Alumni Association Student Awards 2018

Every year, the Convocation and Alumni Association Committee gives awards to students who have made an outstanding contribution, either to the University or the community. The award may also go to students who have overcome personal difficulties during their studies. 

Awards may be given for any field, other than paid work, academic achievement or sport, which is already recognised by the award of Bristol Reds.

The event took place on 6 December 2018 when the Award winners and Award nominees were celebrated. The Award winners each received an award of £500.

Nominations for this year's Awards are now closed.

2018 winners

Spencer Blackwell (BA Music 2018) Faculty of Arts

Proposer: Professor Pauline Fairclough, Professor of Music

As President of the LGBT+ Society Spencer worked with the LGBT+ Network Chair on a programme of highly successful University-wide events. He set up and hosted the Arts and Culture Showcase.

As Chair of the Trans Students Network, Spencer worked with Library Services to produce a Trans Awareness training workshop for University staff. The training has been passed to the EDI department, to be delivered to all staff. Spencer established a community of UoB trans students, running socials and events like the Trans Students Clothing Swaps and Trans-only Swimming sessions.

Spencer played a major role on the NUS Trans Campaign Committee, representing Bristol SU at two NUS conferences and assisting with the NUS response to the NHS Consultation on care for transgender patients.

For Trans Awareness Week 2016, in collaboration with UWE - Spencer organised and hosted a Trans Awareness panel featuring trans students from both Universities talking about their range of experiences. He also helped organise the Trans Day of Remembrance Vigils for both 2016 and 2017.

Spencer ran a Sexual Health week in collaboration with local organisations and charities. He also established safeguarding systems for night-time socials working with the Welfare rep to tackle previous safety and wellbeing issues within the LGBT+ Society. He promoted a welcoming and respectful atmosphere within the LGBT+ Society.

Within the City of Bristol, Spencer has worked as a volunteer on the Trans Pride South West festivals.

Spencer tackles all he does with unshakeable humanity, kindness and a spirit of tolerance and understanding.


Chanté Joseph (BSc Social Policy with Quantitative Research Methods 2018) School for Policy Studies

Proposer: Robiu Salisu, Education Representation Coordinator, Bristol SU

Chanté has worked extremely hard over the past two academic years in her role as the Chair of Student Council and co-chair of the BME Network. She has used her platform and representative role to educate hundreds of students and staff on intricate matters of oppression and race politics, facilitating open yet safe discussions and proving a safe space for marginalised people to air their frustrations and form invaluable solidarity with one another. She launched an online magazine entitled 'Bristol is the New Black' which aims to continue the conversations surrounding race and empowerment of BME people in Bristol.

Chanté successfully lobbied the university for funding throughout 2016/17 for the BME Powerlist Project - to highlight the amazing contribution made by BME people in Bristol. The project was fully delivered as part of the launch for this year's Black History Month with a 100 list publication. There were nearly 500 nominations made and the campaign was promoted in both Bristol 24/7 and Bristol Post. The video developed by Chanté to promote the BME Powerlist was watched by over 6,000 people and reached over 14,000 people, generating lots of positive reactions and c. 500 nominations of BME individuals across the city. The impact and lasting influence that Chanté has had on the institution will be forever noticed through the publication of the BME Powerlist, a resource now publicly available for students, staff and the wider community to see BME role models and their achievements.


Neha Maqsood (MBChB 2016 - ) Bristol Medical School

Proposers: Srishti Jain, Current MSci Physiological Science with Study in Industry student, Andie Lun, Current MBChB student, Kristen Patricia Medalla, Current MBChB student, Arya Sharma, Current BSc Economics and Finance student, Former Faculty Representative of Social Sciences and Law

Neha featured in the Bristol BME Powerlist, as one of the 100 most influential black and minority ethnic people in Bristol.

Neha hosted a radio show on Burst Radio Station highlighting microaggression against international students, declining mental health amongst health sciences students and the need for more women to study STEM subjects. She was awarded Best Specialist Talk Show Award at the Burst Award. Her show was picked for an upcoming project by BBC London Research Team.

