Vice Chancellor's Student Leader Award

Congratulations to our recent graduates who have won the Vice Chancellor's Student Leader Awards for 2022.

These awards aim to recognise, celebrate, and reward exceptional contributions to Anglia Ruskin and to the wider community through participation in extra–curricular activities. Recipients need to have shown exemplary leadership skills and demonstrated that their work has benefitted fellow students, the wider community, and their future employment.

2022 Winners

Sarah Warren

Graduate of the BSc (Hons) Midwifery course

During her time at ARU, Sarah has strived to be a leader as well as an active and passionate member of the study body. Through her ambassador roles, she has been positive and passionate about ARU and an authentic student voice for potential students. Delivering presentations at Open Days and outreach events, Sarah has developed her public speaking skills and received excellent feedback from attendees. She also trains her fellow ambassadors to give campus tours. Sarah is actively involved in her community, where she volunteers with her local Beaver Scout Group. She plans and organises events, giving young people the chance to experience activities that may not otherwise be available to them, helping them to learn teamwork, communication, and life-skills. Her extensive voluntary work has led to her receiving the SU gold volunteering award in her first 2 years at ARU and she is striving for her silver award this year. This includes her work with the National Youth Engagement Network, which involved creating webinars and online webinars on sustainability, employability, and mental health for young people during the pandemic. She has also been an active participant in other events, including wrapping presents for elderly people, planting trees, litter picking and fundraising for the Alzheimer’s Society. Sarah also actively promotes the benefits of volunteering to her peers and was a Volunteer Hero, raising awareness of the Volunteer Centre. Sarah is actively involved in all aspects of her course, through her roles as Course Rep, Committee member and Treasurer for the Midwifery Society and Events Co-ordinator for the Friends of MSF Society. This included running online revision sessions and interactive quizzes, a course of Medical French classes and providing feedback to course tutors on behalf of her peers on course-related issues. These activities have helped Sarah develop her confidence in communicating with people especially those in more senior roles. This will prove invaluable in her Midwifery career in her interactions with senior colleagues, consultants, and multi-disciplinary teams to provide the best possible support for the women and babies in her care.

Bethany Miller

Graduate of the BSc (Hons) Paramedic Science course

Bethany has made the most of her time at ARU including being a Faculty Rep for two years and dedicating over 100 hours to a variety of volunteering activities alongside her course. She also worked part time for the Ambulance Service. As a figure skater herself, Bethany set up the Ice-Skating Society to share her passion with others and was its President for two years. She organised face to face and online events as well as coaching to other students to improve their skating. Showing a real talent for leadership and people skills, Bethany is rightly proud of her work on the Sexual Violence campaign alongside other executive committee members. This work has benefited both our students and the wider community through working with local councils and the Police to deliver an effective campaign. She has been a dedicated Ambassador of ARU, including creating student life videos as a social media ambassador, as well as representing her faculty at Open Days, Applicant Days and Clearing events. These engagements have enabled her to develop her confidence in public-speaking, as well has her leadership skills, through organising social meet ups for new students to build their support network and being a reliable and friendly face in her role as a Welcome Buddy. Bethany was nominated for Rep of Year at the SU Awards, where she was described as a “powerhouse” and “a ruthless representative of her students and advocate for all paramedic students.”

Julia Cieslak

Graduate of the BSc (Hons) International Business Management course

Through her roles as a Course Rep and Student Ambassador, Julia has been an excellent role model for her peers and prospective students, demonstrating a strong work ethic and motivation to support students to continue to meet others during the pandemic. As a Student Ambassador, Julia supported a Student Life session for prospective students who do not consume alcohol to inspire students to think beyond the stereotypical university experience and demonstrate university life can be enjoyed by all. She also played a significant part in developing and delivering the first ever FBL Student of the Year Awards. She worked tirelessly on the project to benefit other students and boost morale during the pandemic Julia used the Employability Skills Audit to help her identify where to focus her personal development journey. As a result, she took part in Impact24 which resulted in improved problem solving, negotiation and influencing skills through working on a real-life societal challenge, pitching their idea and ultimately winning the challenge with her team. Outside of ARU, Julia volunteers as the Publicity Officer and Committee Member of her local Cats Protection Branch where she is responsible for producing their newsletter, social media and website, as well as contributing to management decisions of the Committee. In this role, Julia has also raised over £1,500 for the charity through the organisation of several fundraising activities; this was particularly challenging during the pandemic and called on her resilience, perseverance, and adaptability to achieve such an excellent sum. Volunteering and working professionally with a wide range of people have been pivotal in helping Julia secure her first job in charity marketing and she has recently been successful in securing a more senior position, leading the marketing and communications for another local charity.

