Citizens of Change celebrate life-changing achievements online

When starting their degrees at the University of Leicester, no student could have predicted that their 2020 graduation ceremony would have to be postponed because of a pandemic.

With the formal graduation ceremonies held at De Monfort Hall postponed until 2021, this week the University will be celebrating its students' successes online, during what would have been the University’s summer graduations.

There are 19 celebrations taking place this week and around 4,700 students have been invited to join the events.

President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Nishan Canagarajah said: “I am very proud of everyone’s achievements, especially during these difficult times. Our graduates are our Citizens of Change and I urge them all to go out there and make a difference, make themselves, their families and this University proud.”

Amongst those graduating this week are Viktoria Figula-Dera (21) from London, Carol Gurnham (58) from Leicester, and Lilli Helps (22) from Somerset.

Viktoria’s degree will enable her to fulfil an ambition to work for the Ministry of Justice. After a highly competitive recruitment process, she was accepted onto the Ministry’s UNLOCKED graduate programme. The initiative offers her the opportunity to study for a master’s degree while working in a paid position as a prison officer.

Viktoria, who achieved a first-class BSc in Criminology, said: “I was able to study a subject I love and really focus on specific areas that interest me the most. The university experience was amazing and I truly believe I found the perfect balance between education, social life and also my part-time job.”

Carol came to the University of Leicester after raising a family and a career as a secretary. This week she’ll be celebrating her BA in Archaeology. In the autumn she’ll begin a master’s at Oxford University. Carol said: “The University of Leicester has been inspiring and supportive throughout my degree, and they’ve succeeded in turning a person with one A-level into someone about to start a master’s degree at Oxford – something that was way beyond my wildest dreams.”

Physics with Astrophysics was Lilli’s degree choice. Her final year project saw her concentrate on air changes in urbanisation, as she explains: “For my final project I investigated how the concentration of nitrogen dioxide in the air changes during the morning commute in Leicester. The same data analysis skills are allowing me to help with a project that looks at how coronavirus has affected perceptions of air pollution in Columbia.”

Learn more about how the University of Leicester can help you achieve your potential as a Citizen of Change this September.