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Bedford Scholars

The Bedford Scholars are students who are funded by alumni and former staff members from Bedford College.

There are many Bedford Scholars covering a broad range of subjects from mathematics to languages. The Bedford Society is in touch with recipients to outline a plan to create a new bloodline for the Bedford Society that will populate events and utilise relationships formed to mentor and open networks for new graduates. We believe that this offers the chance for the Society to live its aim, 'to celebrate the rich heritage of Bedford College and to ensure the College's past achievements benefit future generations.'

The Bedford Society is committed to supporting future scholars through the Bedford Society Scholarship Fund, and we are pleased to announce that the first of these three postgraduate-taught scholarships have now been awarded. We look forward to introducing you to these new scholars in the upcoming months.

In addition, there are several other named scholarships which have been generously funded by Bedford Society members. Scholarships are life-changing for both the donor and the recipient, and we would like to say an enormous thank you to all the Bedford Society members who support these scholarships and students.

We encourage you to read Bedford Scholar profiles from the grateful students below. Further information about the 2017 recipients will be made available soon. If you would like to support Bedford Scholars, please donate online or contact the Development Team.

 

Bedford Society Scholarships

Lucia Camacho Acevedo - MMus Advanced Musical Studies

Lucia is a current BedLucia 2017ford Scholar who began her current programme in September 2017 in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. She joins us from the University of Oxford.

Sophie Merrington - MA Marketing, current scholar

Sophie 2017Sophie is a current Bedford Scholar who began her current programme in September 2017 in the Faculty of Management, Economics and Law. She joins us from the University of Exeter.

'I was drawn towards Royal Holloway and Bedford New Collge by the diverse modules incorporated in the MA Marketing programme. Specifically, the Digital Media Marketing and Marketing Communication modules will provide me with transferable knowledge to a marketing career, enabling me to continuously drive effective marketing in a rapidly changing environment.

This generous funding will allow me to engage fully with the MA course and commit most of my time and focus to learning [...]. On a wider level, the confidence that I have gained from receiving this scholarship will fuel my endeavour for excellence in my MA degree and subsequent career. For this, I will always be grateful to the Bedford Society members for touching the lives of scholarship recipients such as myself.'

Natalie Slay - MSc Clinical Psychology, current scholar

Natalie 2017Natalie is a current Bedford Scholar who began her current programme in September 2017 in the Faculty of Science. She joins us from the University of Exeter.

A few words from Natalie,

'I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for granting me the Bedford Society Scholarship in support of my MSc Clinical Psychology course. Your generosity will allow me to focus on my studies without financial concern.

I am looking forward to continuing academia at Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, and the invaluable experience and qualification it will provide in strengthening my future doctoral training applications.'

 

Dinah and Jessica Nichols Scholarship

Aliya Ali - MA History, current scholar

Aliya is a current Bedford Scholar who began her current programme in September 2016.

She explains that she 'chose to study at Royal Holloway and Bedford New College because of it great academic reputation. Furthermore, the university offered specific course that interested me and would help further my research interests.'

What have you enjoyed most about your course or your research project?

'So far, I have enjoyed my Medieval London course, which has provided me with a different perspective of Medieval London and the socio-political dynamic of the city. Our professor, Dr Clive Burgess, made the course very enjoyable as he is well versed in this area. During this module, I have been able to explore my interest in 'why it was important to keep London under good rule.' I was able to engage actively in examining archival sources and dealing with manuscripts first hand, and one of the highlights of the module was when we visited the Roman ruins and visited the London Metropolitan Archives where we met with Professor Caroline Barron. It was a great experience and I learnt about how to engage with medieval manuscripts.'

How has this scholarship helped you in your studies and what might your future plans be?

'This scholarship has been a great source of help; without it I would not have been able to complete my postgraduate degree.  It has been my motivator to continue and perservere during my degree. Ms Nichols has been my inspiration to continue and work hard to achieve academic excellence. My future plans are to continue with my academic career, I have already been preparing my PhD proposal and I am excited to execute if for another three years. The scholarships has allowed me to concentrate on my future aspirations and encouraged me to aim towards an academic career.'

Matthew Stevenson - MA History, 2016

Matthew - croppedMatthew graduated in 2016 with a Masters in Public History and is now a member of the Bedford Society.

