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Alumni updates

Octogenarian inventor joins the fight against COVID-19

Derek smiles into the camera with his arms crossed in front of him. The wall behind has graphic lightbulb designs.
"As soon as coronavirus began and I heard they were using gowns, aprons and visors just the once then throwing them away I thought why don’t I, as a volunteer, try and do something about it." - Derek Wardle

At 82 years young Derek Wardle recently completed a PhD at Staffordshire University in Mechanical Engineering, adding to his degree in Business in 1992 and an MSc Engineering in 2009 at Staffordshire University.

Derek is a perpetual inventor and decided to hit back at the pandemic investigating possible ways of sterilising PPE so that it may be reused at least once more and conducted experiments at home using household items including his wheelie bin and an old tumble dryer!

His ambition is to make these methods widely available to sterilise PPE for NHS staff and he is now hoping to work with an independent lab on further testing.

Derek, from Trentham in Stoke-on-Trent, said: “I thoroughly enjoyed doing the PhD - it opened up a whole new world. If you have the chance, at any age, and you’ve got ambition to get a degree, then come to Staffs University.”

Derek Wardle graduated from PhD Mechanical Engineering in 2020.

Social media links

Read more on Derek and his new methods of sterilising PPE here

We Are Out There - Animal rescue documentary

Jonathan Eley is looking into a camera that is filming an unknown entity off screen to the right.
Jonathan Eley during filming of 'We Are Out There'

We Are Out There, a documentary by Staffordshire University graduates Isaac Jones Robinson and Jonathan Eley, is being showcased at the online London Lift-Off Film Festival in December 2020.

Set in southern Spain, their documentary ‘We Are Out There’ follows a retired British couple who started up an association that rescues abandoned and abused animals.

Isaac said: “I can’t put into words how excited I am. It’s an honour that we are sharing the hard work of the Association de Animales de Berja and more people will see what Gill and Mick do. From the minute they wake up to the minute they go to sleep they are constantly putting the animals before themselves.”

During their studies, Isaac and Jonathan also created a six-part documentary looking into the global plastic crisis, which is set to be released in early 2021, and the pair hope this will provide a platform for them to work in the film industry.

“One of the most valuable things taught to us by our lecturers when we created a project, was to get it out there to the masses, share it in festivals, social media, anywhere. Get your skills out there for people to see and make your mark on the industry.” - Isaac

Isaac Jones Robinson graduated from BSc (Hons) Film Production Technology in 2019.

Social media links

Watch 'We Are Out There'

Time to investigate

Shib and Adam are standing next to each other, staring directly into the camera, a cityscape behind them.
After meeting on their course, Shib and Adam founded popular app Unrd

Advertising and Brand Management graduates Adam Lowe and Shib Hussain are co-founders of Unrd, an interactive app that allows users to watch a story unfold in real-time through messages, social media and videos. One of their previous stories, Freshers, even featured our very own Staffordshire University and featured locations around the Stoke-on-Trent campus.

And now, they have released a new story: Ghosted. Unrd have partnered with MTV – specifically the reality series “Ghosted: Love Gone Missing”, to create this immersive mobile story of ghosting.

Adam and Shib continue to grow their company, providing real-time entertainment through immersive crime, romance, and horror stories.

Shib Hussain graduated from Advertising and Brand Management in 2009.

Social media links

Access the story

Inspire a creative future

Daniel and Gary stand apart, between them are tables filled with computers. Behind them are multiple framed art works and posters on the wall.
Daniel Waterman and Gary Carse at their new Campbell Place.

Graduates Daniel Waterman and Gary Carse, animation specialists at Carse and Waterman have formed a partnership with London-based Dreamscape Studios and local company Popcorn Learning Media to develop a creative and digital hub for North Staffordshire.

The new complex on Campbell Place, Stoke, features Framescape, a digital and creative hub to be run as a not for profit community asset to benefit young people in the city. The creative and digital skills hub, situated on the ground floor together with a classroom and a 17-seat film viewing room, will be accessible to anyone with ambitions of a creative industries career.

“Stoke-on-Trent was a powerhouse of the first industrial revolution and we’re determined to raise aspirations and make the city part of the new digital revolution,” said Daniel Waterman.

“We see the new development as having multiple level benefits for the city,” said Daniel. “There’s a regeneration element, in that we want to breathe new life into Stoke High Street and renovate a large, disused building. It is also a headquarters for our company, provides production space for Dreamscape and the digital skills hub will focus on raising aspirations and signposting our city’s young people towards potential careers.

During lockdown, we launched a collaboration with the city’s YMCA to talk about digital skills and we hope that’s just the start. All young people have digital skills nowadays and we want them to think how they can harness them to build a good career.”

