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Winners 2020

Awarded at January 2020 Degree Ceremony

Anna York - Doctor of Philosophy in Biological SciencesAnna York Photo

Anna has been very active during her time at Warwick, both during her undergraduate studies and throughout her Doctorate of Philosophy in Biological Sciences.

Whilst studying for her Undergraduate degree, Anna, along with a group of fellow students, set up, a club for able-bodied and disabled young people aged 11 – 19, in Leamington Spa. Anna continued her commitment, whilst studying for her PhD, becoming President for a number of years. Central to the function of Phab, Anna undertook training, allowing her to work with the disabled and trained others in disability awareness, enhancing the capabilities of Warwick Youth Phab. The club provided and continues to provide, a fully inclusive environment in which young people are able to socialise with a wide range of activities.

Anna was on the organising committee for the Women in Science initiative as part of Athena Swann. Anna obtained funding and coordinated events, raising consciousness amongst the Warwick scientific community of the challenges faced by women in the pursuit of scientific careers.

In 2016 Anna volunteered for Warwick Marrow due to her awareness of the impact of those illnesses for which bone marrow donation is essential to treatment.

Anna’s postgraduate research relates to antibiotic resistance and as part of this drive to further awareness of antibiotic resistance she helped organise and run an antibiotic awareness day. Anna and some of her fellow postgraduates provided practical experience of microbiology and the basic science and issues surrounding antibiotic resistance to 233 Key Stage 3 pupils over two days at two schools. As a direct result of this outreach experience, Anna co-authored a published paper outlining the delivery and impact of this work.

Apart from these fantastic achievements, Anna also contributed to several other causes and activities on campus such as Staff Student Liaison Committee and worked as a resident tutor, supporting students as they make the transition from living at home to living and working as students.

Anna is continuing her research as a Postdoctoral Associate at Yale School of Public Health.


To be awarded at the rearranged Degree Ceremony


Alicja Lysik, School of Law

During her time at Warwick, Alicja was an active member of the Warwick Women's Careers Society joining as a Marketing Officer in her first-year and later that year elected a President. Alicja increased the sponsorship by 60% and membership by 65%. Ala co-founded and organised the UK's first student-led Women's Summit with five other female-focused societies. The proceeds from the tickets went to Baala Project and Women for Women International. The society was a finalist in the Milkround Best Society of the Year, UK-wide competition.

Alicja has devoted a significant amount of her time during her studies to working with students from disadvantaged backgrounds through a number of widening participation projects. These include working as a Senior Mentor in Coventry for the National Citizenship Service, delivering ‘Understanding the Justice System’ workshops in local schools and working as a Pathways to Law and ThinkHigher Ambassador with students from underrepresented backgrounds. 

Alicja has also been involved in a significant number of fundraising and volunteering initiatives, as well as having successfully run a society and other projects. These include:

  • Volunteering at weekly English conversation clubs in Coventry for Student Action for Refugees.
  • Fundraising over £2500 for Warwick charitable projects.
  • Securing a competitive keynote speaker for the International Conference of Undergraduate Research (ICUR)
  • Presenting ICUR along with academic and administrative staff at the Warwick-Monash Alliance (WMA) anniversary.
  • Alicja was promoted to Senior Ambassador following her work for Warwick Welcome Service since the very beginning of her degree.


Ceara Ione Webster, Liberal Arts 

During her first year, Ceara was part of two SSLCs (Liberal Arts and Quantitative Methods). She also led research on Iranian film and politics which she published in Reinvention, and was invited to present at the International Conference of Undergraduate Research (ICUR) in 2017.

During her second year, Ceara’s financial circumstances changed and she began working 30 hours a week. Despite this, she became secretary for Warwick Yoga Club and presented her research on Jerusalem at the BCUR.

In her third year, Ceara studied abroad in Hong Kong and Germany. During this time, she presented another research paper at the Liberal Education Student Conference in Berlin and became part of the European Consortium of Liberal Arts and Sciences where she promoted liberal education across Europe. She also wrote a paper about nature and technology which was accepted to the ICUR in 2019.

