The AberSU Celebrates Staff and Students awards are a key event to showcase best practice at Aberystwyth by highlighting teaching excellence and recognising outstanding contributions. This year we presented 7 student awards, with the awards being chosen by a panel of Academic Reps, Student Union Officers and Tim Woods, the Pro-vice Chancellor of Teaching and Learning.
The winner of the Academic Representative of the year award was Jake Christie.
This award recognises an Academic Rep who has been consistently active throughout the year. They effectively voice the opinions of all students on their course, regularly attend SSCCs, feed-back information to their peers and demonstrate great organisational and interpersonal skills. Jake won this award because of the opportunities created for students to come to together to discuss ideas and feedback, as well as making sure that their concerns are raised at SSCCs. Jake helped to develop clear lines of communication between staff and students, as well as bring about change and consistently keeping students updated. Multiple students commented on how they feel this Jake is reliable and contactable. But it is also clear they have a real passion and enthusiasm for the role and are keen to make sure they get the best outcome for students, with one nomination saying, “They give us a sense of stability and comfort because we know they are always in our corner.”
The winner of the Open Category Awards was Joel Adams and Beth Wright.
These awards give freedom for individuals to be nominated outside of the defined category awards, and were developed as a way to recognise both staff and students for ANY positive contribution or impact they have made towards the University, Students’ Union and/or individual students’ experience.
Joel was awarded Academic Community Champion as the creator and admin of the Computer Science Community Discord Server. This platform was set-up at the start of the first lockdown in response to everything moving online and to maintain communications across the department. Since then, he has actively maintained and moderated the platform, and does this on top of his University studies. The Discord server has made a real impact to the departmental community, and his hard work to make sure it is well run has not gone unnoticed! Furthermore, even though students have a limited chance to meet in person, they have still been able to socialise and make friends through the online events and discussions that take place.
Beth was awarded the Community Outreach Champion for her work creating mask straps during the first lockdown which help to reduce the discomfort of wearing masks for long periods of time. In total, she made and distributed over 400 of these items to NHS workers on the frontline, as well as teachers that had to remain in school. In addition to supporting the local community, she has also supported the student and University community through her work as the Students’ Union Environmental and Sustainability Officer. As well as attending University meetings to ensure there is student input, she has also begun to set-up the ‘flip the switch’ campaign which encourages students to reduce energy consumption in their accommodation. Finally, over the past year she has also helped to raise over £1,100 for Mind and Papyrus!
The winner of the Postgraduate teacher of the year was Yuyao Wang.
It’s not just lecturers who positively impact upon your academic experience. Many postgraduates take on teaching responsibilities in addition to their full-time study. This award recognises a postgraduate student who makes an outstanding contribution when teaching, leading a seminar, or demonstrating. Yuyao won this award because of their willingness to help others and their friendly, positive nature was mentioned numerous times. Not only do they make time to answer students’ questions and provide further understanding within the classroom, but they also helped many Chinese students through the pandemic. This included distributing health packs from the Chinese Embassy, helping students to settle when they move to Aber and organising online activities.
The winner of the Student Mentor of the Year award was Cat Oliver.
This award recognises a student that has had a lasting impact on one or more of their peers as their mentor, supporting students and helping to inspire and motivate them throughout their course. A great mentor is one that shares compassion and empathy with their mentees, while also creating a safe and encouraging environment to share student concerns and present an insight of their department or the wider University. Cat won this award due to caring and being understanding of her mentees, by providing space to talk about issues when needed, or simply being available for a chat. It was through listening and conversations that they have helped to provide advice and motivation. In addition, she also helped a student to realise just how important it can be to have someone who will listen to worries and talk through problems in order to move forward.
The winner of the Student Volunteer of the Year awarad was Adam Burlingham.
Awarded to an individual whose volunteering has had a clear and tangible impact on their group, project or cause. They will have shown a high level of commitment and be a positive role model for student volunteering and AberSU. Adam won due to dedicating time to a number of volunteering opportunities and tried to engage and help as many students as possible by dedicated time to organise events and activities that provided social and educational opportunities for members of the Law Society. In addition, he actively collected student feedback and ensured that the student voice was heard by attending every Faculty meeting this year. Adam has shown a genuine passion for his volunteering roles and built good relationships with both staff and students to ensure successful outcomes that benefit students.
The winner of the Student Staff Member of the Year award was Tom Mumford. It’s not just staff that provide services here at the University. This award recongises those students who have postive manner towards their work and go above and beyond to provide outstanding service. Those students witihin departments, hospitality, accommodation, sports centre and any COVID support roles can be recognised. Tom won this award due to their work as a student ambassador and moderator with the Computer Science Department. Not only do they want to help the University in any way he can, but they was also described as someone who always puts in 100% effort into their roles.