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Alumni updates

Alternative interview methods

The WhatsApp chat is open with text boxes to represent a conversation between the individuals.
Reaching a wider audience for interviews?

When you think of conducting research interviews, you may think of face to face or telephone, but graduate Dr Taryn Talbott reflects on the use of using Instant Messaging (IM) e.g. WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger, to produce quality qualitative data.

This alternative approach to interviews is discussed in terms of flexibility, accessibility, amount of time required (especially for transcribing), and even the ethical considerations. Taryn examines the implications of this method for a range of audiences and the future of research interviews.

Dr Taryn Talbott graduated from Professional Doctorate in Clinical Psychology in 2019.

Social media links

Time to embrace IM?

Swapping the broadcasting studio for the farm

Beccy is wearing a blue dress in front of a blurred image of a bridge. The words "BBC" and "Rebecca Wood" are displayed.
Beccy is ready to present, wherever the location!

Lockdown has been difficult for us all, but one graduate whose face you may recognise has taken the adjustment in her stride! Beccy Wood, BBC Presenter and Senior Broadcast Journalist has changed her work location from the studio in Birmingham to a friend’s farm in the Cheshire countryside.

Experiencing the change in scenery has led to Beccy developing skills she never expected (such as milking cows), a greater understanding of farm life and a deeper appreciation of the hard work farmers do on a daily basis.

Rebecca Wood graduated from MA Broadcast Journalism in 2006.

Social media links

Read more about the experience

Two-time Graduate and Prime Minister of Kosovo

Avdullah Hoti looks into the camera, wearing a blue suit and glasses.
Professor Avdullah Hoti, the new Prime Minister of Kosovo.

With an MA in Economics for Business Analysis in 2002 followed by a PhD in Economics in 2007, Professor Avdullah Hoti is now the new Prime Minister of the Kosovan government.

After graduating Avdullah returned to Kosovo, and from there his career path took him from working at the University of Prishtina, to Deputy Mayor of Prishtina, Minister of Finance, Deputy Prime Minister, and eventually the position of Prime Minister. He faces daunting challenges ahead dealing with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, restarting the economy and resuming negotiations with Serbia to end centuries of conflict.

Avdullah Hoti graduated from PhD in Economics in 2007.

Social media links

Read more on his time with Staffordshire University and his current role here

Edufuturists Live with Genelle Aldred

Genelle looks into the camera smiling, wearing a bright yellow top.
Genelle Aldred; MA Broadcast Journalism graduate and Creative Strategist.

Our Broadcast Journalism graduate Genelle Aldred was a recent guest on the Edufuturists podcast (By educators for educators) to discuss topics, under the headline ‘Communicate for Change’, ranging from from Covid-19, education and curriculum, social justice, and even eyebrows!

From a young age Genelle engaged with stories- the different narratives brought on by differing views and her curiosity of what inspired each account. Fiction or non-fiction, the captivation was always based on the question “How do people communicate?”

For Genelle, journalism is the “voice of the people”, and identifies the importance of journalism in the current situation. Whether you need motivation, a chance to learn, or some really useful pointers to provoke questions to yourself about your own opinions - this podcast is a must listen.

Genelle Aldred graduated from MA Broadcast Journalism in 2008.

Social media links

Watch and listen to the podcast here

At the heart of Health Care

Abbi is smiling whilst holding up a sign with a rainbow on with the word "Biomedical Science Day, 11 June 2020, #AtTheHeartOfHealthCare".
Abbi Jablonski-Davies: Applied Biomedical Science graduate and Associate Practitioner in Microbiology and Virology.

With a degree in Applied Biomedical Science, Abbi Jablonski-Davies became a permanent member of University Hospitals of North Midlands in 2019 as an Associate Practitioner in Microbiology and Virology.

Manually processing a variety of samples for detection, identification and reaction of organisms, Abbi is at the forefront when making a difference to a patient’s health. When Covid-19 began, they were given the opportunity to closely examine the virus, and with new adaptions to the work environment, Abbi continues to help keep us safe.

Abbi Jablonski-Davies graduated from BSc (Hons) Applied Biomedical Science in 2019.

Social media links

Read more on Abbi's story here!

Sales manager, and beyond!

Neil Harrison looking into the camera with a plain blue background behind him.
Graduate Neil Harrison, the Sales Manager in KM Tools Limited!