'I was so shocked and amazed when I found out I had been awarded the Dinah and Jessica Nichols Scholarship I had to take my lunch break early from work so I could absorb the news! I cannot thank Ms Nichols’ enough for her generosity, being awarded this scholarship has allowed me to focus on my studies rather than having to work part-time in order to fund myself, and also enabled me to take courses in central London which I would otherwise have been unable to afford to travel to.

I will be forever grateful to Ms Nichols for the wonderful opportunities her generosity has afforded me. Having been awarded this scholarship has allowed me to pursue my studies without the need to work part-time, and without taking on enormous debt in order to fund myself. By relieving this economic pressure and freeing a large amount of my time, Ms Nichols has afforded me considerably more time to focus on research and achieve so much more with my time.

My research interests lie in the socio-political structure of Genghis Khan’s Mongol Empire. At the moment I am especially interested in the way in which Mongol State incorporated religious communities (such as the Sufi sects in Central Asia and the Daoists in China) into the Mongol political structure, and why those communities were willing to sacrifice some of their beliefs in order to be accepted into the political structure.

Thanks to Ms. Nichols’ generosity I will be able to travel to Kazakhstan this Easter in order to gain an understanding of the types of landscape in which the Mongols existed, to visit the monuments built to the Golden Horde Mongols to try and understand the impact of the Mongols in Central Asia, and also to visit one of my closest friends from my Undergraduate course who is also a Mongolist and now lives there who I haven’t been able to see in over a year!

I hope I can express my immense gratitude to Ms. Nichols and other Bedford College alumni for their generosity and the immense difference it makes to the lives of scholarship students such as myself.'

Rebecca Smarcz - MA Public History, 2015

Rebecca graduated in 2015 with a Masters in Public History and is now a member of the Bedford Society.

'I cannot thank Ms Nichols enough for the generous scholarship.  When I was informed I had been awarded the scholarship, I was so overjoyed and shocked that I started crying.  The scholarship was such a welcome surprise; because of the scholarship I will not be immense debt once I graduate. Furthermore, I will be able to go home and be with my family in New York for the holidays, and that is something that I will be forever grateful to Ms Nichols. 

I have such a passion for history and I wanted to pursue my masters in something that would allow me to spread that passion to my community. In the future, I hope to find a career in museums or in a non-profit foundation.
 
My interest is in American social and cultural issues during the early 20th Century. I am specifically interested in the history of women during the World Wars era (i.e. how their roles in the household changed, how they struggled, what roles they played in the wars, what happened to them afterwards, how the dichotomy between men and women transformed over time etc). The course allows me to share the amazing stories that history has to offer with my community in my future career, whether that is by working in a heritage site or as a curator for a museum.'

The MA Public History program teaches students how to interpret history and how to convey history (the facts and your interpretations as a historian) to the public.  The program is very exciting for students, with many classes taking place in museums, which will be very applicable to Rebecca’s future career.

Lisa Sanders - MA Holocaust Studies, 2014

Lisa completed her Masters in HoloLisaSanders-DinahNichols(1)caust Studies in 2014 and is now a member of the Bedford Society.

'I did not consider an academic career after leaving school. Coming from a working class background, I was the first in my rather large family to go to University. Needless to say, I was very proud to have achieved an undergraduate degree.

I chose to study Holocaust Studies because I’ve had an interest in the subject for over 30 years; I’ve done extensive self-directed research trips to Poland, to Germany, and I’ve felt that I wanted to be an educator on the subject, to get it out there and get people more aware so, hopefully from this course I’ll go on to teach and my dream is to educate in the holocaust.

I used the funds wisely by investing in trips to places I would not have been able to experience. These invaluable research trips include; Washington D.C to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Poland to Auschwitz Concentration Camp and also various memorials. Not forgetting a four day trip to Berlin for empirical research at the famous Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe for my final paper.

I feel incredibly lucky to have received my scholarship, without it, I wouldn’t have been able to study full time and with it I’ve been able to pursue my dream which is to go on and be a teacher and educate on the holocaust, which without the financial backing would have been more or less impossible.'

Lisa wrote to Dinah to express her ‘deep gratitude’ for the support she has received with the scholarship in achieving her ‘life-long dream’:

'Your financial generosity has allowed me to be one step closer to my goal and has inspired me to help others by carrying on my work and educate future generations. I hope one day I will be able to help other students to achieve their goal just as you have helped me. The next step is a PhD in September 2015, which would have been impossible without you.'