During her final year, Ceara immersed herself in community work. She worked for a community interest company that provides nature-based programmes to bring together individuals who are isolated, suffering from mental health problems, addictions and/or are veterans. She volunteered in a local foodbank and to clear pathways on local woodlands. On top of this, Ceara became the Equal Opportunities Officer for the Yoga Society, joined the Executive Committee of Warwick Sustainable Development Society, and was elected secretary of the Warwick Liberal Arts Society. She worked three jobs which contributed to the environment, the University, and fellow students:

  • Ceara worked as a Cut-The-Flow assistant to help reduce excess waste, electricity, and water usage by promoting sustainability initiatives.
  • She applied her experience to help 10 students as a Compass undergraduate mentor with the Institute of Advanced Teaching and Learning (IATL).
  • Ceara held a position as Innovation Fellow at Warwick Enterprise where she organised and facilitated a large number of events including ‘Her Innovation Collective’ - a programme aimed at empowering women to pursue work in the innovation, tech and finance sectors; ‘The Season of Jams’, an event for creative gaming societies from across the West Midlands and a sustainable banking workshop.
  • Ceara developed her own Digital Environmental Art Project (DEAP), a virtual exhibition of 13 artists addressing the climate crisis. This reached around 1,000 people across four continents in just six days. For this, Ceara independently created a website, marketed, pitched and secured around £3,000. Ceara hopes to start a business to increase sustainability literacy, of which this project will become a permanent feature.

    Currently, Ceara has been accepted to present her first-class research paper at ICUR 2020.


Hemal Dias, School of Engineering

Hemal developed a 'stablspoon' - an affordable spoon for people with hand tremors. This product is a huge contribution to the wider community as it will help many people who currently cannot afford specialist spoons that would solve their issues. Hemal's invention won the 2019 Spark Product Development Fund and is sponsored by the Design Council and Alzheimer's Society. He was also awarded £60,000 for the development of stablspoon. Furthermore, he was shortlisted for the 2020 Engineering Talent Awards for 'Best Innovation of the Year'.

Hemal was also heavily involved in Warwick social life as he was a part of the executive team of Warwick Lifesaving Society. He transformed the publicity in the form of a new website and created a promotional video that was uploaded to social media and shown on the University's big screen.

Hemal was also involved in the Warwick Welcome Service where he worked as a Senior Ambassador and Student Ambassador.


Jahnavi Maganti, Department of Economics

Jahnavi worked closely with the Bollywood Dance society to teach other students the art form of painting with their feet while dancing to help relieve academic stress. She further combined her creative and analytical thinking to help conduct and host Warwick's first ever Economics 'Telling Data Stories' workshop along with Dr Abby Kendrick.

Jahnavi holds a Guinness World Record for 'The Largest painting by foot', achieved as a student of the University of Warwick attempting to raise funds for the Indian organisation 'Youth4Jobs' which aims to provide a platform for disabled artists.

Jahnavi approached Amazon Prime UK and led the project to help distribute free exam wellbeing packages to students for mental health purposes.

Jahnavi expanded the reach of Warwick through her volunteering in Greece refugee camps via Unicef Warwick. In addition to this, Jahnavi has helped raise funds for refugees in Coventry.

As the L116 Course SSLC representative, she was involved in the introduction of module introductory videos online that have proven to be instrumental for choosing modules.

As the Operations Head for Warwick India Forum, she has played a major role in conducting events to help host prominent Indian leaders at the University of Warwick.

Furthermore, as the Head of Women in Finance for the Warwick Finance Societies, she had not only interned at PIMCO over the summer but also conducted events exposing Warwick students to influential female leaders.


Josh Rawcliffe, Department of Economics

Within weeks of starting at Warwick, Josh became the first Project Leader for a new IT support project for older people which has had a huge impact on the local community. From scheduling sessions to arranging transport, managing volunteer timetables to working on budgets, Josh did it all without any prior template to work on. Four years on, ‘Retired, Rewired’ is a much-valued service operating in several venues across Coventry and a genuine inter-generational project.

