UNIVERSITY NEWS LAST UPDATED : 07 MARCH
We’re delighted to boast an incredible alumni community, including many inspirational women excelling in their chosen industries. This International Women's Day, we’re looking back at some of the great successes from our talented graduates in the past year.
After competing in the Winter Paralympics in Beijing, we caught up with alumna Shona Brownlee to find out about her incredible life and career. Shona graduated in BMus (Hons) from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire before joining the RAF’s Central Band.
But after getting injured, Shona’s life was changed forever and after spending six years on crutches, Shona made the difficult decision to have her leg amputated in 2018. Whilst at a rehabilitation centre, Shona was invited to go on a skiing trip, where she fell in love with the sport.
With support from the RAF and being accepted onto their Elite Athlete Scheme, which meant that she was able to temporarily leave the Central Band to train full-time, Shona decided to take skiing more seriously and was keen to compete as a Para Alpine Skier.
After competing in her first international race in 2019, Shona soon made it into Team GB, and was able to compete in the Winter Paralympics in 2022.
Rhianna graduated from BCU with an MEd in Education in 2022, and is now also completing her Doctor of Education qualification at BCU too.
Alongside her studies, Rhianna also became the Worcestershire Poet Laureate and has since published her own book of poetry!
Danielle graduated from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire with an MA in Acting in 2012 and is now a main cast member on the CBS series Ghosts. Last month, she even attended the Grammys!
Media Production alumna Kattiea won Best Podcast Programming at the Student Radio Awards 2022. She created her podcast ‘Women Behind the Wheel’ as a two-part documentary for her major project in her final year at BCU.
Women Behind the Wheel, which was broadcast on Scratch Radio, is about women in motorsports, highlighting the lack of diversity and the issues that women face in the industry, as well as showcasing the companies and people who are making positive changes.
Samantha, who graduated in Vocal Studies from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire in 2017 before completing a postgraduate qualification in the same subject, was selected to sing the National Anthem at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony.
The alumna sang alongside the CBSO and the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Mass Choir, which was a 700 strong choir made up of different choirs from across the city.
Tonight is the night.@BirmCons graduate Samantha Oxborough will be singing the National Anthem, backed by the @TheCBSO, marking the start of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony.— Birmingham 2022 (@birminghamcg22) July 28, 2022
We joined Sam as she prepared for her role!#B2022 pic.twitter.com/WCpAsLB7zv
BCU alumna and current Brand and Marketing Director at the National Trust Shaherazad returned to BCU in January to collect her Honorary Doctorate for her commitment to business and philanthropy!
👏Congratulations to proud BCU alumna and current Brand and Marketing Director at the National Trust @ShazUmbreen after she returned to BCU to collect her honorary doctorate for her commitment to business and philanthropy.— Birmingham City University (@BCUPressOffice) January 9, 2023
📰Full Story - https://t.co/JEY7dIbcJg pic.twitter.com/cpd49FhCzk
Royal Birmingham Conservatoire alumna Nicola Coughlan has become a household name thanks to her fantastic roles in the likes of Derry Girls and Bridgerton.
Nicola is now set to lead in Channel 4’s new comedy ‘Big Mood’, which will explore female friendship and mental health.
Alumna Nicola Coughlan is set to lead in new @Channel4 comedy 'Big Mood' 🥳— BCU Alumni (@BCUAlumni) February 22, 2023
The new comedy series will explore female friendship and mental health 👏
Nicola graduated from @BirmConsActing in 2011 🎓
Find out more 👇https://t.co/beHEZScxYx
Child Nursing Alumna Aimee was thanked for her incredible work in a TikTok video which went viral. The alumna discovered a video by a parent thanking her for her work at Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
Natalie Ridler, from Swansea, was in Birmingham with her son, Morgan, who was in intensive care after having surgery to remove a tumour. After discovering what Aimee did to help her son, she soon took to social media to say thank you.
