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School of Geography

Congratulations to the class of 2016


Graduates celebrating in the Octagon

Over 120 students graduated last week from the School of Geography and received degrees in geography, environmental science, as well as those with joint honours in business management.

Students celebrated their achievements by raising a glass with their peers, family, friends and academics in the historic Octagon. After this, the Class of 2016 gathered in front of the Queens’ Building for the traditional group photo.

Each year, the School of Geography gives a number of awards in recognition of exceptional academic achievement. Recipients from the graduating third year included:

  • Menelaos Xenophontos received the Michael Alexander Jones Memorial Award for the best overall performance in the third year.
  • Adam Packer, Katharine Parker and Amber Lucy Carter received the A.E. Smailes Prize for best dissertation.
  • Kathryn Sutter received the Roger Lee Prize for the best dissertation in the fields of economic geography, development geography or geography of social justice.
  • George Stanley and Paraskevas Tafas received the Simon Tavana Writing Prize for creative writing in human geography third year coursework.
  • Amber Lucy Carter received the Environmental Science Prize for outstanding piece of work.
  • Adam Packer and Katharine Parker received the Student Service and Contribution Award for making significant contributions to QMUL and the School of Geography throughout their studies.

Award winners with Head of School. L-R: Amber Lucy Carter, Professor Alison Blunt, Adam Packer and Katharine Parker.

Graduate Adam Packer (Geography BA), who was President of the Geography Society in his final year and received two prizes, said: "For many, our graduation served as a symbolic ceremony or a rite of passage into full time employment or further education. Though I am celebrating achieving a First Class Honours in Geography, being awarded the A.E. Smailes Prize too - honouring the high standard of my dissertation - serves as the endorsement and encouragement for my next steps into postgraduate study. I am also honoured to have been awarded the Student Service and Contribution Award recognising my efforts at the Staff and Student Liaison Committee (SSLC), GeogSoc and Athena Swan."

“To find out that I had been awarded the A.E. Smailes Prize and the Student Service and Contribution Award was truly the most wonderful surprise. I feel honoured to have been one of those who were chosen and it was above anything I could have hoped for” said graduate Katharine Parker (Geography BSc) who is hoping to work as a geography teacher whilst studying for a masters degree in education and geography.

Graduate Kathryn Sutter with Professor Alison Blunt

“I feel it really topped off my time at Queen Mary to win the Roger Lee Prize. It was really nice to be recognised for the hard work I put into my dissertation on food waste solutions and food poverty and I hope I can apply what I learnt from this work into helping those in need in the future” added graduate Kathryn Sutter (Human Geography BA). Additionally, Kathryn has received a volunteering award earlier this year for her volunteering activities during her time at Queen Mary.

The Simon Tavana Writing Prize is awarded to third year coursework in human geography. Endowed in memory of Simon Tavana who graduated from the School in 2004, the prize aims to promote and reward imaginative and engaging writing of a high quality. Simon was tragically killed in a car accident shortly after his graduation. The prize was created by his mother, father and sister – Deborah, Abbi and Holly – in recognition of Simon’s enthusiasm for creative writing.

L-R: Professor Alison Blunt, Paraskevas Tafas, the Tavana family (Abbi, Deborah, Louis and Mill) and George Stanley.

This year, the Simon Tavana Writing Prize was awarded to George Stanley (Geography BA) for his essay on ‘Reforming FIFA after the scandal’ and Paraskevas Tafas (Geography and Economics BSc) for his essay on ‘Encryption in the United States’.

Two prizes were also awarded for academic excellence to graduates Menelaos Xenophontos (Geography and Economics BSc) and Amber Lucy Carter (Environmental Science with Business Management BSc).

A number of honorary degrees and fellowships are usually awarded too during graduation week. Amongst the recipients was Eleanor John who received an Honorary Doctor of Letters (DLitt) degree. Eleanor is Director of Collections, Learning and Engagement at the Geffrye Museum of the Home. Together with Alison Blunt (Professor of Geography and Head of School of Geography), Eleanor is a founding co-director of the Centre for Studies of Home, a formal partnership between QMUL and the Geffrye established in 2011. Eleanor has provided outstanding leadership in developing the Centre as a long-term and sustained partnership between the museum and QMUL.

l-r: Professor Alastair Owens, Eleanor John, Professor Alison Blunt

The Centre for Studies of Home is an international hub of research, knowledge exchange and public engagement activities on past and present homes. It spans work on the domestic sphere as well as broader ideas about dwelling, belonging, privacy and security. After receiving initial funds of £10,000 from the QM Innovations Fund, it has generated over £1.09m in research grant income in five years to support 11 collaborative PhD studentships; four postdoctoral research fellowships; and two artists-in residence.

QMUL Geography Class of 2016

For more pictures from Graduation Day 2016, please take a look at our Flickr page.



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