Nominees for the Alumni Volunteer of the Year 2019

Below are the stories of three outstanding alumni who have been put forward by members of staff as deserving of the Alumni Volunteer of the Year Award for their exceptional voluntary contribution to the life of the University. Read their stories and then choose who you think should be the winner. Voting closes on 10 May and the Award Winner will be announced on 6 June at the Alumni Volunteer Gala Dinner.

Nominee 1: Iain Hawthorn

PG Dip Management Studies – 2000
MA Management Studies – 2002

Iain Hawthorne - Alumni Champion

Iain’s support to Christ Church has been long-standing and wide ranging. He was a finalist for the Alumni Volunteer of the Year Award in 2016 and no sooner did he become eligible for re-nomination this year, than his name was put forward by more than one department.

Working for HSBC, Iain is passionate about the benefits he gained from studying at Christ Church and wants to help students realise the potential being in Higher Education offers to them. His activities within the University have included:

  • guest speaking on business modules, bringing real world experience into the classroom – for example, doing an hour long talk about HSBC’s Graduate Scheme.
  • working with students on a one-to-one basis, such as helping a PhD student with her research into values and behaviours in the banking industry.
  • providing students with advice on employability. For example he was speaker at the Making Apprenticeships Work for You event in 2018 and meets with students at employability events organised by the Careers Team.
  • encouraging HSBC to see the talent available in Christ Church students and graduates.
  • supporting the University’s student Global Business Society, influencing its direction, discussing sponsorship and suggesting guest speakers.
  • encouraging other Christ Church alumni he meets to reconnect with Christ Church and lend their support to students. By this means, Iain’s influence has had a “ripple” effect across the University with other alumni who work at HSBC assisting at the School of Law, Criminology and Policing and the School of Media Art and Design employability events.
  • membership of the Business School Advisory Board, advising on business engagement strategy and curriculum development. 
  • building relationships between members of the Kent business community and Christ Church. He has invited staff of the Business School to speak at prestigious HSBC sponsored seminars and brought business contacts to University events. He facilitated the visit of global economist James Pomeroy to the University in February of this year.
  • featuring as one of a number of alumni in a series of aspirational posters used during undergraduate Open Days.
  • serving on the Alumni Relations Development Group, helping build the University’s engagement with its alumni.

Iain is utterly committed to Christ Church and its students, and his endless enthusiasm is having an influence widely across the University.

Nominee 2: Jo Williamson (nee Warnock)

Jo Williamson

BA (Hons) Primary Education – 2001

The Headmistress of St John’s CofE School in Canterbury, Jo is described by the staff who have nominated her as “an exceptional alumna, who willingly offers both her own, and her school’s, time to support Christ Church through a wide range of activities.” These have included:

  • regularly assisting in the recruitment interviewing process for prospective students.
  • leading a workshop at the Faculty of Education Newly Qualified Teachers (NQT) conference around teacher wellbeing.
  • contributing to teaching on the BA Year 1 Primary Education module.
  • rethinking teaching, learning and assessment when she was part of a headteachers’ roundtable.
  • serving on the Faculty of Education’s Partnership Executive Committee.
  • being heavily involved with the revalidation of the Primary Education programmes, both BA and PGCE, giving guidance as to the relevant school-based content for the new modules.
  • offering large numbers of student placements at her school, where the Faculty can be confident that students’ progress and development will be expertly mentored and supported. There are currently 14 Christ Church students based at St John’s. Last year, Jo offered three Christ Church NQTs teaching positions in her school. There is strong evidence that indicates that the support and mentoring they are receiving is ensuring a successful NQT year.

Jo has carried this commitment through with great determination, even when her school faced difficult and complex circumstances. During this time, Jo devised a highly creative approach that enabled Christ Church students to volunteer their time to engage with children’s learning through a structured reading mentor programme. This both supported the children’s development and our students’ understanding of the importance of a reading curriculum tailored to individual children’s needs. This enrichment project has now run for four years and continues to be greatly appreciated by the students who take part.

Nominee 3: Kyle Rogers

Kyle Rogers

LLB (Hons) Bachelor of Law – 2014

Kyle graduated from Christ Church in 2014 with a first class degree and, during his time here he established himself as an exceptionally proactive student. His extracurricular activities included the National Moot Team, Christ Church Performance Society, Christ Church Choir Society, Student Ambassador and PAL leader.

Since his graduation, despite being a trainee solicitor (fully qualifying as from 1 April of this year), Kyle has continued to play an active role as an alumnus, providing exceptional support to students and staff of the School of Law, Criminology and Policing Studies. Kyle’s voluntary activities have included:

  • giving a talk to incoming first-year students in September 2018 on what to expect as Law students and also tips on getting training contracts.
  • attending Law School events, most recently the re-opening of the courtroom in Og32 in February. This was a wonderful opportunity for students to network with Kyle and also for staff and stakeholders to realise how transformative Christ Church is for Law students.
  • supporting the School’s Periodic Programme Review process as a stakeholder.
  • seeking to connect Christ Church with work experience opportunities for their students.
  • serving the Alumni Relations Development Group, helping build the University’s engagement with its alumni.

Kyle is highly consistent in his support and committed to the progress of the Law programme.

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