Monthly Archives: September 2015

Education UK Alumni Awards 2016 now open!

The Education UK Alumni Awards are now open for applications. The awards celebrate the achievements of international alumni who studied at UK universities within the last 10 years, and honour the outstanding achievements made by business professionals, entrepreneurs and community leaders who can demonstrate how their education has impacted on their subsequent success.

Winning an Education Alumni Award will not only shine a spotlight on your achievements and bring you international recognition, it will also help to raise your profile and introduce you to new professional connections.

There are three award categories:

Professional Achievement Award – recognising UK alumni who have distinguished themselves through exemplary leadership and achievements in their professional industry
Entrepreneurial Award – recognising UK alumni who are active in initiating or contributing to innovative new business opportunities that have the potential for strong growth
Social Impact Award – recognising UK alumni who have made an exceptional contribution and commitment to creating positive social change and improving the lives of others

The awards are open to alumni residing in Brazil, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the USA, who studied at a recognised UK higher education institution for a minimum of one term/semester within the past ten years (i/e in/from 2005 or later). Each participating country will present the three award categories mentioned above.

Apply or nominate before 31 October 2015 – for more information about how to enter, visit the British Council website.

A tale of two passions

Having graduating from Kent in 1973 with a BA (Hons) in Economic & Social History, Richard Gould (Rutherford, 1970) is now Chief Executive of Villiers Park Educational Trust, a national social mobility charity which is making a substantial contribution towards improving access to university for under-represented groups. He is also a published author and has written a number of romantic fiction novels.

In this week’s blog, Richards talks to us about his journey since graduating from Kent, and how he forged a successful career in two very different spheres.

‘After completing my Economic & Social History degree, I took a PGCE qualification at Christchurch ahead of teaching in Kent and the Netherlands. Having taught for 15 years, and thoroughly enjoying it, I wanted to do something different. I took a Masters in Management and was recruited by an educational charity working with able post-16 students and their teachers. The launch of the Gifted & Talented initiative established Villiers Park Educational Trust as the leading organisation in the UK providing for highly able A-level students. In my role as Trust Director I sat on the government’s strategic advisory board, keynoted at national and international conferences, and co-wrote Developing Very Able Students at Post-16 (2009) and other publications.

During the 10 years of the Gifted & Talented programme, a lot of good work was done to change culture and ethos in schools through highlighting and celebrating achievement. Just at the point when more and more schools were embedding the initiative, the government pulled the plug on funding and our charity was left with a big decision: do we carry on regardless? One thing evident in looking at success rates for those with the highest ability is that many massively underachieve; those most likely to do so are from disadvantaged backgrounds. Their more privileged peers, even those bored to death at school due to insufficient challenge, know what’s needed to get on in the world; good examination results and a degree at the end. This factor determined our future.

We shifted the focus of our charity to addressing social mobility, specifically supporting high ability students from disadvantaged backgrounds to ensure they succeed at school, gain access to a university and thrive once there. Not surprisingly, much of our work has been with university widening participation departments. Our Scholars Programme is equal to the best out there in terms of outcomes and I remain passionate about helping the young people we work with to maximise their potential.

I have another career based on my second passion; writing fiction. I began writing about 15 ago and during my ‘approach-every-agent-possible’ period, several picked my dark humour about relationships as the feature they most enjoyed. Having initially had little interest in getting published, quite suddenly I wanted it loads. I needed a genre and my fiction seemed to loosely fall within Romance. This makes me a bit of a rarity because very few men write romance and very few read it. It provides me with a niche in a crowded market: a male take on relationships from a male protagonist’s point of view. My novels include social commentary covering class, gender, culture and society. There’s humour, too, running through my fiction. This embraces compulsive betrayals (in The Engagement Party), an attempted suicide (in Nothing Man) and even murder (in A Street Café Named Desire). Starry-eyed romance it is not; my characters aren’t alpha males, they’re middle aged with juggernaut loads of baggage.

Being selected for the New Writers’ Scheme by the Romantic Novelists Association was an important step towards finding my publisher, Accent Press. Before that, I had self-published on Amazon, with considerable initial success but the market has got so saturated that it’s become ever more difficult to gain visibility. I have two novels published, The Engagement Party (2014) and A Street Café Named Desire (2015) with two more in the pipeline for 2016 release.’

100km challenge completed in under 26 hours!

On Saturday 12th September, Natalie Salunke, Chair of the Kent Law Campaign Young Alumni Group and Peter Wilkinson, supporter of the Kent Law Campaign took part in the Thames Path Challenge starting at Putney Bridge and finishing at Henley-on-Thames where they celebrated with a well-deserved glass of Champaign and rested their blistered feet! Natalie and Peter completed their walk in 25 hours and 41 minutes.

