By Robert Wheatley
Students work incredibly hard to complete their degrees, and sometimes balancing work and extra-curricular activities alongside it. It was for this reason that the Dean’s Awards were created, to honor the students that have taken part in social-enterprise, commercial work experience, study abroad programmes, and for those that have excelled in their studies and work.
Nominations for this year’s Dean’s Awards include ‘Outstanding engagement with extracurricular activities’, which recognises a student’s achievement in other areas at university like sports, performing arts and societies; ‘Transformation through work experience’, highlighting a student’s development of key employability skills; and ‘Contribution to the life of the School’, whereby a student has contributed to a cohort or activity within the School of Humanities.
Seven University of Hertfordshire students were nominated across the seven award categories, including Muhammad Islam, the winner of the ‘Impact through charity or community work’ award; Alexandra Anderson, highly commended for the ‘Commitment to global awareness and understanding’ award; Callum Cockerell, as the winner of ‘Transformation through work experience’; and Samantha Sturgess as highly commended for the ‘Contribution to the life of the School’ award.
The Trident managed to catch up with three of the seven award-winners after the ceremony, who detailed their experience achieving their award, how they managed to get nominated, and what it has meant to them.
What was your award category, and what did you do to achieve this award?
Aimone Sharif [Credit: Pete Stevens]
“My award was outstanding academic results with extracurricular activities (something like that; I always forget the name as it’s so long!). In my final year, I studied my joint honours, worked as a sales assistant at the SU shop, worked as an Activator for Active students, was a student representative, and also played Futsal for the University, and acted as a peer mentor and, of course, was Head of Editorial for Trident Media!”
James Cantwell [Credit: Pete Stevens]
“I was nominated for two awards categories. I received a highly commended award for ‘Transformation through work experience’, and a winners award for ‘International awareness and understanding’.”
“Though it is difficult to work or volunteer part-time on top of studying a full-time degree, in the job climate for all of us it is very important to have varied work experience. As a journalist, I think it is significantly important to have as broad a perspective of life as possible – and the best way to have a perspective on life is to live it. Working in different jobs while studying allowed me to do this, but more importantly allowed me to grow as a person. Working as a dementia care assistant, a football referee, a journalist and a producer for BBC and Sky News, and working in the university as a student ambassador and student representative coordinator challenged me to grow and develop as a student and person.
“While studying, I also volunteered in the UH Erasmus Student Exchange Society, which allowed me to put on events and make friends with exchange students at university. Being in the society helped broaden my perspective of life, having friends from different countries, and this inspired me to study abroad. Fortunately, because of my work experience, I was able to study a prestigious course at the Dutch and Danish Schools of Journalism, and report as a journalist from different European countries… studying and working abroad showed me how an international perspective is necessary as well as possible, and has also helped me advise and guide other students to study abroad and do well for themselves.”
Apsatu Mustapha [Credit: Pete Stevens]
“I won in the category ‘Contribution to the life of the School’. I had a very active final-year in terms of my participation within university societies, groups, and projects; I was a peer mentor, a student ambassador for my school, student representative, as well as a participant in the universities BME working group, and I was lucky enough to take part in an international philosophical journal. I believe that my peers and academic staff saw the effort I was making, and put me up for this award!”