Graduate School Prizes 2020

And the winners are.......

Graduate School Prizes 2020

The Graduate School is delighted to announce the winners of the 2020 Graduate School Prizes.

Postgraduate Researcher

Laura Thomas-Walters, School of Anthropology and Conservation, with particular recognition for her contribution towards public engagement.

“I’m extra delighted to have been awarded the prize in recognition of my efforts in public engagement, and I hope that it will encourage future students to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the Graduate School to work with our local communities.” – Laura

 “Since beginning her PhD, Laura has spent over 300 hours working as an outreach ambassador for the university. One activity she devised that has proved particularly popular has been a week-long event with Year 8 pupils from Brompton and Chatham, where students have the opportunity to develop an intervention to help protect elephants and rhinos.” – Professor Bob Smith

Boniface Otieno Oyugi, School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research, with particular recognition for his contribution to publications and grants.

“I am truly humbled by this award. It reminds me of Don Zimmer’s words “What you lack in talent can be made up with desire, hustle and giving 110% all the time.” A big thank you an amazing team at the Centre for Health Services Studies and to my biggest supporters Prof. Sally Kendall, Dr. Olena Nizalova, and Prof. Stephen Peckham.” – Boniface

“Over the last three years, Boniface has made an exceptional contribution to the postgraduate culture by publishing peer reviewed articles and commentaries in high impact journals besides presenting in international conferences.” – Professor Sally Kendall

Alice Helliwell, School of Arts, with particular recognition for her contribution towards cohort-building.

“I’d like to say a big thank you to my supervisor Michael Newall for the nomination. His patience, encouragement and continuing support are truly appreciated. I am also grateful to be a part of the School of Arts research community; it is a great place to be!” – Alice

“Alice is a key figure in the School of Arts postgraduate community, doing an enormous amount to foster community, collaboration and research activity.” – Dr Michael Newall

Gianna Maria Eick, School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research, with particular recognition for her contribution towards external collaboration.

“I want to thank my PhD supervisors Heejung Chung and Trude Sundberg for nominating me for the Postgraduate Research Prize. Without their constant advice and support, my excellent progress with my research and my international collaborations with renowned scholars in our field would not have been possible.” – Gianna

“What characterises Gianna distinctively compared to her peers is her drive and ambition in pursuing an academic career in addition to her research rigor and excellence. This can be evidenced by a number of achievements including the number of publications currently in review in top peer-reviewed internationally leading journals.” – Dr Heejung Chung

Simon Cooksey, School of Computing, with particular recognition for his contribution towards impact

“This prize means a lot to me, recognition of the impact of my research is very fulfilling. I will use the prize money to continue my research: allowing engineers to use high-performance computer hardware to its maximum capability.” – Simon

“Simon has been involved in several high impact projects, both academic and industrial. He has been instrumental in the development of the best technical specifications of the world’s most used programming languages and processors. Simon is an exceptional PhD candidate, utilising his skills to effectively complement the skills of his collaborators and driving novel research with remarkable impact.” – Dr Mark Batty

Postgraduate Administrator 

Emily Rae, Paris Centre Administrator

“Thank you for the prize! I love working with our students in Paris and helping them discover the city through their studies and activities.” – Emily

“I have been unfailingly impressed by just how efficiently Emily oversees the student experience at Reid Hall…time and again both staff and students comment on the excellence of the administration in Paris… Her role in Paris is a particularly demanding one (not least, of course, because she has to operate in two languages), and yet she makes it look easy. I count myself lucky to be able to benefit from her professionalism.” – Professor Ben Hutchinson

Postgraduate Supervisor

Dr Tamar Jeffers McDonald, Head of School of Arts

“I’d like to say thank you to all my amazing doctoral students, past and present. I learn so much from them and am so honoured they value my support.” – Tamar

“Tamar is a dedicated and inspiring supervisor, excelling in the quality of her supervisions. She puts equal emphasis on the importance of good writing and sound research, particularly in a historical context, but her approach is not prescriptive; she allows PhD students to shape their own research, locate their own sources, and – sometimes – make their own mistakes, but not through unapproachability and distance. Instead, she is always available as a guiding presence, whether through in-person meetings, Skype calls or via (impressively quick) email responses.” Carolyn King

Professor Murray Smith, Professor of Film Studies, School of Arts

I’d like to pay tribute to all of my research students, from whom I have learned and grown in too many ways to mention – quite literally, I couldn’t have won this award without them! And I’d like to thank my colleagues, academic and professional, who have been vital in further supporting the students I’ve supervised. Most awards go to individuals, as in this case, but of course most good things arise from collective effort and effective teamwork. And that is certainly true here.” – Murray

“Murray is exceptional in giving outstanding support to his research students…I regularly hear PhD students speaking of his care and exacting attention to detail in reviewing their work, and in his mentoring them as teachers. Most striking is the successes that Murray’s students enjoy once they have graduated. I have also seen Murray steer students from less prepossessing backgrounds, and with less stellar academic profiles, to gain permanent academic jobs immediately after leaving Kent. That is an extraordinary feat in such a competitive job market.” – Dr Michael Newall

Postgraduate Teacher 

Eva Sigurdardottir, School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research

“I want to thank Dr Jack Cunliffe for nominating me, supported by Dr Rob de Vries. I have learned a lot in the four years I have been teaching at University of Kent. I have been given the freedom to explore and find my own style of teaching with the support of my colleagues. I really appreciate winning the Graduate School Prize for Postgraduate Teacher and will take it as a token of people realising that there is a method to my madness.” – Eva

“She has developed a sensitive understanding of how the students are learning the material and is able to tailor her delivery to the audience. Based on this understanding, she has made year on year improvements to the teaching material – despite the fundamentals of research methods not shifting greatly over the short term – and has done much to help the Qstep team improve our teaching materials. The work she has done will be used by convenors in future years.” – Dr Jack Cunliffe

The Graduate School was delighted to receive a high number of exceptional nominations for this year’s Graduate School Prizes competition. The Graduate School recognises the significant contribution made to the University of Kent by Postgraduate Researchers, Postgraduate Teachers and academic and professional services staff across the University. We would like to thank everyone for their excellent work in support of postgraduate education and research at Kent.