Student success

The first graduates of Scotland’s first full-time degree for paramedics

Our students continue to be our finest ambassadors, achieving success and industry recognition at national and international level – including on the COVID-19 front line with the NHS.

The first graduates of Scotland’s first full-time degree for paramedics celebrated completing their studies by joining the national response to COVID-19 on the NHS front line. Thirty-five students graduated in BSc Paramedic Science, with all but one embarking on careers with the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) – the other returned home to England to join the North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust.

Hollie O’Brien’s coursework featured in the Society of Radiographers’ Imaging and Therapy Practice magazine. The magazine’s editors published Hollie’s essay Adult obesity: could we all care more?, which was written as part of her studies in Diagnostic Imaging.

Physiotherapy students Kate Rutherford and Neave Keenan joined Biomedical Science student Mairi Heron to kayak the length of Glasgow’s subway to raise funds for My Name’5 Doddie – a foundation set up by honorary graduate Doddie Weir to improve the lives of people affected by Motor Neurone Disease.

Ntsiki Mkhize

Ntsiki Mkhize, an MSc Social Innovation student and founder of MentHer - a global network supporting women entrepreneurs - spoke at the international SME Women Global Virtual Entrepreneurial & Investing Summit on the power of mentoring.

BSc Podiatry student Nancy Kelleher won a prestigious Carnegie Trust Vacation Scholarship to explore rates, predictors and the impact of joint damage in early rheumatoid arthritis.

Commuters at Glasgow’s Central Station got online safety advice from our student-run Cyber Security Clinic. The Clinic’s members marked Cyber Scotland Week by sharing their expertise on protecting yourself from online security attacks. The team has also advised thousands of members of the public at pop-up and STEM events, in schools and through its website.

A team of graduates won £20,000 in a UK Games Fund competition for Hotel Arcanum, a groundbreaking game tackling the trauma of the Holocaust. Judges praised Máté Tóth Ridovics, Thomas Salgarella, Andras Baliga and Scott Lissone for their fusion of “real historical facts with a dream-like magical world.”

Gymnast Nicola McDonald was named sportscotland’s Scottish Sports Futures Spirit of the Year in recognition of her commitment to shaping the future of the discipline. Nicola has been part of sportscotland’s Young People’s Sports Panel since 2018, helping promote sports across the country with campaigns such as Walk and Talk, which helped keep Scots active and connected to friends and family throughout lockdown.

Dr Alastair Maxwell-Irving

We celebrated with our oldest graduate – and the oldest person ever to achieve a PhD in Scotland – Alastair Maxwell-Irving. Alastair, who has spent decades studying historical architecture, passed his PhD over Zoom, two days after his 85th birthday.

GCU graduate Jack Moran was named Scottish Degree and Graduate Apprenticeship Student of the Year at the British Education Awards. Jack achieved a first in BSc(Hons) Software Development for Business while working for JP Morgan.

Our students are more likely to complete their degree than their peers at any other modern Scottish university. Higher Education Statistics Agency figures indicated that in 2020, 80.7% of GCU students would successfully complete their studies - ahead of an average of 79.8% across the country.

Rebecca MacKenzie, Lauren Love and Jillian Millar

Construction Management students Rebecca MacKenzie, Lauren Love and Jillian Millar won the Scottish Chartered Institute of Building’s Student Challenge. The team was celebrated for its project modelling a sustainable supermarket for Inverness harbour.

Adil Rahoo was named Student of the Year at The Students' Association’s STAR Awards. A GCU Common Good Award-holder, Adil was recognised for his commitment to fundraising for charities including Glasgow Children’s Hospital, Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus, and Amnesty International, as well as his work supporting students in roles including the Students’ Association’s International Students Officer, Ethical and Environmental Officer and Vice President.

Inspired ideas to offset carbon emissions, including rebalancing the cost of responsibility, won Kathleen Pineau top prize in a prestigious writing contest. Kathleen, who was studying an MSc in Climate Justice, took first prize in the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) Writing Competition.

And Kyle McSwan, Ruari McGhee and Briony Mckelvie teamed up to win computer games design contest the D&AD New Blood Awards 2020. Their Cluedo-style game Murder at the Manor was awarded the Graphite Pencil Award.

Gertrude Munyambonera

Gertrude Munyambonera won the University's Jessie Main award for overall highest academic achievement. Gertrude returned to her studies just a week after giving birth and volunteered to work at NHS Golden Jubilee during the first wave of the pandemic.

Kevin Wilson was named one of the “Top 20 Outstanding Black Men in Canada” for his work helping young people develop on and off the basketball court. SHIFTER magazine, which celebrates Canada’s black culture and lifestyle, recognised MSc Physiotherapy student Kevin for his work with 1500 young people as the founder of the National Basketball Youth Mentorship Programme in his native Toronto.

Nursing (Mental Health) student Gavin Crawford was one of just 50 students from across the UK selected to join the 150 Leaders Programme - an initiative to identify the healthcare leaders of the future.

Karis Knight

An online community established by Karis Knight to support people affected by dementia was showcased by the BBC. Karis was inspired by her Occupational Therapy studies to create the One-Stop Dementia group during lockdown.

Multimedia Journalism student Elle Duffy featured in the Public Interest News List, which recognises outstanding contributions to local news, for her coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stephanie Craig helped fight the stigma around mental health. Stephanie featured in the Scottish Association for Mental Health’s United to Prevent Suicide campaign, spoke on national TV about her mental health battle and helped Police Scotland’s trainee negotiators better understand mental health, suicide and the experiences of people in care.

GCU Law students launched The Journal for Law & The Common Good with funding from The Clark Foundation for Legal Education. Featuring innovative student work, the journal's inaugural edition will be published in the summer of 2021.

And a podcast created and presented by MA Multimedia Journalism students triumphed at the Scottish Press Awards. Gianni Marini and Greg Okrim’s Democracy on Your Doorstep was named Podcast of the Year.