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Winners 2021

Aaron LeeAaron Lee

Aaron founded LA Edge, the first integrated social consultancy and career services platform of its kind. During the pandemic, Aaron promoted mental well-being practices to many during the lockdown, both in Singapore and in the UK.

He has counselled and redirected over 60 disadvantaged individuals to situation-specific welfare resources.

Aaron's fast-growing initiative has been recognized by partnerships with several prominent NGOs, including the Law Society of Singapore, a testament not only to his passion for social impact, but also his entrepreneurial acumen.

Aaron has found success in his various mentorship roles on and off campus.

He volunteers his time as an SEO mentor, providing internship application advice and career coaching to students hailing from ethnic minority and low socioeconomic backgrounds.

Aaron also volunteers with Project Access, a social enterprise that leverages technology to fight inequality in higher education, providing prospective international university applicants with Warwick-specific advice.

Aaron also volunteered as a senior undergraduate mentor with the Economics department and has also concurrently held the role of Economics course ambassador within the Singapore society for the past two years.

He has provided many international Economics freshmen with guidance on various aspects of collegiate life, overseen their general welfare and dispensed academic related assistance.

Aaron has held executive positions in several societies:

  • Finance and sponsorship officer of the Warwick Economics Summit.
  • Business mentor within the Warwick Incubator, UK's largest student-led business incubation program.

Aaron also played in the University football league, winning the league in his first year and captaining his team in his second year.

Combining his love for sports with a desire for community impact, Aaron raised funds for Right to Play, a charity aimed at helping children affected by poverty and war through sports, participating in Warwick squash clubs 24-hour charity challenge.

Leveraging his experience as a junior executive in the Warwick Consulting Society, Aaron represented Warwick in McKinsey's Solve It UK competition; presenting strategies to scale UpReach, a local non-profit focused on promoting social mobility for young people.

Aaron was also recently awarded the highly selective CFA institute access scholarship and is now extending his propensity for social impact to a career in renewable energy.

Eleanor HassallElanor Hassell Photo

Eleanor Hassall was the President of Warwick Enable (2020-2021). Warwick Enable is the disability liberation and campaigning society for disabled students, friends, allies and carers or enablers, with over 140 members.

Eleanor also introduced BAME and LGBTUA+ Representatives to ensure that the importance of intersectionality is at the heart of the society and its campaigns.

The Buddy Scheme was also re-established and is more popular than ever with over 200 students recruited to act as buddies to peers with similar disabilities. Due to the activity of the society, Warwick Enable now represents disabled students voices on the University Disability Taskforce.

Eleanor has been instrumental in improving the human transcription of lectures and events at the University this year and was successful in getting Warwick SU to fund and provide a live captioner for all major events.

Eleanor introduced and delivered the first ever Disability Training for SSLC Reps and Convenors. This also adds to the wider work Eleanor has done across the University, advising on the new mitigating circumstances and self-certification portals, advocating for disabled students and their reasonable adjustments.

Eleanor used the joint power of Warwick Enable and the SU Disabled Students Officer to run the first ever sessions on 'what your disabled students want you to know', which proved immensely popular, reaching over 150 people.

These two panel discussions, focussing on disability and mental health conditions featured open, honest and at times raw conversations about the experiences of disabled students. The panels were aimed at staff and were immensely popular, reaching over 150 people.

Jaakko JÃrviniemiJaakko Photo

Jaakko is the Co-Founder of Warwick Graphic Design and Marketing Society (GDMS), where he acted as President for 2 years.

Among many of his accomplishments with the society, here are few:

  • Helped over 150 members and hundreds more through events, workshops and online resources; members cite it as "the most valuable society on campus"
  • Created and held a 10-week digital marketing certificate course, which includes exclusive content from employees at Google, TikTok, P&G, Montblanc, Drift
  • Co-created a 100-page career guide to Warwick students, helping students gain internships at companies like Adidas, Deloitte and Expedia

Jaakko also personally trained and consulted 30+ start-ups and social enterprises led by Warwick students, including Covid-19, student employability and sustainability -related initiatives.

GDMS is a testament to Jaakko's commitment to the Warwick community and his rare entrepreneurial talent. This talent has been recognized more widely, too: Jaakko won the UK-wide CEO x 1Day competition and ranked in Top 15 in the Management Undergraduate of the Year competition.