 

Geoffrey Kneebone Scholarship

Patrick Hough - MSc Mathematics of Cryptography, current scholar

Patrick HoughPatrick is a current Bedford Scholar who began his studies in September 2016 in Mathematics for Communications and Cryptography.

What have you enjoyed most about your course or your research project?

'Taking courses whose content is geared towards knowledge that is relevant to the demands of industry and the information world. Most recently, I have really enjoyed thinking about my upcoming dissertation topic and building up my background knowledge on my chosen topic by attending the Spring School on lattice-based cryptography. There, I had the opportunity to meet many of the most prominent researchers whose papers I would be reading for my dissertation. This week was great for bringing the subject alive as a very active and popular area.'

How has this scholarship helped you in your studies and what might your future plans be?

'This scholarship has been absolutely invaluable in supporting my studies. Whilst this year was the first in which one could take a postgraduate student loan from the government, this only amounted to £10,000 to cover both fees and living costs. This was not nearly enough to cover my basic living expenses. The financial contribution of this scholarship has thus been immensely appreciated and has somewhat eased the anxiety I have over my student debt. More significantly, being awarded this scholarship has given me even more confidence in my studies. Very often, academic achievement is anonymous and being recognised in this way gives me great motivation to work towards further success.

After this year, I will be going a PhD at Oxford in 'post-quantum cryptography', and I have been awarded a studentship by GCHQ for this period of study.'

Louise Axon - MSc Mathematics of Crypography, 2014

Louise graduated in 2LouiseAxonSnapshotforweb014 with a Master of Science in Mathematics of Cryptography and is now a member of the Bedford Society.

'I was attracted to the Royal Holloway and Bedford New College by the MSc in Mathematics of Cryptography and Communications, which suited my interests perfectly and was the perfect continuation of my previous studies. It also looked like a great place to study with lots of history and opportunities for extra-curricular activities.

My undergraduate background is in Mathematics and I am currently enrolled in the Mathematics department, studying for the MSc in Mathematics of Cryptography and Communications. My focus is Cryptography and Cyber Security, and this is the direction in which I intend to continue my studies.

The scholarship has helped my enormously this year by helping to cover the fees for my course. It has enabled me to concentrate on my studies without worrying about earning the extra money to fund my course and living expenses.

In the future, I hope to work in Cyber Security, and for the next four years I will be researching for my doctorate in Cyber Security at Oxford University. My Masters course this year has prepared my perfectly for this and I have enjoyed my studies immensely.'

 

Herringham Scholarship

Georgina Salzedo - MA Public History, 2016 

Georgina graduated in 2016 with a Masters in Public History and is now a member of the Bedford Society. She is a student at RHBNC and received a Bedford Society Scholarship thanks to the generosity of a Bedford Society member.

Laura Leonard - MA Public History, 2016

Laura Leonard croppedLaura graduated in 2016 with a Masters in Pubic History and is now a member of the Bedford Society. She is a student at RHBNC and received a Bedford Society Scholarship thanks to the generosity of a Bedford Society member.

'Without the Herringham Scholarship I would have struggled throughout my Public History MA. Receiving this generous funding has allowed me to engage fully with the MA course and dedicate most of my time to learning rather than worrying about having to pay for my studies.'

Niamh Foster - MA History, 2016

Niamh Foster croppedNiamh graduated in 2016 with a Masters in History and is now a member of the Bedford Society. She is a student at RHBNC and received a Bedford Society Scholarship thanks to the generosity of a Bedford Society member.

'It was a wonderful surprise and an amazing honour to be a Herringham Scholar. The scholarship meant the world to me because it gave me the financial freedom to solely focus on my studies. I also used it as extra motivation because I wanted to do well for not only myself but also for the donor, who was always interested in what I was up to, how I was getting on and always encouraged me.'

Michaela Jones - MA History, 2014

Michaela Jones graduated in 2014 with a Masters in History and is now a member of the Bedford Society. She was a student at RHBNC and received a Bedford Society Scholarship thanks to the generosity of a Bedford Society member.

Michaela said, 'I would like to say a massive thank you to all the Bedford College alumni who give towards scholarships. Receiving the Herringham Scholarship has enabled me to pursue postgraduate study without further debt and has meant that I can afford to continue to volunteer in the museums sector. This voluntary experience will be invaluable in the future in helping me to build my career.

