Shining the spotlight on some of Aston’s successful Black students and graduates

JodieFinal Year, First Year, Graduates, Postgraduate, Second Year

Here in Careers and Placements, we love to celebrate the successes of our students and graduates. As it’s Black History Month, we asked some Aston staff members to nominate Black students and graduates who deserved recognition. Here’s who they put forward.

Nicolle Mudzongo – Research Programme Business & Social Sciences

Why they were nominated: “I’d like to nominate Nicolle, having worked with her on a number of occasions within the Careers and Placements team, where her assistance as a graduate researcher has made her invaluable. Since she graduated from her MSc in International Business with the Business School in 2019, Nicolle has also been committed to her work with CRÈME. Every time I have worked with her, Nicolle has exhibited outstanding dedication, professionalism and organisational skills, taking responsibility for the projects on which she has been working and being an amazing ambassador for the service. Nicolle is now moving forwards to the next stage of her career, and will be embarking on a PhD with Aston, entitled “Responding to the pandemic: Business support services and their ability to provide services for refugee entrepreneurs”, which will enable her to undertake impactful research and become an authority on the business development support provided to entrepreneurs in Birmingham. Nicolle is a superb exemplar of the achievements of students from Black heritage.”

Adora Zulu-Okafor – MSc Crisis & Disaster Management

Why they were nominated: “Adora is a mature international student who brought perspective, experience and curiosity to every class. She travelled to the UK mid-module and settled into a new country without missing a beat. Adora engages with her whole self and made the first delivery of my module a huge success. I am also so proud of the work experience she has taken on as a result of this programme and can’t wait to see what she gets up to in the future!”

Quote from Adora: “During these last 18 months of Covid-19 isolation and studying for an MSc miles away from my comfort zone, I’ve indeed found my true north which is working on socially-impacting projects.” 

Chris Williams – Senior Leader MBA Level 7

Why they were nominated:

They were nominated for the following employability-related achievements:

  • Leading Global Customer Account, delivering on-time results and transparency of service as well as exceeding business outcomes for the customer.
  • Striving to improve employee engagement year on year by a relentless drive to listen and react to the voice of colleagues.
  • Company – Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Champion for EMEA, delivering reverse mentoring, mentoring, safe spaces for company-wide dialogue as well as supporting customers in this space.

Quote from Chris: “Education has removed the glass ceiling that can sometimes appear as a result of unconscious bias, with knowledge uniting us in the pursuit to achieve better together.”

Joyce Antubam – Executive MBA

Quote from Joyce: “I joined my previous department (Professional Development for Medical and Dental Trainees) in 2009 on a 3-month temp contract as an office junior to help the team with a filing backlog. The contract was extended to give me additional responsibilities and then I applied for a permanent administrator role in the team, gaining promotions every 2/3 years to become admin team leader in 2015 and then senior business manager in 2017. In 2018, when the Head of department went on secondment, an Associate Dean and I were offered a raise to cover the role of Head of Department. In Nov 2019, the experience gained in the Professional Development Department enabled me to successfully apply and interview for my current role as Head of Office for the London Workforce Transformation Team. I am now studying for MBA, funded by the organisation, I know this is another stepping stone for more promotions.”

Dami Smart – AFM

Quote from Dami: “Studying at Aston University provided a well-rounded university experience, and the teachings and skills learnt have shaped the man I am today.”