Beyond society matters, Jaakko acted as the Head of Marketing (Finland) for Project Access, an NGO that empowers underprivileged high school students in their applications to top international universities such as Warwick.

With the help of these and many other experiences - including part-time work at the Warwick Library's Study Happy team, Jaakko was selected as a summer intern at Google.

Jasmin KaurJasmin Kaur

Jasmin was elected as SSLC representative in her first year and re-elected for three subsequent years. In years two and three of her degree, Jasmin acted as a student mentor helping new students to settle into University life and studies at Life Sciences and also participated in Undergraduate Research Support Scheme (URSS) in 2018.

Whilst on industrial placement at GSK, Jasmin organised and coordinated a group of colleagues to create and deliver a focussed presentation to Life Sciences students, to inspire and motivate them into considering their career plans and share the realities of life on placement.

Jasmin's biggest contribution to the community, both University and beyond, is her work supporting sixth formers from non-traditional backgrounds who are applying to university. Throughout her studies, Jasmin has been dedicated to translating this passion, stemming from her own experience, into a tangible programme called UniAssist. Subsequently, Jasmin has been recognised externally for this work, most recently by way of ‘Woman Who Achieves Award nomination in 2020’.

Jasmin was appointed one of 12 young leaders for the Princes Trust within the UK in December 2020, where she continues to lead the delivery of summits for young people across the UK in the run-up to the 2022 Commonwealth games.

Jasmin’s dissertation was on transitional barriers for Life Sciences students with a focus on practical skills. She assessed the value of the new A-level practical endorsement and presented her findings externally to the AQA curriculum committee to suggest that a change in emphasis in independent working was needed. She also presented her view on the risk of disparity for low achieving, underprivileged students with the process for awarding student grades during the first pandemic examinations.

Jasmin is part of the Warwick International Higher Education Academy (WIHEA) funded 'Remotely Practical' project which involved students and staff from six science departments to address the problem of how we can achieve learning outcomes that are practical in nature, in an online setting. She made a tremendous difference to its ability to develop an exciting new study unit that will be available to first year students across the whole Science Faculty.

Jean-Pierre LaakeJean Pierre

Jean-Pierre established a ‘Patient Connect’ service in our local NHS, alongside a fellow medical student. At the height of the pandemic this innovative service enabled patients hospitalised to connect virtually with family and friends.

Working with a combined team from University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire Trust (UHCWT), Warwick Medical School (WMS) and Institute of Digital Healthcare (IDH), this project involved distribution of tablet devices across all wards in the Hospital and initial training of fellow medical students to support patients using the devices to connect with relatives.

Cascade training has enabled this to become an embedded in-service delivery. The project required robust consideration of issues of infection control, IT Security and collaboration with peers, volunteer services and IT colleagues. The speed of delivery alongside careful evaluation of all of these issues enabled the service to support large numbers of patients at a critical point in the pandemic.

The service directly benefited clinical capacity by freeing up nursing time which was being spent on communicating with concerned relatives and was highly commended in the West Midlands Academic Health Science MidTECH Award for Best NHS-Developed Medical Technology Innovation.

His contribution has supported the region significantly at a critical time and role-modelled the values we as an institution value so highly.

Kelechi MatthiasKelechi Matthias

Kelechi has launches impressive initiatives and took on a leadership role to empower young people and addressed the issue of poor mental health provisions for ethnic minority communities.

In addition, she singlehandedly started the annual mental health awareness event for secondary school pupils, working with local organisations such as Coventry Mind and Warwick's Study Happy. She has been on multiple BBC radio shows to discuss activities of Warwick Inspire. Furthermore, she has also personally mentored two Black pupils in six-form colleges, one of whom has received an offer from University of Warwick to study psychology from 2021/22.

Kelechi is the founder and leader of a non-profit organisation, The Black Mind Initiative. She launched this organisation in 2020 to improve mental health provision for Black people in the UK. The organisation has been encouraging young Black pupils in secondary schools to take up a degree related to mental health professions (e.g., psychology, psychiatry). The organisation has also been supporting Black students in mental-health related degrees in UK universities so that they can aim for ambitious careers towards senior roles in mental healthcare. Kelechi has been invited to present her work in diversity related meetings in British Psychological Society, a remarkable professional recognition as an undergraduate student. The Black Mind Initiative has gained a great momentum. It now has co-organisers from other UK universities (e.g., Manchester, UCL).