Neha is Vice-President of the Bollywood Dance Society and General Secretary of the National Hindu Society. To celebrate South Asian culture she hosted massive events, bringing South Asian students together - providing a safe space for them to meet and embrace their culture as a home away from home during religious events. She is Campaigns Officer for the Women’s Network Bristol SU, where she managed the Reclaim the Night March, where over 300 people marched through Bristol. She has written articles about how she maintains her identity as a Muslim, Pakistani feminist in a Western country.  She was also involved in the Islamophobia Awareness Month.

Neha performed in the Pegg Studio production which raised over £2000 for the One 25 Charity, and in a Bristol PEN's production, which raised money for writers who have been exiled into hiding.

In Pakistan, Neha worked with Sharmeen Obaid, the Oscar winning documentary film maker; with the Women Action Forum, which provides legal advice to women who are victims of domestic abuse and the Citizens Archive of Pakistan. She has also worked with the Pixel Perfect Films Production House to shoot the national ad on women’s empowerment for the 71st Independence Day of Pakistan.  She starred in the 2018 film, Sister in Arms, which is currently being shown at international film festivals all over the world.


Sophie Stevens (PhD 2015 - ) School of Mathematics

Proposer: Joe Allen, PhD Mathematics student

Sophie has shown an unparalleled commitment to communicating mathematics during her postgraduate studies at Bristol. She proactively seeks opportunities to bring mathematics to new audiences -- spanning all backgrounds and age groups. Furthermore, she has helped to create an active group of staff members and postdoctoral researchers, excited to follow in her footsteps.

On top of her PhD studies, Sophie has been a leading participant in diverse public engagement and outreach activities. She has translated her own research into worksheets, designed to be freely available to school-aged children in Bristol Central library. She has given outreach talks in local schools, explaining areas of mathematics not seen on the curriculum, and providing a different perspective on mathematics. She has organised stalls at Cheltenham Science Festival and at We the Curious, engaging the public with mathematical experiments, games and puzzles. She has a fantastic knack for making esoteric or technical concepts readily digestible. She makes her audience share her vision of maths as a fun, exciting, evolving, creative topic.

Sophie is active in organising the 'mathematics communication' group within the Maths department, ensuring that her fervour for engagement will continue after her graduation. She is the driving force for a mixed team of staff and student researchers who collaborate on devising and presenting engagement activities.

Sophie is an inspirational figure, enthusiastic, dedicated, supportive and wonderfully inventive. She is generous with her love for, and profound knowledge of, mathematics and now, there are hundreds of people out there who see more in mathematics than unfathomable symbols and rote memorisation, thanks to Sophie.


Lydia Wilkinson (BSC 2016 - ) School of Biological Sciences

Proposers: Dr Emily Bell, Senior Teaching Associate, School of Biological Sciences, Professor Claire Grierson, Head of School of Biological Sciences, Professor Richard Wall, Professor of Zoology, School of Biological Sciences

In 2017, Lydia experienced a horrific personal loss when her mum and younger brother were murdered in her family home whilst she was away at university. Her dad was also attacked but survived his injuries. Lydia then had to cope with the subsequent trial, whilst also trying to deal with her own personal grief.

In what is a huge testament to Lydia's strength of character, she started fundraising for Birmingham Children's Hospital within months, to give back to the place where her younger brother was treated after the attack. In her own words, she would like ‘…their legacy to reflect how giving and loved they were, not the circumstances in how they passed away’. She has already raised thousands of pounds and was nominated for a Pride of Britain award this year for her fantastic efforts, which included running a half marathon. She has blown us all away with her continued positive attitude to life and determination to help others, whilst also remaining completely committed to her studies. She is not only a high-achiever, but also a wonderful, supportive friend to many fellow students in the School. We are also aware that she is a brilliant daughter to her lovely dad. We could not speak more highly of her; she is an inspiration to us, and we are extremely proud of her.