Josh volunteered with many other Warwick Volunteers (WV) projects, always with glowing reports. This culminated in becoming WV President whilst on his year abroad in Canada. Through excellent communication and organisational skills he kept his student committee on track and engaged throughout his physical absence and set them up for a great start to the 2019-20 academic year.

In addition, Josh has worked as Team Leader for Warwick in Africa 2018, Teaching Volunteer with Warwick Laksh in 2019, Student Ambassador, UniAssist Student mentor and is also mentoring a child from a WP background via IntoUniversity.


Mads Hoefer, Philosophy, Politics and Economics

Mads has been part of the student-led society Enactus. In his final year at Warwick, Mads took charge of Enactus as Vice President, making it the most entrepreneurial society of the year 2019 across all societies within the United Kingdom, awarded by Bright Network UK.

He started his own venture to solve a problem close to his heart, animal extinction. Animals Move sells sustainable t-shirts of which every single one helps to save a species from extinction, namely the black rhino, sea turtle and sloth. To progress this endeavour, Mads built international partnerships with local organisations in South America, Australia and Africa, selling shirts in over 10 countries.

Whilst at Warwick, Mads founded a social enterprise, Icycle with three fellow students. The company offers eyewear made of recycled plastic. Icycle works with SWaCH, a local co-operative of waste collectors working in the slums of Pune, a city in India. Together they source the plastic for Icycles glasses and ensure that every waste collector of SWaCH receives adequate pay and safe working conditions. To round off their social impact, Icycle gives out one free pair of prescription glasses for every pair they sell to one waste collector that lacks eyesight and cannot afford a pair of spectacles.


Nariell Morrison, Warwick Medical School

During her time at Warwick, Nariell has dedicated herself to helping Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) students’ voices to be heard. She founded the Warwick Medical School BME Student Network and as President of the Network, Nariell has been central to building a supportive network for BME students that provides the space and opportunity for students to meet socially and raise their concerns via various academic and student forums. With the support of the Student Union, Nariell developed the B-A-MEntoring scheme, where second and third year medical students peer-mentor first year students. She has also been a valued and active member of SSLC.

Nariell was a founding member of the MBChB Attainment Gap Working Group that Warwick Medical School set up to investigate and work to reduce the identified attainment gap.

In her third year of study, Nariell carried out a study of her fellow BME graduate-entry medical students’ views on the barriers to attainment at Warwick Medical School; this was the first UK study of its kind and the findings have been published in a prestigious medical journal (BMJ Open). This work with students has contributed locally, nationally and internationally to the knowledge base on BME medical student experiences and has helped to profile the need for medical schools to address the causes of the attainment gap.

Nariell has also worked beyond the School, in the wider University. She had early involvement with the Student Union’s Decolonise project that seeks to decolonise the curricula. Despite the heavy demands of a medical degree and clinical placements, Nariell has been a committed and dedicated member of the Residential Life Team, providing pastoral support to hundreds of first year students over the past four years.


Ptolemy Banks, Department of Psychology

Within his first year at Warwick, Ptolemy co-founded the Psychology Department’s student magazine, Cognoscenti, as the treasurer and assistant editor. He was also elected as a member of the SSLC in which he later became the committee chair, and he was elected as the treasurer of PsychSoc.

In his second year, Ptolemy obtained a grant from IATL for his own interdisciplinary research about research methods which he later published in Reinvention, and presented compellingly at the International Conference of Undergraduate Research, where he was awarded best presenter. Ptolemy also worked as a research assistant for two professors, one position led to co-authoring another publication in the high-impact journal Sleep Medicine Reviews which has gone on to help clinical decisions about opioid therapy.

Ptolemy took a year abroad to Tsinghua University, China, where he studied biomedical science and co-founded a start-up with two postgraduate students. The start-up is developing a myoelectric prosthetic hand for amputees in the hope of making disability tech more financially accessible to lowerincome families. On his return from China, Ptolemy devoted his summer holiday to volunteering in Greece as a first responder for incoming refugees crossing the border dangerously by boat, and by working in a hospital to contribute to research into neurological disorders.