April Du Geng

Graduate of the MBA Master of Business Administration course

Throughout her time at ARU, April Du Geng sought to create opportunities to challenge herself, develop her confidence and skills, as well as to have fun! Worried about her different cultural background and language skills, she showed determination to break out of her comfort zone to participate in a variety of events and projects to achieve her dream of working in a local UK company after her studies. April Du Geng took part in the UBC Business Challenge to develop her communication skills and captained the first postgraduate team to reach the finals. She also participated in a Student Consult programme where she worked in a multi-disciplinary team to tackle a challenge set by Essex and Cambridgeshire County Councils on Women’s Safety, and she was part of a second team working on the Safer Streets project, providing potential solutions to Essex Police and Essex County Council. During her placement year with the FBL Student Experience Team, April Du Geng used her communication and marketing skills to encourage students to participate in the range of skills and experience activities on offer. In addition to her involvement with extra-curricular activities at ARU, she has also served her local community. This has included collecting leftover food from local schools and shops and delivering them to Jimmy’s Church. She also joined up with other ARU volunteers to make earmuffs and art cards for children with cancer during the pandemic. Through her work as a volunteer, she was recognised as a Cambridge Community Volunteer Hero in 2020.

Ilse Van Der Meijden

Graduate of the BSc (Hons) Events Management course

During her early years at ARU, Ilse took advantage of the range of extra-curricular opportunities on offer, including becoming a Student Ambassador and Course Rep. She was a positive role model to prospective students and school children visiting the campus, and acted as advocate for her fellow students, developing her public speaking, communication, and conflict management skills as a result. Along with other course members, Ilse set up the Events Society to offer something new for her fellow classmates and the wider ARU community, giving her new skills in promotion, stakeholder relations and financial oversight. She also developed her mentoring and coaching skills through her role as a Welcome Buddy and her leadership, teamwork, and negotiation skills from taking part in the Impact24 challenge. With the skills and confidence gained from these activities, Ilse wanted to step out of her comfort zone and challenged herself to further gain new skills by taking on voluntary roles outside of ARU and contributing to her community. As a result, she put herself forward and was elected to her local council, demonstrating leadership in chairing meetings and working strategically on local issues. Additionally, she started a manager role, setting up a foodbank which has been open for a year and is helping more people each week. Ilse is also an active member of the Northstowe Secondary College Volunteer Committee, organising fundraising events for the school. With the connections and skills Ilse has developed, she is confident in her future career prospects and has already been approached and hired by a leading company to join their team.

Riina Posti

Graduate of the BSc (Hons) Events Management course

Being part of a small course encouraged Riina to create opportunities for herself and her course community. Alongside fellow students, she helped to create the Events Society where she held the positions of President in 2020/21 and Treasurer in 2021/22. This enabled her to gain practical experience, network beyond her course and to take part in a wide range of extra-curricular activities. Riina and her colleagues navigated the Society through the pandemic, providing opportunities for students to socialise across faculties and courses, both in person and virtually during lockdowns. Riina stepped outside of her comfort zone to participate in the Impact24 challenge in 2021, working with fellow students previously unknown to her. They worked on challenges set by Cambridge County Council, which enabled her to develop her presentation, problem solving and communication skills which proved beneficial in her studies but also gave her the platform to undertake an internship at Essex County Council. During her summer internship, Riina helped in the planning and communications for a 2- day virtual careers event aimed at young people and adult job seekers. Her workplace mentor described her contribution as “outstanding”, and they extended her internship “as she was doing such a great job”. Riina has been a regular Ambassador for ARU, sharing her experiences and encouraging others to make the most of the wide range of extra-curricular opportunities available to enhance their time at ARU and increase their career prospects. Sharing examples of her involvement in such a wide range of extra-curricular activities and how she has developed her employability skills with employers has resulted in Riina receiving 2 graduate job offers starting this summer.