Several BCU graduates have been shortlisted in the Regional Press Awards, including Anisah Vasta, who graduated with a BA (Hons) in English and Journalism, Aida Fofana, who graduated with an MA in Journalism, and Jane Haynes, who graduated from BCU with an MA in Multiplatform and Mobile Journalism.
Visual Communication alumna Melita, who graduated in 2016, now works as a Lettering and Mural Artist, as well as a Graphic Designer. Last year, she was chosen to attend BCU’s Westminster event, where we highlighted the important role universities like ours play in shaping the creative arts sector and its workforce.
Did you know that @Melita_Berg is kind of a big deal? 😉— BCU Alumni (@BCUAlumni) November 11, 2022
We love this photos of Melita at our event in Westminster earlier this week - we are very lucky to have so many cool and talented alumni here at BCU! 🤩 https://t.co/jxeENQ0TGr
BCU Alumna Jennifer, who was paralysed in a ‘freak accident’, is now learning to walk again.
Jennifer, who graduated with a BA (Hons) in Product Design in 2019, was a competitive gymnast until she was 16 years old, when she was injured whilst practising for an upcoming competition season.
Jennifer is now determined to walk again, and last year, she was able to hold a standing position by herself for the first time. She now has big plans for the future and is keen to inspire others that life isn’t over after a Spinal Cord injury.
After the success of our Catwalk: BCU in Digbeth event which celebrated the talents of our graduates from BCU’s Institute of Jewellery, Fashion and Textiles, Harvey Nichols chose a collection of work by graduates Rong Cherry Xing, Leia Groom, Jayd Cousins, Abigail Buckland and Sophie Vincent for their window display!
The creative talents of Fashion Design graduates are now on display at @HarveyNichols in Birmingham! 👏— BCU Alumni (@BCUAlumni) August 1, 2022
Following on from our #BCUCatwalk event, the retailer chose work by recent graduates for their latest window display 🤩
Find out more via @Stylebham 👇https://t.co/lDF27oeYKE
Salma, who graduated in Adult Nursing in 2009, was selected as a Commonwealth Games Hometown Hero after establishing herself as a grassroots cricket champion.
Alongside being a Hometown Hero, Salma was also able to be a Baton Bearer at Small Heath Park just a day before the Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony.
Dr Samia La Virgne
Royal Birmingham Conservatoire alumna Samia became the first School of Acting graduate to be awarded a Doctorate in 2022.
Samia is the first graduate with a PhD Performing Arts with an emphasis on Acting, with all prior PhDs awarded by the Conservatoire being music based.
The alumna successfully presented her practice research thesis titled ‘Lust and Disgust: Reimagining Injurious Representations and Experiences of Black Actresses in the U.K. and the U.S.’
It was the first interdisciplinary PhD through the Centre for Interdisciplinary Performative Arts (CIPA) in collaboration with Black Studies and the School of English.
Royal Birmingham Conservatoire alumna Dr Samia La Virgne has become the first School of Acting graduate to be awarded a Doctorate! 👏— BCU Alumni (@BCUAlumni) August 26, 2022
Samia is the first RBC graduate with a PhD in Performing Arts with an emphasis on Acting 🎭
Find out more 👉 https://t.co/6oYJYOGRK8 pic.twitter.com/oTauHYRY9N
Billie Lewery and Chloe Broxton
BCU graduates Billie and Chloe joined forces to create a theatre production and digital toolkit to help people spot the early signs of radicalisation.
Billie Lewery, who graduated in 2022 with a degree in Applied Theatre (Community and Education), worked alongside Chloe Broxton, who completed her degree in Criminology, Policing, and Investigation in 2018.
The duo even appeared on BBC One’s Crimewatch to discuss the project.
Applied Theatre graduate Billie Lewery and Criminology, Policing and Investigation alumna Chloe Broxton have been featured on #Crimewatch to talk about their production and toolkit that helps spot the early signs of radicalisation 👏— BCU Alumni (@BCUAlumni) October 10, 2022
We found out more 👉 https://t.co/MK0y4PNoso pic.twitter.com/DSESwRyuA4