Kelechi is planning to do a mental health placement in a hospital in Kenya this summer, pending the pandemic situation. She will work in the Gender-based Recovery Centre and has crowdsourced over £3000 to pay for it.

Kelechi has empowered young people from under-represented communities to enter, and thrive in, higher education so that they can provide better mental health provision to under-served communities.

Laurent Ackerman

Laurent is an active member of Enactus Warwick and Warwick Entrepreneurs in his first and second year and was President of Enactus Warwick in his third year. As President of the society, he focused on a sustainability strategy that cut paper usage by 82% from the previous year while growing the society to over 200 active students. Enactus Warwick won Bright Network's UK's Most Entrepreneurial Society Award and crowdfunded £15,000 for a new social enterprise project, Icycle.

He also led the founding of the 180 Degrees Consulting Society branch at Warwick. He grew the 180DC team from three to over 20 students and initiated four social impact projects with Peacemakers (a local Birmingham charity that educates for peace), Google for Non-Profits and Headspace.

During the summer, Laurent worked with The Challenge, which is a charity focused on social cohesion and mobility in the UK. He analysed food usage across the organisation to prevent £385,000 worth of food being wasted. He further explored the role of social responsibility at Revolut, where he helped to recruit the Rainforest Alliance charity which resulted in a 132% increase in donations through the platform. He is now on placement at Pfizer and works on transforming a global training programme to implement new initiatives for ensuring diverse site recruitment.

He represented the University of Warwick internationally as part of the Warwick case team where he competed in the world's largest undergraduate case competition in Canada as a finalist and won the short case round of the IE Business School BBA Business Challenge in Madrid.

Leanne Loveitt

Leanne has been an active member of ChemSoc and the Departmental community throughout her degree. Having volunteered with Warwick Volunteers through ChemSoc Outreach, she decided to run for one of the Outreach Officer positions.

During this time, Leanne maintained and expanded ChemSoc partnerships with local primary and secondary schools to engage young minds with awe-inspiring demonstrations and interactive workshops.

She also collaborated with PHAB, another fantastic local organisation, to deliver fun science-based activities to disabled and non-disabled people of all ages. Leanne also worked on the annual XMaS Science Gala, Christmas Lectures at the Warwick Arts Centre, the Slice of Science Family Day event, as well as wider ChemSoc events - our Green Future and ACORNS.

She took a very active community role in Canley, where Leanne lived during term time, by contributing to the Planning for Real committee.

Leanne constantly looked for opportunities to provide more support to her immediate community wherever possible. She took on the role of Welfare Officer for ChemSoc at a time when many more people were struggling. She worked in close partnership with the Department to develop many lockdown initiatives.

Leanne was one of the founding members of the Chemistry Virtual Common Room (VCR), which became an example of online community building at Warwick and also contributed to the Bubbling Up wellbeing blog in the Covid-19 special edition.

Leanne also joined the STEM and Diversity Team at Warwick, a student-staff group that works towards tackling issues of diversity and was at the forefront of setting up the Warwick Chemistry Diversity Book Club, sponsored by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Leanne secured a Team Global position on the Teamwork Virtual International Internship Programme, where she will be working with students from the University of Toronto, Hong Kong University Business School, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and Cornell University.

Luke NethercliftLuke

Luke set up key partnerships for Food Intercept, an Enactus social enterprise turning food which is safe to eat but being thrown away into delicious meals. Thanks to the partnerships Luke helped set up with the food suppliers, Mum's Kitchen and locations to sell the food on campus, over 500 meals of food were saved.

Luke was also an ambassador for his home department, Global Sustainable Development, giving talks to prospective students, as well as a founding executive member of the business-for-good society, Warwick SEED.

Luke worked as an Innovation Fellow for Warwick Enterprise, helping to develop entrepreneurship and Innovation on campus and the wider community in the West Midlands.

As part of being an Innovation Fellow, Luke led the Warwick Secret Challenge (WSC), which are interdisciplinary, design-thinking workshops engaging 100s of Warwick students. This has led to improvements in the module choice system, supported creativity programmes at Warwick and helped BT in their incoming 5G rollout on campus.

Luke has co-founded.