In his final year, Ptolemy held the position of Innovation Fellow at Warwick Enterprise in which he helped implement aspects of Warwick’s Innovation Strategy, contributed to the development of the Warwick Innovation District brand, and led several projects including an international hackathon between Warwick and Monash. Although the hackathon has been postponed due to Covid19, Ptolemy has raised over £10,000 to facilitate this in the coming year.


Ptolemy has also consulted students working on start-ups, led small teaching sessions about IP law, written several articles, and taught Design Thinking by leading Warwick Secret Challenge workshops. He is currently working over the summer on a publication with a team, including the Dean of Students, about the use of Design Thinking for innovation in higher education institutions.


Toby Stacey, School of Law

Toby has been an active contributor to the Law SSLC. Under his leadership, the SSLC has grown dramatically – both in size and in presence – by introducing a social media channel, a logo, and branded clothing. They achieved SSLC of the Year at the Students’ Union Awards 2019 for the high level of collaboration between students and staff on a number of issues.

Toby was responsible for the removal of restrictions on the ability of law students to take language modules as electives, after identifying a demand for greater interdisciplinary and international learning. In light of this, he was awarded the Warwick International Higher Education Academy (WIHEA) Fellowship.

Toby has co-created a working group which interviewed students about their induction experience, producing a report that was used by staff to plan the 2019 Welcome Week.

Toby started the Law School Film Club to utilise the Law School social spaces. He co-hosted and produced a primetime weekly radio show interviewing various members of the Warwick community on current affairs. The show received multiple awards at the RAWards 2020, including Best Interview for their Women’s Week episode. He simultaneously trained and performed in two competitive cheerleading squads, placing second and third nationally.

As a member of the Academic and Welfare sub-committee, he mentored first year students for the last two years and co-founded the Client Interviewing Competition this academic year. The success of the competition garnered the attention of the University of York and King’s College London. Toby has collaborated with York to establish their own competition.

Toby has been a volunteer at the Warwick Legal Clinic, providing free legal advice to the local community of Leamington Spa. He is also a proud student ambassador for the University, working at every Open Day since he began his degree.


Vera Okojie, Department of Philosophy

Vera Okojie blazed a trail by becoming the first student to transfer to the new Philosophy with Work Placement degree course. She successfully secured her own placement at Microsoft, followed by a summer internship with Google. Having pioneered this new degree pathway, on her return to Warwick Vera advocated for career routes into the technological industry regardless of academic discipline, but especially for students with a social sciences background.

As a Philosophy Student Ambassador, Vera helped to break myths surrounding employability for social science degrees both internally and externally. Internally, Vera has spoken at a Philosophy careers event, hosted a Warwick Microsoft Employability Event and delivered presentations at Offer Holder Open Day. Externally, Vera was the Keynote Speaker at Warwick Women’s Conference and she was a Panellist at the EY Women in Technology Conference 2019.

Her ‘My Application’ support business provides students with coaching and application review services. Vera was also elected a Marketing Co-ordinator in the Warwick Women in Careers Society, and quickly promoted to Liaison Officer due to her outstanding ability to build and sustain new partnerships. Vera created 27 new external and internal partnerships after less than three weeks in the role. She project-managed a mentorship scheme consisting of 31 mentors which was marketed to over 500 students.

In addition to this, Vera started a custom lash business ‘Lashed by Ve’, during her second year with a team of four people. Both ventures enabled Vera to self-fund her way through university and pick up fundamental skills for the future.

With the support of the Department Vera founded the Warwick Philosophy Black Voices Network. In its initial meeting the WPBVN invited black students on any Philosophy-related course as well as key departmental leadership to discuss the aims of the network, which include building community, providing feedback and representation, and changing academia, including decolonisation of the curriculum and the inclusion of black philosophers.

Currently, Vera serves on her East London church's youth committee group which aims to lead young people to make a positive impact. As a team, they have hosted impactful events on areas including career roadmapping, mental health awareness and an upcoming crime, safety and rehabilitation services seminar