So far Natalie and Peter have raised a staggering £1,477.50 (including Gift Aid and the University Match) and for this we thank them for their tremendous dedication and effort. Natalie and Peter, we hope that your feet have recovered!

Please congratulate them both by showing your support and sponsoring their challenge through their JustGiving page. All money raised through their challenge will go directly to the Kent Law Campaign.

Kent is coming to the US!

Director of Development, Alison Coles, and Alumni Engagement Officer, Kasia Senyszyn, will be travelling to the US in October and are looking forward to meeting alumni during their visits to New York, Washington DC, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Boston! Full details of their itinerary can be found below – some of the events will have limited spaces, so book early to avoid disappointment!

New York
Monday October 12th, 18:30-21:00
Stone Creek Bar & Lounge (140 E 27th St)
Behind the scenes of the UN: Join fellow alumni for a screening and discussion about the people who work behind the scenes at the UN. Drinks and nibbles will be provided.
If you would like to attend this event, please register online.

Washington DC
Tuesday October 13th, 19:30-21:30
Brooking’s Institute (1775 Massachusetts Ave NW)
Careers Café: Network with fellow alumni and friends, and ask mentors for advice to boost your career or help you figure out the next steps. Refreshments will be provided.
If you would like to attend this event, please register online.

Wednesday October 14th, 19:30-21:30
Inspiration Room, Hotel George (15 E Street N.W, Washington D.C 20001)
Alumni Reception: Help us celebrate the end of the 50th anniversary year and catch up with alumni in the area. Drinks and nibbles will be provided.
If you would like to attend this event, please register online. Book early to avoid disappointment.

Chicago – Alumni Reunion Weekend
Join us for our special reunion events or take advantage of the fantastic opportunities arranged by Chicago Ideas Week

Friday October 16th, 18:30-21:30
Consul General’s Residence (Appt. 1661, 161 Chicago Rd, off Michigan Ave)
Alumni Reception: Hosted by the Deputy Consul General, join us for drinks and canapés and meet up with alumni in the area. Limited spaces available.
If you would like to attend this event, please register online by October 14th. Book early to avoid disappointment.

Saturday October 17th, 09:00-11:00
Union League Club (65 W Jackson Blvd)
Alumni Breakfast: Join the alumni team and special guests for an informal breakfast. Chat about your memories of Kent or ask questions about what it’s like today, and meet alumni from your area.
If you would like to attend this event, please register online.

Saturday October 17th 14:00-15:30
Loyola University Museum of Art (820 N Michigan Ave)
Exclusive private tour for Kent alumni: Join the Kent team for a private tour of the Loyola Museum of Art, exclusively for Kent alumni!
If you would like to attend this event, please register online.

Saturday October 17th, 18:30-21:30
Union League Club (65 W Jackson Blvd)
Dinner with speakers: Join fellow alumni for a sit-down meal as our special guest speakers Dr David Garman and Professor Adrian Jones (winners of the Innovation in Academia Awards 2015) discuss the theme of piracy in America. We are delighted to welcome to the dinner The Honorable Lisa Madigan (Keynes 1986), Attorney General of Illinois, who will deliver the opening address. Tickets cost £33/$50 for a three-course dinner and wine. Please contact alumni@kent.ac.uk if you have any special dietary requirements.
If you would like to attend this event, please register online by October 12th. Book early to avoid disappointment.

Seattle
Monday October 19th, 18:30-20:30
Maxwell Hotel Bar (300 Roy Street)
Catch up and drinks: Kasia Senyszyn invites you to join her for informal drinks and to catch up with fellow alumni in the Seattle area.
If you would like to attend this event, please register online.

San Francisco
Tuesday October 20th, 18:30-20:30
Cityscape Lounge (46th floor of Hilton SF Union Square)
Catch up with drinks: Join the Kent team for informal drinks and to catch up with fellow alumni in the Bay area. Current PhD student Claire Hurley will be available to talk about her research with the School of English and UC Berkeley.
If you would like to attend this event, please register online.

Los Angeles
Wednesday October 21st, 18:30-20:30
Wolf and Crane Bar (366 E 2nd St, Los Angeles)
Catch up with drinks: Join the Kent team and Johnnie Raines from the LA Chapter for informal drinks and to catch up with fellow alumni in the LA area. Current PhD student Claire Hurley will be available to talk about her research with the School of English and UC Berkeley.
If you would like to attend this event, please register online.

Boston
Friday October 23rd, 18:30-20:30
InterContinental Hotel Bar (510 Atlantic Avenue, Boston)
Chapter meeting and Kent Quiz: Think you know Kent? The Boston Chapter Committee welcomes you to join guests from Kent to catch up and take part in a special quiz! Bring a team or just turn up and join one, it’s up to you. Don’t forget – points mean prizes!
If you would like to attend this event, please register online.