I am planning on remaining at the College to embark on a PhD in September 2015. My project will focus on Christiana Herringham (whom my scholarship was named after) and her art collection, which was originally bestowed to Bedford College and still resides in the College.'

 

RHBNC Trust and Bedford Scholarship

Clemens Baldauf - MSc Economics, current scholar

Clemens Baldauf - VollansClemens is a current Bedford Scholar who began his studies in September 2016 on a two year MSc in Economics. He was awarded a RHBNC Trust and Bedford Scholarship which was funded by the late Eleanor Vollans who taught Geography from 1948 to 1981 at Bedford College.

What have you enjoyed most about your course or your research project?

'After my A-Levels I studied material science to a postgraduate level in Germany. In the last terms, I became increasingly dissatisfied and rather than working on very specific technical issues I wanted to look at people's lives and broad social trends. Shifting my studies towards economics at Royal Holloway has allowed me to do exactly this. Here, I am able to apply the analytical skills I acquired in my material science degree on the social and economic questions that interest me.'

How has this scholarship helped you in your studies and what might your future plans be?

'Since I had already completed studies at the Masters level I was not eligible for a postgraduate student loan from the UK government and relied on external funding to cover my tuition fees. The RHBNC Trust and Bedford Scholarship has provided the opportunity to study without having to worry about repaying a large bank loan.

Upon graduation of my Masters degree in 2018 I would like to pursue a career in policy advising, working for the government economic service, a think tank or an economic consulting firm. I am also considering developing my analytical skills and subject knowledge further whilst completing a PhD.'

Katie Broomfield - MA Public History, current scholar

Katie Broomfield - VollansKatie is a current Bedford Scholar who began her postgraduate studies in September 2016 in Public History. She was awarded a RHBNC Trust and Bedford Scholarship which was funded by the late Eleanor Vollans who taught Geography from 1948 to 1981 at Bedford College. Katie is also an alumna of the College, having graduated in 2004 with a First Class Honours in History.

What have you enjoyed most about your course or your research project?

'My favourite part of my course has, so far, been writing, producing and presenting a mock Radio 4 style radio programme on women's anti-suffragism. I got to interview a number of eminent historians who are experts in their field and I enjoyed the practical aspect of this module. For my final project I am hoping to produce an exhibition examining, explaining and celebrating the opening of the legal profession to women following the passing of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act in 1919. [...]

My exhibition will seek to place the opening of the legal profession to women in the context of the wider women’s movement; will explore what steps women took before 1919 to become lawyers; and will profile some of the earliest female lawyers, including Mary Elaine Sykes (Royal Holloway alumna). This is an under researched and important topic because only by considering how much women have achieved in the last 100 years can we look forward to greater equality in the future.'

How has this scholarship helped you in your studies and what might your future plans be?

'Being awarded the RHBNC Trust and Bedford Scholarship at the start of my studies gave me confidence that I had made the right decision to give up my successful career as a lawyer and to return to a subject that I enjoyed as an undergraduate.  Having given up full-time employment the financial benefit has also come in useful!

I am hoping to go on to study the opening of the legal profession to women in more detail and am working on my PhD Research Proposal.  I have so far been provisionally offered a PhD studentship in Feminist Legal Studies.'

Snezhina Gulubova - MMus Music, current scholar

SNEZHINA GULUBOVASnezhina is a current Bedford Scholar who began her postgraduate studies in September 2016 in Music. She was awarded a RHBNC Trust and Bedford Scholarship which was funded by the late Eleanor Vollans who taught Geography from 1948 to 1981 at Bedford College.

Why did you choose to study at Royal Holloway and Bedford New College and what have you enjoyed most about your course?

'My continuous interest has been to work on a doctoral research on Cuban music under the supervision of Professor Geoff Baker. [...] Having met previous graduates from the College, I repeatedly gauged the life-altering impact studying at RHBNC had on their lives and the strong friendships forged amongst students.

Most of all I have enjoyed the academic environment at RHBNC, the scholarly collaboration amongst students, and betwen students and professors. I am very satisfied with the courses I took in ethnomusicology, the work I am encouraged to do and my learning development [...]. I am happy that I was encouraged to work independently and develop my theoretical and practical skills, complete fieldwork as part of my projects, and learn to play new musical instruments.'