Congratulations to graduate Neil Harrison on his recent appointment as Sales Manager in KM Tools Limited!

Bringing a wealth of experience from his HNC in Engineering (Mechanical and Manufacturing) to his experience in acquiring and maintaining machine service contacts – he will be facing new engineering and sales challenges that we are certain he’ll meet head on.

Read more on his new role and experiences below!

Neil Harrison graduated from HNC Engineering (Mechanical & Manufacturing) in 1990.

Social media links

Read more here!

The tools to become a better ally

Jason is wearing a red bandanna around his neck with a pink and purple jumpsuit. Sassify Zine is written in the top right corner, and two copies of the Sassify Magazine are in the bottom left.
Time to Sassify!

After graduating in 2010 with a 2:1 in BSc (Hons) Policing and Criminal Investigation, Jason had not dreamt of speaking on a large platform such as TEDx, until now.

Jason describes his journey to create a magazine and on TEDx, "Almost 10 years later I have founded Sassify magazine. A Not-For-Profit queer culture print magazine. We luxuriate in queer art and sassiness. Through Sassify I was asked to give a TEDx talk back in February 2020. What a thrill it was to be on stage, and six months of preparation were over in 15 minutes.

Initially I was really apprehensive about watching it back. Worried on a superficial level about what I will look like, but also concerned about what the public would make of my talk. ‘Queer art is not just for queer people’, is challenging, it is divisive but most of all inclusive and educational.

Art can be therapeutic and queer art challenges and represents people and spaces that often get overlooked. Especially now in a time of crisis where we have time to learn and grow. I hope that the talk gives everyone the tools to become a better ally both within and outside of the LGBTQ+ community."

Jason Kattenhorn graduated from BSc (Hons) Policing and Criminal Investigation in 2010.

Social media links

Watch the TEDx talk here!

Lights! Camera! Prickly Peach Films!

Lauren is standing behind and operating a large camera.
Award-wining graduate Lauren Burnham set up Prickly Peach Films with her business partner Emily Kirkham

The Royal Television Society (RTS) Student Television Awards acknowledge promising new talent across the region, and our graduate Lauren won two (Short Form, and Craft: Camera) for her graduate film, Night Hopper. If this wasn’t enough, Lauren had also been shortlisted for two other awards!

Lauren and her business partner Emily Kirkham continue to shine with their production company business, Prickly Peach Films – Specialising in promotional content from adverts to music videos.

With support and funding from Staffordshire University’s Be Inspired programme,  (part funded by the European Regional Development Fund), Prickly Peach work on varied projects across the region.

Lauren’s advice for graduate filmmakers is, “I think it's super important once you leave university as a filmmaker of any kind to never stop creating. It's easy to let the months after graduation roll by while you're trying to figure out your life and financial plan. But when you can, try your best to make the time to go back to your roots of film production. Keep trying to push your ability in any way you can.”

Lauren Burnham graduated from BA (Hons) Advertising, Film and Video Production in 2019.

Social media links

Prickly Peach Films

Coronavirus, CGI

The coronavirus is within an empty train, the writing on the train windows say "Stay Home" and "Save Lives".
Stay home. Save lives.

Graduates Denis Shpakov and Josh Antonio (BSc (Hons) Visual Effects and Concept Design, 2018) teamed up with current students Nick Dimou (BSc (Hons) CGI and Visual Effects) and Ethan MacKenzie (BSc (Hons) CGI and Visual Effects) to create a Coronavirus message using the art of CGI.

Denis states, “It has always been sad to witness a staggering number of people neglecting the importance and seriousness of the situation around the coronavirus breakout.

That is what pushed me to create this project in a hope to deliver the message and raise the awareness to a wider audience through a form of art of CGI. I was very fortunate to be in a position to lead a team of like-minded and extremely talented individuals to produce what you see on your screens.

In addition, I wanted to thank Staffordshire University for providing an excellent infrastructure support for both their current students and alumni. I have sacrificed all of my after hours and weekends for the last few weeks for a greater cause for the society and I would highly appreciate any of your support. Thank you!”

Denis Shpakov graduated from BSc (Hons) CGI and Visual Effects in 2019.

Social media links

Watch the full video here!

Capturing the watercolours

Geoffrey is sitting at the docks, painting the landscapes full of boats and seagull using watercolours.
Picture of Geoffrey obtained from Tutt' Art.