  • World Innovation Challenge - Luke is the Director for Warwick. This was a global 48-hour hackathon where interdisciplinary and inter-university teams involving 90 Warwick and Monash students worked together to generate a business idea which solved a sustainability challenge.
  • The Human Entrepreneur (THE) - This is a podcast bringing guests from around the world to talk about the realities of entrepreneurship, discussing the important lessons and the stories from leading entrepreneurs. THE podcast reached the top 20 UK entrepreneurship charts on Apple Podcasts and built a young entrepreneur community of over 240 people.
  • The People's Backpack - This non-profit social enterprise supports and empowers refugees by selling bags with the proceeds going towards supporting refugees and asylum seekers in Coventry

Furthermore, Luke is a board member for the Advance Accelerator, which is a Warwick-based social enterprise accelerator, supporting students turning their ideas to make a sustainable impact into a reality.

Luke is currently co-leading on organising the Warwick Employability Challenge. This is a WIHEA funded project designed to understand the employability challenges based at Warwick and aims to set the course for all future University employability initiatives.

Amarachukwu OkoyePrecious Photo

As the elected Women’s Officer for Warwick Students’ Union (SU), Amara created a campaign that provides welfare boxes (containing free condoms, sanitary products and pregnancy tests) to all Warwick students on campus. She intentionally targeted companies with environmentally friendly products as this meant she could bid for the University’s sustainability fund and was awarded around £4,000 for her campaign.

Amara is involved in a ‘Safer Streets’ campaign which focuses on the safety of women and students in general, liaising with local MPs to include Safer Streets campaign in their campaigning promises and commitments. Additionally, Amara has worked with the SU to provide students with 400 personal attack alarms. The University will be joining the SU and providing 7000 personal attack alarms from the next academic year.

Due to her experience, Amara will be completing an internship with Tender (Arts and Education) in the summer to support young people and children to learn and tackle sexual assault and domestic abuser in our young community.

Amara is the co-founder of a social enterprise, The Noire Space, which is the creation of a safe space for Black women by Black women, has obtained 1300 followers.

As a self-taught coder, Amara decided to put her skills into the creation of a social enterprise, Sell Cycle. Sell Cycle aims to find an alternative way to modernise the trend of vintage shopping and combating the problem of fast fashion which has led to the throwing away of 300,000 tonnes of clothes yearly within the United Kingdom. Amara made the decision to enter the Hult Prize, a one-million-dollar prize aimed to fund social enterprises. After individually selecting a team of three others who were equally passionate about the idea as she is, they entered the competition and became regional runners-up of the Hult Prize.

Amara was responsible for revamping the Non-Law department within Warwick Law Society. She held a STEM panel, sponsored by Clifford Chance and other firms, which saw over 40 STEM students present, the biggest STEM attendance the society had ever seen.

Amara has also been involved with student activism on our campus and helped launch the Black Students Demands group which ensures the university centres the voice of Black students on their campus, ensuring our safety and wellbeing.

Amara has secured a training contract with Clifford Chance.

Varun BalsaraVarun Balsara

Varun created ConnectUs, a genuinely innovative and student-focused approach to a social-networking app, which secured a place on the competitive Warwick Incubator programme.

Varun pivoted ConnectUs to make it more events-focused, and this has gone from strength to strength, securing funding from the Student Enterprise Fund and Lord Rootes Fund, forming the basis for highly successful partnerships with Warwick RAG, Warwick Sport, Enactus Warwick, and Healing Clouds

Varun co-founded The Human Entrepreneur (THE), a podcast bringing guests from around the world to talk about the realities of entrepreneurship, discussing the important lessons and the stories from leading entrepreneurs. THE podcast reached the top 20 UK entrepreneurship charts on Apple Podcasts and built a young entrepreneur community of over 240 people.

He was Junior Director of External Events for Warwick Entrepreneurs in his first year and has served on their board since 2020. He has also been an SSLC rep in Warwick Business School in his first and third years.

Varun works as an Innovation Fellow in Warwick Enterprise and is leading on several streams of activities: bringing societies together to synergies and see how best to bring entrepreneurship on Warwick campus. Varun runs the Society Syndicate and hosts the 'In Conversation With' podcast, including mentoring students.

Upon graduation Varun is also pursuing a Warwick Start-Up Visa.