How has this scholarship helped you in your studies and what might your future plans be?

'I have been able to dedicate my time to the programme. While still working on occasion, I did not have to worry about loans and finances. I could focus on developing my performance experience in castanets, flamenco and Cuban music and dance, and to grow my knowledge in ethnomusicology. The scholarship made a world of difference because I could completely engross myself in my studies [...]. The scholarship was the stepping stone that allowed me to pursue a career change in an area I am most passionate about.

I would like to continue my studies with a PhD on Cuban music at RHBNC as a next career step to establish myself as a specialist in the field. I have been accepted to the programme and am currently awaiting funding confirmation. [...] I have also been working on research on the Cuban diaspora in London and am keen to work towards setting up a Cuban cultural festival in London.'

Laura Schack - MSc International Relations, current scholar

Laura SchackLaura is a current Bedford Scholar who began her postgraduate studies in September 2016 in International Relations. She was awarded a RHBNC Trust and Bedford Scholarship which was funded by the late Eleanor Vollans who taught Geography from 1948 to 1981 at Bedford College.

What have you enjoyed most about your course or your research project?

'The teaching has been particularly brilliant and I have gained much knowledge and skills as a result. Through my Quantitative Research Methods class, I have gained data analysis skills and SPSS software skills which will be useful in finding future work. All of my courses have been eye-opening.

Having finished all of my course, the only task left before me is my dissertation. The focus of my dissertation will be the role of third sector organisations in the integration of refugees in Berlin. I will move to Berlin in the summer to carry out research in the form of participant observation and semi-structured internviews. My time in Berlin prior to my Masters showed me the wide varierty of social and community organisations involved in refugee integration. I found that there has been very little research focusing on the roles played by such organisations, and intend my dissertation as a first step towards addressing this deficiency.'

How has this scholarship helped you in your studies and what might your future plans be?

'Without this scholarship, I may not have been able to afford studying for a Masters degree. It has allowed me to save enough money to fund my research trip to Berlin for my dissertation. I am very grateful to have received it and feel it has broadened the options available to me.

I hope to find work in a field relevant to my degree, especially in international organisations with a humanitarian outlook, and in the next months I intend to apply for jobs worldwide, including UN positions, and at research centres and think tanks, for example.'

Anonymous - MSc Psychology, current scholar

This current Bedford Scholar began their postgraduate studies in September 2016 in Psychology. They were awarded a RHBNC Trust and Bedford Scholarship which was funded by the late Eleanor Vollans who taught Geography from 1948 to 1981 at Bedford College.

Why did you choose to study at Royal Holloway and Bedford New College?

'I didn't take the usual route of doing an undergraduate degree, I chose to do it part-time through distance learning - this took around 9 years to complete. As you can imagine, I would be a lot older than my peers starting a MSc. Due to this, I didn't have a lot of confidence going into a postgraduate course, at any establishment. RHBNC came to my attention completely my accident. I had tried to search for universities closest to me online a few times and each one was miles away. Having a young family, the commute wasn't really an option, nor was staying on campus. [...] One day, however, I randomly came across the College and was astounded to find that it was only a 30-minute drive from home. [...] I made several enquiries and visited three times; I was sold. I was, first, impressed by the beautiful main building and, secondly, by how friendly the staff were (on and offline). Although I didn't have a choice of universities, I know I wouldn't have decided to come here had it not been for the beautiful scenery and the friendly staff. As I said, previously, I needed to have those things to boost my confidence into believing that I could go to a 'usual' university and complete a postgraduate degree.'

How has this scholarship helped you in your studies and what might your future plans be?

'For me, the scholarship further increased my confidence in myself. Before it, I thought I was too old to study and that I would be of no use. I clearly remember the moment I received the email. I was in a public place (thankfully alone) and I burst into tears. This really did mean a lot to me. All the horrendous things I had been through in the past had almost been washed away by this email. It was like a new lease of life.

I plan to use my new MSc degree as a stepping stone to a Doctorate. I have learned tons of new things on this course and even if I don't get to follow my dreams of a PhD, I know that I am a better person for it and I can use everything I have learned to better myself in whatever role I go into next.'

To my donor: 'You have completely changed my life. when I once thought it was not possible, you have opened, not just a door, but a hallway full of new doors and opportunities for me. Plus, I am now the most educated female in my family! Thank you.'

 
 
 

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