International Women's Day 2022: Our Inspirational Alumni
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.
Quantity Surveying alumna Alice Stewardson was awarded the Most Promising Trainee Quantity Surveyor award at the CECA Southern Young Achiever Awards 2021 thanks to her work at Danaher & Walsh, where she has worked alongside completing her studies for six years.
Alongside her daily responsibilities, Alice also actively promotes positive mental health and wellbeing. As a trained Mental Health First Aider, Alice acts as a confidential first point of contact for colleagues at Danaher & Walsh experiencing mental health concerns.
Sadly, last year BCU alumna Diana Porter passed away. Diana joined BCU when she was 47 to study Jewellery and Silversmithing, and went onto be named UK Jewellery Designer of the Year.
BCU Alumna Diana Porter has sadly passed away aged 78. Diana joined BCU when she was 47 to study Jewellery and Silversmithing.— BCU Alumni (@BCUAlumni) March 31, 2021
In 1999 she was named UK Jewellery Designer of the Year. Diana's husband Jeremy Dain talks about her extraordinary life here ⬇️https://t.co/W9XwxkSzV1
BCU Acting alumna Nicola Coughlan, who has become a household name thanks to her brilliant roles in Derry Girls and Bridgerton, celebrated great success in the last year, including her Bridgerton character Penelope’s big moment of being revealed as Lady Whistledown, as well as winning the Irish Film and Television Academy’s Rising Star award and launching her very own podcast, Whistle Through the Shamrocks.
BCU Alumna @nicolacoughlan's shocking reveal as Lady Whistledown in #Bridgerton has been nominated for the 'Must See Moment' Award at this year's #VirginMediaBAFTAs 👏— BCU Alumni (@BCUAlumni) April 28, 2021
Nicola graduated from Birmingham School of Acting in 2011 🎓 https://t.co/KCqS2BMcpU
Media Production alumna Elvinah Xhignesse has celebrated seeing her hard work behind the screen across the nations TV’s, thanks to her role as a Runner on The Great British Bake Off, as well as BBC Two’s All That Glitters, Channel 4’s The Last Leg and ITV’s In For a Penny. Her work as a Production Assistant and a Researcher on the new series of 24 Hours in A&E will be broadcast later this year.
Design Management alumna Isabelle Uner was awarded the Group for Learning in Art and Design (GLAD) Postgraduate Student Learning and Teaching Research Prize in 2021.
Isabelle, who graduated with a BA (Hons) in Product and Furniture Design in 2020 before returning to complete an MA in Design Management, won the top prize for her contribution to investigating the impact upon pedagogy within a creative subject discipline.
BCU Alumna Sally Alexander, who graduated with a PGCE in Secondary Music in 2011, was named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for Services to Education last year.
Huge congratulations to BCU Alumna Sally Alexander!— BCU Alumni (@BCUAlumni) June 14, 2021
Sally has been named in the Queen's Birthday Honours List for Services to Education 👏
Sally graduated from BCU with a PGCE in Secondary Music in 2011 🎓 https://t.co/adkpGXy9SZ
Royal Birmingham Conservatoire alumna Claire Barnett-Jones, who graduated in Vocal and Operatic Studies, won the Dame Joan Sutherland Audience prize in the BBC’s Cardiff Singer of the World too.
Congratulations to @BirmCons alumna @cbjmezzo for winning the Dame Joan Sutherland Audience prize in the BBC @cardiffsinger of the World competition! 👏🤩— BCU Alumni (@BCUAlumni) June 21, 2021
Claire graduated in Vocal and Operatic Studies from Royal Birmingham Conservatoire 🎓
Watch the performance here 👇 https://t.co/tA9Za9KMD8
Architecture graduate Amy Francis-Smith celebrated being awarded the Activism Award at the Archiboo Awards in 2021. Amy graduated with a MArch (RIBA Part 2) from BCU in 2019 before completing a Postgraduate Diploma in Architectural Practice (RIBA Part 3 Exemption).
Now working as an Architect for Pinnegar Hayward Design LLP, Amy was awarded the Activism award after fighting for inclusive design and issues close to her heart. The graduate’s determination to be an advocate for inclusive design stems from her own ill health, with multiple severe chronic illnesses and disabilities.
BCU alumna Laura Mvula, who graduated with a BMus (Hons) in Composition in 2008, was nominated for her third consecutive Mercury Prize thanks to her new album Pink Noise.