Graduate Geoffrey Wynne, member of the “Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours”, relays his story from a child born in Stoke-On-Trent to capturing the beauty of Spain.

Describing himself as an “Open-air impressionist watercolour painter”, Geoffrey has won many awards, featured in magazines such as “Pratique des Arts” and has truly explored the medium of watercolour painting.

If you are interested in finding out more, read his story below:

Geoffrey Wynne graduated from BA (Hons) Fine Art in 1985.

Social media links

His story


The promotional poster of Muchafara. Two women sitting down, with one woman hugging the other.

Inspired by her Zimbabwean roots, Staffordshire University graduate Patience Chitiyo produced a ten-minute psychological drama which trails a young Zimbabwean woman after the loss of her child at birth.

You can read more about Patience’s journey after Staffordshire University in the link below, including her nomination for Best Director at the BEFFTA award and how to watch the incredible film, Muchafara.

Patience Chitiyo graduated from BA (Hons) Experimental Film Productions in 2015.

Social media links

Read more at Newzimbabwe

Ivy and Ginger

A green pair of Ivy and Ginger Wooden earrings.
One example of the cute designs from Ivy and Ginger!

If you read BeffShuff – The fashionable journo, you may have seen their post on “Five female-owned handmade earring brands you need to check out”, included in this list is Staffordshire University Graduate Nicky!

Nicky is the owner of Ivy and Ginger, the wooden based jewellery brand in Staffordshire!

If you love jewellery, go check the link below to read more about Ivy and Ginger, or check out Ivy and Ginger on Instagram to see Nicky’s incredible creations!

Nicky Platt graduated from BA (Hons) 3D Design: Crafts in 2012.

Social media links

Ivy and Ginger on BeffShuff

In-house Potter

Emma stares into the camera with a large smile.

Since graduating from Staffordshire University in 2015, Emma has qualified as a solicitor and works in-house.  She stumbled across a few hurdles along the way and almost didn't pursue a legal career. That is until she discovered in-house, re-igniting her passion for law.

'In-house Potter is a passion project- I want to help as many law students as possible,' Emma says. 'Many spend years doubting their abilities when faced with the world of law. I want to ensure that they have accurate information on the in-house route- something that isn't easily accessible at the minute.'

'When I think about my years studying, I remember key points in which individuals shared their experiences and helped me to achieve each milestone in law. I'd like to pay this forward by offering my support to those who aren't sure whether they fit the mould, just as I didn't back then.'

Emma Lilley graduated from LLB (Hons) Law in 2015.

Social media links

Find out more about Emma here!

One Last Shot

Stephen is holding up all three of the books in his series.

After five years writing the trilogy, the final book of the series is out now, written by Social Studies alumnus Stephen Anthony Brotherton.

From the author… The Shots trilogy is based on a first love relationship I had as a teenager. It tells the story of Freddie and Jo-Jo, who are reunited in a coffee shop three decades after the end of their teenage romance. How they originally met, why they parted, what happens in their lives apart, and what happens when they reunite is all told through a series of first-person vignettes.’

Stephen who retired last April, had worked as head of commissioning for Wolverhampton Council, managed a care home for Shropshire Council and was a senior manager in adult social care for Worcestershire County Council. He says he has already started his next project,

“I’ve been doing some research on my family tree and it has turned up some interesting characters. I’m going to fictionalise three of them and bring them back to life through my stories.”

You can get the book from the Amazon link below!

Stephen Brotherton graduated from BA (Hons) Applied Social Studies in 1998.

Social media links


Slammin' Sandwiches!

A menu of the different food and drinks options available.
The amazing food and drinks available at The Slamwich Club.

The Slamwich Club - A Stoke-On-Trent local business run by alumna Nicole.

With a reduced menu, single customer order collection at the store and ‘No contact’ delivery to a max of 3 miles, they are putting the care of their staff and customers as a priority!

To show their dedication to the community, they are offering all NHS staff/Social Workers/Carers and Emergency Services get FREE DELIVERY and 30% DISCOUNT!

It is incredible seeing our alumni business do their best to keep going in these difficult times! If you can, go support them!

Nicole Williamson graduated from BA (Hons) Modern History and Media Studies in 2012.

Social media links

The Slamwich Club