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800 students to graduate at University of Hull ceremonies

Congratulations to all our students who are graduating this week.

More than 800 students from the University of Hull will graduate at Hull City Hall – celebrating their achievement and hard work.

The University, which will hold three winter graduation ceremonies on Thursday 18 January and Friday 19 January, will also award five honorary degrees to: film-maker Phil Agland; screenwriter and playwright James Graham; Director of UK City of Culture Martin Green; Chair of City of Culture Rosie Millard; and Chris Oughtred, a champion of family business and former joint Group MD of William Jackson Food Group. Both James Graham and Rosie Millard are alumni of the University of Hull.

Professor Susan Lea, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hull, said:

“We are absolutely delighted to honour all our graduates. Graduation is the crowning event of our students’ academic endeavours, a time when they can look back on their years of hard work and intellectual pursuit with a sense of real and justified achievement.

“Equally, it gives me great pleasure to recognise our honorary graduates, those leading lights within our local and alumni communities – particularly following the success of Hull’s City of Culture year.”

The majority of those receiving their degrees this week are postgraduate students – many of whom have made significant contributions to research by tackling some of this century’s biggest challenges from human trafficking to the health of our oceans.

Christina Roggatz is one of 520 postgraduates who will collect their degree this week.

As part of her PhD, Christina explored how the increasing acidification of the world’s oceans has the potential to significantly disrupt the way marine life communicates, with yet unknown consequences for the ecosystem.

Increasing levels of carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere are altering chemical communication which marine life relies upon to find food, avoid predators and to mate.

Christina, lead author for the research, published in the Global Change Biology Journal, showed how ‘smell’ molecules used for communication are significantly affected by this ongoing acidification of the ocean, disrupting the chemical communication in the ocean.

“If all smell molecules were affected, it would be comparable to a world without light or sound for us humans,” she said.

Christina enjoyed the multi-disciplinary aspects of her project and mixing with an international research community. 

“I have had the opportunity to present my research at large international conferences in Spain, Portugal and Germany where I was able to connect with international experts in biological and chemical research communities.

“I have also discovered my passion for teaching during my PhD. I was able to introduce my research and findings to primary school children at Newland St. John's Church of England Academy in Hull – both in class and during field excursions, which was very rewarding. 

In addition, Christina, who received a three-year PhD scholarship from the University, was also able to produce a high-impact publication, and given the opportunity to extend her skills with analytical and computational chemistry approaches – outside her core expertise.

“Since my research with its cross-disciplinary approach is completely new, my supervisors and I are now the leaders in this field,” she said.

"We are absolutely delighted to honour all our graduates. Graduation is the crowning event of our students’ academic endeavours, a time when they can look back on their years of hard work and intellectual pursuit with a sense of real and justified achievement". Professor Susan Lea, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hull

PhD scholarships

Committed to supporting research to improve the health of the oceans, the University of Hull is now inviting applications for scholarships for PhD study.

A £3-million investment in over 50  PhD scholarships to attract the best academic talent to tackle a range of issues from the stresses placed on our oceans – as a result of climate change and pollution – to research into human trafficking. The scholarships will cover successful students' tuition fees as well as their stipendiary living costs, totalling around £19,000 per year.

As part of this investment, the University is offering 20 PhD scholarships worth £1.2 million to investigate some of society’s most urgent health issues. Read more here. 

A further scholarship, which has been made possible by funding from a group of 30  University of Hull graduates, will examine the links between migration, trafficking and contemporary slavery.

Fiona de Hoog, who studied MA Modern Slavery Studies at the University of Hull's Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation, before pursuing a PhD in Social Justice and Gender Studies, is graduating this week.

Fiona analysed the role of women in the trafficking and enslaving of children – looking specifically at women’s lives in Haiti and the reasons that contribute to their complicity in a system of child domestic slavery.

“Although it was a difficult theme to be working with, I really enjoyed thinking through my research and writing about it. I am very passionate about my subject.”

Fiona spent a year and a half living and researching in Haiti where she learned a new language and discovered a new culture.

“It was truly humbling to see the hard work being done by people in their communities. It offered a great lesson on what an uphill struggle it can be to work to improve this area and issue.”

Fiona received a three-year University scholarship for her PhD but self-funded her fieldwork in Haiti.

Reflecting on her time in Hull, Fiona said:

“I had two supervisors that I really admire and helped me along the way in different ways. I could not have done my PhD to such an excellent standard without them. I got no corrections during my Viva and that was down to the great collaboration I had with my supervisors.

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