Talented illustration alumna Morgan Grice recently launched her very own stationery business ‘Odd Orange’.
The graduate, who worked with BCU’s BSEEN programme, which offers students and recent graduates a start-up package to turn their business idea into reality, decided to launch her own business just months after graduating, whilst she was already enjoying a successful freelance career.
Alumni of the Year recipient Rebecca Struthers was featured in the New York Times last year talking about her career so far. Rebecca studied Horology at BCU, before completing an MA in History of Art and Design.
BCU Alumna @DrStruthers has been featured in the New York Times talking about her career and upcoming book 'Hands of Time: A Watchmaker’s History' ⌚— BCU Alumni (@BCUAlumni) September 8, 2021
Rebecca studied Horology at @SoJ_BCU before completing an MA in History of Art and Design 🎓
Read the article here 👇 https://t.co/QExPYGXLug
Alumna Charlotte Bray talked to BBC’s Woman’s Hour to discuss the world premiere of ‘Crossing Faultline’s’ a song cycle commissioned about women’s experiences in the workplace.
Charlotte graduated from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire in 2006 and received the prestigious Alumni of the Year award in 2014.
Tune in to @BBCWomansHour tomorrow morning to listen to BCU Alumna @composerbray discuss her new song cycle about women in the workplace.— BCU Alumni (@BCUAlumni) October 18, 2021
Charlotte graduated from @BirmCons in 2006 and received the prestigious Alumni of the Year award in 2014 🎓https://t.co/4neFnYYVV3
Acting alumna Hester Ruoff has recently celebrated being nominated for a BAFTA.
Hester, who graduated in 2003, worked as a Producer on the film ‘Boiling Point’ and has been nominated in the ‘Outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer’ category at this year’s awards alongside the film’s writer James Cummings.
Aida Fofana and Natalia Parzygnat
BCU Journalism graduate Aida Fofana won Best Podcast at last year’s Broadcast Journalism Training Council awards, and fellow alumna Natalia Parzygnat was awarded runner up in the Short Social Video category.
Amazing news from @BCUJournalism alumni! 🥳 @AidaFofanaa won Best Podcast and @NParzygnat got runner up in the Short Social Video category at the #BJTCAwards 🏆— BCU Alumni (@BCUAlumni) November 9, 2021
Congratulations both! 👏#IAMBCU https://t.co/JNAjqEnh6q
BCU alumna Shona Brownlee was named RAF Sportswoman of the year after recovering from a below the knee amputation and becoming an athlete. Shona graduated in BMus (Hons) from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire before joining the RAF.
Congratulations to BCU alumna Shona Brownlee who has been named RAF Sportswoman of the year after recovering from a below the knee amputation and becoming an athlete! 👏— BCU Alumni (@BCUAlumni) November 26, 2021
Shona graduated in BMus (Hons) from @BirmCons before joining the RAF 🎓
Read more 👇https://t.co/XfEL05tiK3
Photography graduate Maryam Wahid currently has her first major solo exhibition on display at the Midlands Art Centre (MAC) in Birmingham.
The exhibition is Maryam’s first major photographic exhibition following her success as an expert on the Great British Photography Challenge in 2021, alongside being awarded ‘Portrait of Britain 2021’ by the British Journal of Photography, an award she also received in 2018.
After graduating with a BSc (Hons) in Paramedic Science in 2020, Mahdiyah Bandali represented Paramedics at the Royal Carol Service in Westminster Abbey in late 2021.
Wow! 🤩 Check out BCU Alumna @HijabiParamedic representing Paramedics at the Royal Carol Service in Westminster Abbey 👏— BCU Alumni (@BCUAlumni) December 10, 2021
Mahdiyah graduated from BCU in 2020 with a BSc (Hons) in Paramedic Science 🎓 https://t.co/NegWh8OavQ
BCU alumna Neelam Dhansey’s hard work as a Registered Nursing Associate in Critical Care at Heartlands Hospital in Birmingham was shown in ‘We Are England’ on BBC One. Neelam graduated as a Nursing Associate in 2020.
BCU grad @NeelamDhansey's hard work as a Registered Nursing Associate in Critical Care at Heartlands Hospital in Birmingham was shown in #WeAreEngland on @BBCOne last night. Watch it now on @BBCiPlayer! 👏— BCU Alumni (@BCUAlumni) February 3, 2022
Neelam graduated as a Nursing Associate from @TNA_BCU in 2020 🎓 https://t.co/pzgNgB21OH