2020 - African leadership students' graduation

Sky’s the limit for GCU African leadership students

Mon, 06 Jul 2020 12:08:00 BST
Students Joseph Watema, Tabitha Nyariki and Deborah Doosuur Job
Students Joseph Watema, Tabitha Nyariki and Deborah Doosuur Job

Three African leadership students, who graduate with Honours degrees this week, told of their personal and professional highs since arriving at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) to study a BSc in Applied Psychology three years ago.

Tabitha Nyariki, from Kenya; Deborah Doosuur Job, from Nigeria; and Joseph Watema, from Uganda, first met when they all attended GCU’s academic partner higher education institution – the African Leadership College (ALC) in Mauritius, which aims to create Africa’s next generation of future leaders.

A year at the College focusing on ethical leadership, employability and entrepreneurialism gave them the confidence and drive to follow their dreams.

Since moving to Glasgow to study applied psychology in 2017, Tabitha has taken on several leadership roles including her current post as GCU Students’ Association Vice-President of the School of Health and Life Sciences and previously as the Deputy International Student Officer.

Singer and songwriter Joseph formed an art rock band called Derayernah with fellow musician Drue Marsland and released his debut album ‘In Joys’ and a new single ‘Siberian Scopes’.

Deborah plans to wed the love of her life in August and won a GCU Common Good Award for her impressive personal development and skills during her time at University.

Dr Karen Thomson, Associate Dean International, and senior psychology lecturer, said she was “incredibly proud” of the students she first met while teaching in Mauritius in 2016 and has been their personal tutor throughout their journey.

Dr Thomson said: “I'm delighted and incredibly proud to have watched them go through the degree programme while learning about a new culture. Glasgow has really welcomed them as a friendly city.

"I first met them in Mauritius and it's been an absolute joy seeing them increase in confidence and develop. They've worked very hard at GCU and it's been great to see them also achieve so much outside their academic work."

All three students are excited about graduating on Tuesday, July 7, despite not being able to attend a graduation ceremony because of the Coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

Tabitha will be graduating on the same day as her big sister Grace, 27, who was studying an MSc in Human Resource Management, and plans to continue her role as a full-time officer with the Students’ Association before furthering her career with a Masters in Cyberpsychology.

She was studying psychology at Egerton University in Kenya when the opportunity came up to attend ALC and decided after a year that, instead of going back home to resume her studies, she would go to GCU and study a psychology degree in Glasgow.

She said: “The ALC really gave me the confidence to take on leadership roles and prepared me really well for what I’m doing now. I love GCU. The campus is so beautiful and the staff have been very supportive. It was easier to settle into the course because there were three of us giving each other peer support.

“It is disappointing that I won’t get to walk the stage at a graduation ceremony, however, it is more important to me that I reach my goal of getting an Honours degree and be able to make a difference.”

Joseph, 26, has always had a passion for music and realised his dream of launching his own successful rock band when he came to Scotland to study at GCU.

He said: “I am a big fan of rock music and grew up in a very cultured family. Being in a thriving rock band is a dream come true for me. It is my life’s passion.”

Joseph plans to continue to focus on his band instead of becoming a psychologist, but says it has given him a much greater understanding of the human psyche. He also insisted that his experience at ALC has given him the confidence to pursue his dream.

Studying at GCU also changed Deborah’s life when she met researcher Ronald Turner at a climbing centre over a year ago. She got engaged in April and plans to wed in August.

Deborah, 22, won the GCU Common Good Award last year for leadership, confidence, global citizenship and entrepreneurial mindset. She plans to celebrate her graduation with a cup of take-away coffee and follow her career path with a Masters in psychology.

She said: “My experience at the ALC really broadened my horizons. Being with so many brilliant students and staff really inspired me reinvent myself to better compete in the outside world.”