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Seven new graduates 2 July 2008

SEVEN Isle of Man College students have successfully completed their final year of studies of the BSc Public Health, three of them with First Class degrees.

Ann Marie Bonham, Sarah Christian, Faye Conley, Anna Featherstone, Sharon Hughes, Lorraine Karran and Tracy Smart are the first students to complete this course of study, awarded by the University of Chester, entirely on the Island.

The on-Island programme was designed primarily to meet the needs of people who are not able to take on UK-based university study. This is often the case for women with children. Four of the successful students are mums with young children.

Sharon Hughes explained:

‘I was a single parent who was in receipt of benefits when I began on the Public Health degree back in 2004. Now, four years on, I have gained qualifications that will allow me to follow my dreams in my personal and professional life. I am now confident that I can take on anything. ‘Without the facilities that were offered to me I would never have been able to undertake a degree here on the Island. This opportunity for me was unique and for the future I am considering undertaking a masters degree. Four years ago I had intended to sign up for an evening pottery class and unintentionally signed onto the degree program and now I am considering changing the world!’

Having the programme delivered on the Island also meant there were increased opportunities to focus on local issues of importance. During the course of their studies, the students were involved in work-based research projects in a variety of Government Departments including the Public Health Directorate and Environmental Health, as well as David Gray House and the science laboratory at Ballakermeen High School. They were also lucky enough to have both Dr Parameswaran Kishore and Dr Paul Emerson of the Public Health Directorate as guest speakers.

Sarah Christian has been encouraged to develop her dissertation study, a historical study of mental health, into an article for publication.

They are looking forward to travelling to Chester for their graduation ceremony in November and will be able to enjoy a second opportunity to be photographed in their academic gowns at the College’s graduation event in February.

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