‘Virtual’ ceremonies celebrate the Class of 2021

Thu 22 July, 2021
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A host of virtual ceremonies are taking place today and tomorrow (22nd and 23rd of July) to mark the successes of the University of Bedfordshire’s students.

Family and friends will cheer on remotely as those who have completed their degrees pull on their glad rags, raise a toast and congratulate each other on their respective achievements. Each ceremony will give deserved recognition and celebration to students across the University’s four faculties.

On Thursday, graduands will become graduates for the Faculty of Creative Arts, Technology and Science, the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences and the Faculty of Education and Sport. On Friday, ceremonies are held for the Business School and further Education and Sport students.

As in 2020, the University has put safety first in the face of Covid-19 and the Class of 21 are graduating virtually, with hopes to hold in-person events when large-scale events are safer for those attending.

Vice Chancellor Professor Rebecca BuntingFor everybody graduating Professor Rebecca Bunting, Vice Chancellor, has a special message:

“Looking back to your first days at the University I’m sure you will recognise how much you have changed since then, not just in terms of your knowledge and skills but personally too. You have grown and developed, and now you are ready for the next steps. Be ambitious and bold, achieve remarkable things in your lives, make a difference in all you do.

“My very best wishes to you all for a happy and fulfilling life. Many congratulations and welcome to the community of graduates of the University of Bedfordshire.”

Seven students graduating this week shared their thoughts on joining this community; from the obstacles provided by the pandemic to the sky-high aspirations that come with being on the cusp of graduation, it has been an incredible journey for everybody.

Click on each name to read their Beds story:

Megan MurphyI am feeling really overwhelmed but excited to be graduating this week. My past three years at Beds have flown by and I can't believe that's me finished already. After graduation I'm taking a year out to complete lots of work experience and internships in the media industry and hopefully attain a job off the back of that. Currently, my long-term goal would be to work for a national broadcaster – I did a lot of news-based work on Radio LaB this year and I'd love to pursue it as a career in the future.

Completing my degree in a pandemic has not been easy, but I have surprised myself with the quality of work I have been able to produce and the fact that despite the pandemic, I will still be graduating with First Class Honours is really special to me. I would like to thank all of the teaching staff from the School of Culture and Communications as without your enthusiasm, I don't think I would've fell in love with the course as much as I did.

A special thanks also to Terry Lee, for all the support this past year with Radio LaB during my time as Student Manager. I'm looking forward to the virtual ceremonies this week to celebrate all our successes with my course mates and teaching staff. 

Dylan CoxI feel honoured to be able to graduate with the Class of 2021, it has been an extremely difficult few years and I am proud to be able to say we all made it through. I am currently doing my exec year as the Co-Vice President of Beds SU alongside my masters or research, which will hopefully progress onto my doctorate.

My biggest accomplishment during my undergraduate degree is having one of my papers published in the Springer academic journal. I would like to thank Dr Vitaly Schetinin for supporting me and pushing me to excel throughout my degree. Alongside the academic side of university, I have made countless friends through social activities such as nights out and societies as well as people with similar interests as me in regards to competitive bodybuilding.

Emily SmithCompleting my degree at the University of Bedfordshire has been an unforgettable, gratifying experience that has enabled me to recognise and develop my strengths and abilities.

It has helped me to discover exciting opportunities where learning about language has encouraged me to pursue a pathway into speech and language therapy – a career which provides life-changing treatment and care for those with oral motor difficulties. This means I have the option to complete a postgraduate course or apprenticeship degree in speech and language therapy, or possibly look to gain further knowledge and experience of the role by working in a relevant healthcare sector.

Although finishing a degree during the Covid-19 pandemic was not always easy, it brought a new, interesting facet to university life in which we as students had to navigate a new way of communicating online, which will only benefit us when entering a world of employment that heavily relies on digital technology. However, the feeling of community was not lost during my time at university, and the best part of my experience was the friendships and connections I was able to make, as well as the sense of accomplishment I felt when reaching goals I never dreamed I could attain.

Therefore, I am very much looking forward to celebrating my achievements with friends and family at my virtual graduation, and I can confidently say that I am looking positively towards the future thanks to my university and the lecturers that supported and encouraged me through these academic years.

Loretta AskewMy university years have gone so quick and I can’t believe I’m graduating! It doesn’t feel real, yet at the same time I’m like ‘I'm done, I’ve finished uni, this is really happening’.

Since handing in my last assignment so much has happened already. I've got an agency for the acting side of my career and I’m now a business partner for FPV drone promotional videos with weissenmedia. My goals for the future is to hopefully get work through my agency, weissenmedia to be successful and I want to start working with production companies on set locally, starting as a runner and hopefully just climbing the ladder from there. 

It’s so weird for me to look back at my uni years and think I spent half of them in a pandemic and the struggles we all faced throughout that. The unknown of what was around the corner, one week were allowed on campus and the next we weren’t.

But the support from all my teachers and friends helped us all get through it and make it to the end. Rachel Clark, Maria Wiener and Chloe McKinlay have been amazing during my years at University of Bedfordshire, they were more than teachers and really cared about not only wanting the best from me academically but helped me to grow in myself.

