Influencing the future: scholarship winners share their journeys

Earlier in November we joined a special celebration event to welcome more than 250 of this year’s scholarship winners to the University.

Here, we share some inspirational words from the evening, with moving stories from three talented scholars. We also caught up with a colleague from our Student Recruitment team to hear how her work enables some of the world's top talent to find a home at our University.

sign at event

Wyn

“This is a wonderfully international University; we welcome people from all over the world. It’s great to reflect that huge diversity amongst the student body and amongst the courses that you study.

“We’re really proud of our institution; we welcome people from all sorts of areas and backgrounds and we’re really keen to ensure that there are not barriers to you coming here to study.

"We want you to come here and flourish, and do the things you want to do. If those barriers are financial, or other things, we want to reduce those - to give you chance to excel; to give you the chance to be what you want to be.

“This University lives and breathes by its students; you’re the most important part of what we do; you’re the most important part of what we say to the world.” Professor Wyn Morgan addressing the event

Hannah Stelman, International Officer, International Recruitment & Global Engagement team

Hannah told us why she loves being part of a network of dedicated staff whose work helps to shape students’ futures.


"Colleagues like myself, in recruitment roles, travel overseas to meet with students, helping them to understand what the UK has to offer in terms of education and the quality of education.

Hannah

"We then help them understand the application process and the options available to them and support them in applying for the course they want to study.

“Tonight, I’m sitting at a table with students I've met and talked to in countries I've recruited from! So having that continuity and seeing them here being awarded a scholarship, is amazing – especially after having had that contact over a two or three year period. Two or three years before they arrive in Sheffield, right from when they think about applying, myself or my colleagues might have made a visit to their school.

“I just love meeting with students and I love talking about Sheffield, because I think it has a fantastic offer; it's a great city and I'm proud of our University. So it's really easy to talk to people about how good it is!

“The scholarship is a really important part because it helps to reward students who may have financial or other barriers. But scholarships are not just about overcoming financial barriers – they're about rewarding academic excellence and the prestige that comes with that.

“(A student I recruited) who came to this event two years ago on a 50 per cent scholarship is now working in one of the highest government agencies in Japan! And he says that this type of scholarship helped him to be able to study and graduate and get the job he wanted. So it’s really nice to be able to share those stories.

“It's not just me behind all this – there's a lot of other staff who work so hard, for example admissions and recruitment colleagues. I am lucky to get to meet the students first, but their departments have such a big part to play in it all, too."

Saylee Jangam, BEng in Bioengineering with a Year in Industry


“I still remember the day I received the news about my scholarship. It was 25 July 2014 and I was expecting an email!

Saylee

"I was so nervous that afternoon as I sat in my room, staring at my computer screen, waiting, until the email finally popped up. Without opening it, I ran to my mom, who was making lunch, and I said, “It’s here!” in my mother tongue Marathi.

"We opened the email together and we read the contents aloud, slowly starting to realise what it really meant. I was going to the University of Sheffield! I would receive a world- class education and I was going to be a scholarship recipient. It felt unreal - I was overwhelmed, it was a life-changing moment.

“From being an ambassador for the University’s International Office to working for a leading consumer goods business, to representing the University at the United Nations, the scholarship has played an important role in my development as a student and has motivated me to always strive for better.

“It’s almost as if the scholarship had a positive ‘cascading’ effect on my life and since then, I've been more independent and daring, to take the opportunities that come my way.

“It was extremely hard to get an industrial placement, and I remember applying to many companies - maybe over 25! It made me realise that if you put your mind to doing something, and really, really work on it, you will achieve your end goal.

“By far, one of the biggest gifts the scholarship has given me has been the friends that I've made along the way who’ve become my family away from home. Sheffield is really a home for international students because of this. I’ve met people from all over the world and I've come to understand different cultures better. I've always tried to maximize my learning experience at Sheffield - your time here is limited and it is what you make of it.”

Read more about Saylee on our Faculty of Engineering's Wall of Women.

Stephanie Powell, MSC Psychological Research Methods


"I'm a second year PhD student in the Department of Psychology, and funded by the ESRC, one of the main research councils in the UK – which is a fantastic privilege. And all of this is possible because of my Masters' programme – which was made possible by my scholarship!

"The scholarship has had such a huge impact on the way my career has progressed. It has opened up so many opportunities.

"My advice is, it’s fine if things aren't going quite right. The University has plenty of support for you! It’s okay not to be okay. But the University wants you to succeed, your department wants you to succeed.

"So talk to the University and talk to each other – you have a network of more than 200 people right here.”

Stephanie

Cameron Fay, MA in Intercultural Communication and International Development


Cameron

“Having completed my Undergraduate degree in Manchester and gone into world of work, I had a dream of doing a Masters’ but I thought that was out of my reach, mainly due to funding.

So to be able to come and pursue that dream was really important and a real opportunity for me; I really appreciated that. It made me realise someone had put their faith in me and what I was all about.

"And I didn't want to let them down, as much as I didn't want to let myself down.

“The point I would want you to take away from this, is to see your scholarship as an opportunity. It will open doors for you to really engage with all the opportunities the University has for you.

"Someone has invested their faith in you for a good reason. So develop yourself to 'pay back' that investment – but mostly, to make the most of your time here at the University of Sheffield.”