Daniel Waterman and Gary Carse graduated from BA Hons Design: Animation in 2011.

Social media links

Carse & Waterman Productions

New website, new branding

An iPad showcases the Chloe Breeze Illustration website, with flowers dotted around the iPad and a digital pen.
Snippet of the new Chloe Breeze Illustration website!

With a degree in Illustration, a love of all things creative, and a sense of fun, our graduate Chloe Breeze has given her website a refresh to show case her new style and amazing projects!

From personalised prints, alternative maps, to even customised murals for the home, Chloe provides a range of unique gifts for yourself or someone you care about. The new website revamp makes it easier to search for that special something, with added collection and delivery options, and even a choice of gift boxes. The update does not stop there either, with future plans to create new product photos and lifestyle shots next year!

We can’t wait to see all the art Chloe creates! Head to her Instagram to get more insights and sneak peaks into our brilliantly talented alum!

Chloe Breeze graduated from BA (Hons) Illustration in 2016.

Social media links

Chloe Breeze Illustration and Design

Love of Language, Heritage, and Self

Tanaka is standing in front of wooden panels, wearing a yellow shirt and smiling into the camera.
Meet Tanaka Adeyemo, Founder of Rudorwaishe.

Tanaka Adeyemo, Staffordshire University graduate, mother, wife, and budding businesswoman. After studying Business Management in 2014, Tanaka has taken the leap by starting her own business, Rudorwaishe Ltd.

Inspired by her daughter, Rudorwaishe Ltd creates a variety of products to support the learning of languages such as Yoruba and Shona, with more languages coming soon! The aim of the business is to encourage a reconnection between those of African diaspora and their roots, enable empowerment and support the next generation in developing their sense of self and heritage.

Starting with flashcards, Tanaka plans to include further activities for more interaction and enjoyment for everyone, and we are so excited to see the business grow!


Tanaka Adeyemo graduated from BA (Hons) Business Management in 2014.

Social media links

Rudorwaishe Ltd

Behind the scenes of Hopefully Made

Becky and Hope sitting next to each other smiling, a forest behind them.
From sharing accommodation to sharing a business.

Graduates Becky Rawlins and Hope Gwilliam became friends on day one of Staffordshire University, the same accommodation and even the same course! In third year they decided they were a good team and took the next step by creating a creative business together. After graduating, they moved to Shropshire, found a job together and spent every spare minute in their studio.

Now, their eco-friendly company, Hopefully Made, produces hand screen printed gifts. Beautiful designs that are dreamt, illustrated, and created by them - Making every item one of a kind.

Hope Gwilliam graduated from BA (Hons) Surface Pattern Design in 2018.

Social media links

Hopefully Made

Story of an alumnus

Kevin Hart (Right) is being awarded a certificate.

Alumnus Kevin Hart details his first day as a student, his present day work, and tips for future alumni:

“I accidentally stumbled upon the opportunity to study for an MA in Strategic Human Resource Management whilst serving in the Royal Air Force. Being involved in several projects to advance and expand the human capability programmes of the RAF, I received an email advertising the collaboration of the MOD and Staffordshire University. I attended what I thought was a student discovery day. It was the first day of the course and the next two years is history. Apart from meeting my wife, this is the best decision of my life and I haven't looked back.

After eighteen-years, I left the military and started my own business. Three years ago, I joined Investors in Excellence Ltd and now I'm working globally as the MD and Programme Director to develop, improve, and grow businesses. I'm smitten by the research bug and currently researching a formula for excellence to innovate and invigorate businesses globally.

Continuing Professional Development is essential to keep you focused, relevant, resilient, and always forward-looking. Keep shaping and sharpening your future today.”

Kevin Hart graduated from MA Strategic Human Resource Management in 2013.

Social media links

Investors in Excellence website

Sweet campus romance

David is wearing a blue suit and smiling into the camera whilst holding Jo. Jo with one foot up is looking to the ground. Behind them is a city.
To the happy couple! Jo is wearing a traditional “Baba & Nyonya” outfit for a Malaysian ceremony.

When we hear of a campus romance, our hearts flutter, even more so when it becomes a marriage! Congratulations to Jo Lynn Chan and David Wong!

Jo, a Malaysian graduate and David, a Dutch graduate, had the incredible chance to meet at our Staffordshire University Stoke-On-Trent Campus in 2014 whilst studying BA (Hons) International Business Management. Although they may have been in separate countries after graduating, Jo’s favourite quote speaks volume:

“1 universe, 9 planets, 204 countries, 809 islands, 7 seas, and I had the privilege of meeting you.”

Jo Lynn Chan and David Wong graduated from BA (Hons) International Business Management in 2015.

Social media links

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!