Volunteer Awards 2019
Meet this year's outstanding volunteers and discover how they're changing our world
The University's annual Volunteer Awards celebrate the outstanding contributions our alumni, staff and community volunteers make to the University and the wider world. Discover the inspiring individuals who were recognised in this year's awards, and find out how they make the extraordinary possible for students and researchers alike.
Alumni Volunteer of the Year
Emily Seto (Clinical Microbiology, 2016) is this year's Alumni Volunteer of the Year. Emily is one of our most active ambassadors – an incredible accolade, particularly when you consider she only graduated three years ago.
Her enthusiasm for Nottingham is infectious and she seeks out every opportunity to inspire both students and graduates. She's incredibly busy working for NASA, however continues to give her time as a student recruitment ambassador and careers speaker.
University of Nottingham Volunteers of the Year
For the last three years Martin Austin has coached the University’s Wheelchair Basketball Club free of charge. He has committed over 250 voluntary hours of support - running weekly sessions and coaching at Varsity and the University Championships.
Martin provides specialist advice to University of Nottingham Sport Staff on sports wheelchairs and equipment, and has mentored student coaches and players. His invaluable support of both students and staff has been instrumental in the development of wheelchair sport at the university.
Sharing the honour this year is Stephen Hadfield, a fellow sports volunteer. Stephen has been volunteering as an instructor with the university's Sub Aqua Society for as long as anyone can remember - regularly giving his time, and even paying costs to enable members of the club to learn to scuba dive.
Since retiring a few years ago, Stephen has continued to give his time any day of the week to be of assistance and has personally made sure that students have the equipment and training needed to complete their courses.
Community Volunteer of the Year
The Music and Memories Choir
Our first Community Group award goes to the Music and Memories Choir volunteers. This compassionate group of volunteers support people with dementia and their carers, ensuring they have an enjoyable time in a singing group led by professional musicians. The volunteers welcome people, engage them in conversation and see that they find their way to each session.
This gives family carers a chance to relax and enjoy the singing as well. Several of the singing group members featured in the recent BBC documentary 'Our Dementia Choir with Vicky McClure'.
Our individual Community Award goes to anti-Female Genital Multilation (FGM) campaigner Valentine Nkoyo. Valentine has supported the University's Rights Lab by assisting with research bids around FGM and has helped provide over 20 internships for students. She has also taken part in “Nottingham In Parliament” - which included a debate on FGM that took place in a House of Commons committee room and received significant press coverage.
Alongside this, Valentine is also a lay member of the Research Ethics Committee in the School of Politics and International Relations.
Special Recognition Award
Emily regularly gives her time to teach our student nurses, interview for programmes across the School and promote inclusion and widening participation. Emily was named as one of the "top 50 learning disabled leaders in work and education" category and states that volunteering has had a huge impact on her life. She's also the only woman with Down’s syndrome to be published in the British Medical Journal and judge for The Nursing Times.
Longstanding Volunteer Awards
Each year we also recognise alumni and community volunteers who've given their time consistently to support students, professional services staff and researchers over a period of three years or more. This year we celebrate the following exceptional individuals:
Yasmin Ali (Chemical Engineering, 2010) is a unique and inspiring individual whose life has been all about supporting other people wanting to enter STEM careers. Yasmin is a wonderful ambassador for the University, having supported the Faculty of Engineering for several years. She was a mentor on the University’s recent Inspiring Women in Engineering programme and an outstanding guest speaker at the Chemical and Environmental Engineering Dinner.
Ed Tarlton (Psychology, 2011) has dedicated a great deal of time to supporting the University’s Men’s Health Active Campaign. He attended the launch as part of a guest panel alongside Olympian and fellow alumnus Etienne Stott, and the University’s Head of Campus Life Andy Winter. In addition, Ed has developed and run two Mental Health Awareness Sessions for the Men’s Football Club. In May 2018, Ed also supported Welfare in Sport’s inaugural Men’s Mental Health Awareness Football Tournament.
Recent graduate Aymun Khan (Mechanical Engineering, 2019) continues to go above and beyond to support the University. Aymun provided over 200 hours of instrumental, voluntary support to deliver the University’s inclusive sporting opportunities for students and members of the local community. He volunteered as the first Disability Sport Champion, embracing the role with immense passion and dedication by coming up with a wide range of new ideas, acting as an effective team leader and recruiting further influential champions. Find out more.
Jenny Ireland has contributed to the selection of Graduate Entry Medicine students since 2013, volunteering on numerous occasions as an interviewer or observer. Without her contribution, it would be difficult to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of prospective medical students. Jenny has also contributed to medical research by volunteering to participate in studies on a regular basis since 2016/17. She greatly enriches the work of our School of Medicine on a regular basis.
Jan Perrett MBE
Jan Perrett has been volunteering with the University's Manuscripts and Special Collections (MSC) team since 2015. Prior to this, Jan was Deputy Director of the Careers & Employability Service at the University for 24 years. Jan’s language skills and her tenacity when it comes to reading (and translating) some of the handwritten letters discovered in our archive collections is extraordinary and makes an enormous difference to the work of the MSC team.
Jo Horsey has volunteered her time to help with the selection of new medical students for the School of Medicine since 2012. Jo has offered wise and thoughtful advice as a member of the School of Medicine Admissions Committee, and on the working group that develops the questions and scenarios for undergraduate Medicine interviews. She has helped to develop a fair and valid interview process sharing her experience as a former head teacher and as a patient.
Friends for Impact CBTRC fundraisers
In December 2011, at the age of four, Alfi Mjeshtri sadly lost his life to a rare aggressive brain tumour. Determined that other children and their parents wouldn't have to go through the same as Alfi, his parents and a group of friends set up Friends for Impact to raise much needed funds for the Children's Brain Tumour Research Centre (CBTRC). Almost 8 years later, this incredible group have raised over £75,000 in memory of Alfi through a range of fundraising activities. Find out more.
David has been a Patient Participation Involvement (PPI) volunteer for over eight years with the Institute of Mental Health, generously providing technical expertise and sharing his lived experience to improve important research from design to implementation. David has been a fantastic ambassador for the REBOOT (research into online mental health support) study in particular, tirelessly using his links with grassroots networks across the East Midlands to raise awareness and help find participants.
Volunteer Co-ordinator of the Year
Dr Martha Jones
Martha is an academic in our School of Education dedicated to providing her students with the best experience possible. This dedication pays off when she asks her students to volunteer once they've graduated. Her graduates give their time gladly, and this goes on to directly benefit current students.
This is what makes a great Volunteer Co-ordinator - someone who is committed to providing positive experiences for both their volunteers and student beneficiaries.
To find out more about this year's winners please contact us, or discover the inspiring individuals who won our 2018 awards.