannah said: “I was proud of my efforts having achieved a first class degree, and also then pleasantly surprised and honoured to have received the Valedictory Award. To hear the kind words from my lecturers was amazing and then to find out how well I had done, achieving the highest grade in the entire Business School, was another proud moment for me and my family. It wouldn’t have been possible without the incredible support from my lecturers, Beth Morris, Jane Martin and Ashley Trzebiatowski, over the last three years, especially during the pandemic.”

Dr Tim Brown, Acting Head of the Department of Marketing, Tourism, and Destinations presented Arfana with the Ian McDonald Memorial Award. He said:

“Arfana joined us at the University five years ago as a mature, undergraduate student and it has been wonderful to see her grow in confidence, and to see how much she deserves all she has achieved.

“Her work and roles have benefitted the current and future student community, including being elected as the first BAME Student Representative at the University, driving initiatives such as improving prayer facilities at Queen’s Park, being a core member of the Strategic Race Challenge Group, which was established to promote racial equality and diversity, and also saw the development of the Race Advocate role, which she also embraced.

“Well-regarded across the University and the Students’ Union, she has created a significant legacy. Her enthusiasm and dedication have been phenomenal and we wanted to recognise everything she has done. She is a true role model for all students.”

Arfana said: “I am honoured to be presented with the prestigious Ian McDonald Memorial Award, and carrying on his legacy by being recognised for my outstanding contribution to the faculty and students.

“My time at the University has given me the opportunities and experiences to build my confidence, self-awareness, knowledge, and academic skills that I will carry with me for life. I would say to anyone thinking of trying something new, ‘don’t wait for the right moment – do it today’.”

Jan Jones, Senior Lecturer and Programme Leader, outlined why Kirsty won the CPED Prize:

“Kirsty has worked exceptionally hard throughout her degree apprenticeship and this is an even more amazing achievement as she works for the NHS and had to contend with all the challenges of COVID. The team is immensely proud of her.”

Kirsty said: “I was very apprehensive about starting my degree as I only had GCSEs and NVQs, and it had been over 20 years since my school days. However, my time at the University was a complete and thoroughly enjoyable journey of learning, including many new skills.

“I also gained confidence in my own ability, and was able to successfully apply for two promotions whilst studying which has been an incredible achievement alongside working full-time and attaining a first. I am now in the role I always wanted to be in, but was too scared to try for as I did not believe in myself. My experience has been positively life-changing, with help and support at every step. I will forever be grateful for this journey which has spurred me on to apply for a Master’s.”

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