I do hope that sometime in the future I get to properly celebrate with my University family and what we all have achieved. 

Martha KayPeople always say time flies, and you nod your head passively and agree, but honestly, time has flown by. I remember the first day, slowly edging into the huge lecture room in the Gateway like a lost sheep. Now, 3 years later, I would pay big money to be able to watch myself in that moment, absorbing this new life and embarking on becoming a teacher.

I was very lucky that during the final lockdown, I received a phone call from the Head of my second placement school and she asked me to come back and accept a job offer – which I did with open arms! I love the school and since completing my placement there, I made sure to keep in contact with the teachers and keep the networking strong. I would send the Head an email once every few months, just to let her know I was still thinking of the school, hoping everyone was okay and essentially making myself known – which paid off.

Graduating was never going to be easy. It is a very difficult situation and with the pandemic still rife, especially amongst the younger generation, our graduation remains virtual. I shall join the virtual graduation, head held high, celebrating my First Class, and enjoying whatever moment it will bring from the comfort of my living room (there aren’t many graduations where you can have your dog curled up next to you).

Whilst it has not ended on the best note, the symphony still plays and within my University journey, I like to consider myself a piece of music, whereby the lecturers have all written their own notes, chords and progressions. I would like to thank the Primary Education department for staying steadfast and adapting with the times. I would like to especially mention Karen Tozer, who has provided some of the most stimulating lectures and seminars I have attended. I left feeling inspired and ready to change education. My goal is to one day influence educational policy and become the Secretary of Education (one that people will like). Karen has listened, shaped and enlightened me to the profession and I look forward to working with her to shape and create an improved BA Primary course, which will be irresistible to all aspiring teachers! Thank you Karen for finishing my ‘piece’, you are the first note on the next one. 

As cliché as it may sound, if you asked me if I would go back as a younger Martha and do it all again, without hesitation, I would say yes. 

Laura TamaraI originally enrolled in April 2019, but needed to interrupt my studies in June 2019 to have my baby. By the time I felt ready to return in June 2020 the country was in lockdown and I was home schooling my 8, 6 and 5 year old.

The Business School study was delivered in blocks which enabled me to take short breaks between each unit, so I took the plunge and jumped straight back in. The online learning was a great experience for me and allowed the flexibility I needed to be present for my family whilst studying. With the support of my spouse and great lecturers I excelled, and my self-confidence has increased immensely.

During March 2021 I campaigned and was elected as the Beds SU female Co-President, this is a one year role which creates a platform to ensure student voices are really heard. My studies have taught me it is possible to thrive, even in the midst of adversity. Self-belief is the key – if I did it, I know you can too!

Nekeisha PersaudGraduation has always been exciting time for me and my household. It signifies the reward for all the struggles encountered during one’s studies; a reward for my hard work and late nights.

I am currently a practicing attorney-at-law in Guyana as well as a Legal Officer at a leading banking institution. My aim is to utilise my new qualification to develop myself in my profession.

There were ups and downs to studying during a pandemic, especially in relation to having classes online as opposed to the traditional form of learning. However, with less recreational activities due to Covid-19 measures, I had a lot more time to focus on my studies. The timetable for classes allowed me the opportunity to still work and study without clashes.

My parents have always encouraged me to keep furthering my education and I would always be grateful for their sacrifices and encouragement.

Beds offered an excellent course that was compact, manageable and provided me with a wealth of knowledge to be utilised. The portal was easy to access for me to view materials and submit assignments. I was happy that answers to my queries were always quick and that course directors were accessible and provided quality and constructive comments/feedbacks which were detailed with guidance on how to better my work.

I will definitely be joining the virtual ceremony with my parents.

Guyana discovered oil within the past 5 years. In a short space of time, my country has vastly changed, with continuous growth and development seen in our economy as well as the opening up of new opportunities, the exposure to dynamic businesses, overseas companies and people from around the world. I am very grateful to Beds for offering such a programme that will allow me to access opportunities here in my own country, and to be amongst a limited number of Guyanese that are currently qualified in the field of oil and gas.

As well as reading out graduating students’ names and awarding 27 faculty prizes across the two days of celebrations, the ceremonies are to be filled with well-wishes from the University’s community including Heads of Departments, members of Bedfordshire’s Board of Governors and local VIPs.

One such figure is Helen Nellis, HM Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire, who shared this message: “You are all extraordinary people, having shown your resilience and commitment to facing forward during the most challenging time that we have faced as a world in our lifetime.

“Though undoubtedly it has been the hardest of times, you have proved that you can battle against adversity and come though stronger, with a deeper understanding of yourself and of your fellow human beings.

“My sincere congratulations to you all. Make each day count and make a difference!”

Honorary degree recipients such as the musicians James Bay, Tom Grennan and The Shires have also sent video messages congratulating students, while Radio 1 DJ and Media Performance and Radio alumnus Melvin Odoom shared the following heartfelt advice.


Photos and video highlights from the ceremonies will be available on the University’s Facebook and Instagram feeds.

Students are encouraged to sign up to Bedfordshire’s Alumni platform, allowing them to remain an active part of University life after their studies. For more information, click here.

If you’re interested in applying to the University of Bedfordshire, visit: www.beds.ac.uk/defy-expectations


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