Alumni volunteer of the year

We are enormously grateful to all of our alumni volunteers who have continued to work with us and support us since they left us. In June the University hosted over 100 alumni volunteers from all Departments along with staff and students who have benefited from their work at a recognition and awards event.

Alumni of the yearAlaster Yoxall was one of a handful of Mech Eng alumni who were nominated for awards and was highly commended for the Alumni Volunteer of the Year award.

Alaster, who now lectures at Sheffield Halam University, was nominated for the award by Professor Elena Rodriguez-Falcon who he has helped over the past 12 years with her award winning MEC414 module.

Elena says, “Alaster has hugely influenced the way my module is done. Much of the philosophy behind how this learning experience is conducted has been shaped and delivered by Alaster.
Every year for the past 12 years, Alaster has supported me in finding the ‘client’. He has worked with me in defining the challenge which students will undertake. He will then come and deliver a lecture on inclusive design, he will come and facilitate the interview with the clients with me, he will help me provide feedback on intial design ideas that students produce, he helps students through the semester with their prototypes, at times even using his own facilities and he will judge the competition at the end of the semester.

“I work with people with disabilities in this module. The ethics of this, the way of approaching it has to be very sensitive. Alaster will help me manage the relationship with care and professionalism. He adapts his lecture every year to the need of the project, so it is not the same lecture he just gets out of the cupboard year after year. He will update it and do a sterling job. Students are always hugely positive about him.

“The fact that he has offered his own facilities to manufacture prototypes is something that he does at his own cost, his own time and which has resulted in companies being set up!

“I have worked with many alumni throughout the years. Any contribution makes a huge difference to the students and to the University. True volunteering, however, is when someone doesn’t expect to be asked, when they give their time,
expertise and resources in such selfless way without expecting any recognition. That is what Dr
Alaster Yoxall has done for 12 years.”

So, on behalf of Elena, the Department and the University, we would like to thank Alaster, and other alumni just like him who continue to give us their time and expertise to help improve the experience of our students for years to come.