30 to watch – inspirational alumni, staff and students

Posted on

We’re celebrating our 30th anniversary. So we picked 30 brilliant alumni, staff and students who inspire us. Each of these individuals have talent, persistence and passion. All making important changes, not just in our community but in industry and society.

They are impressive now, so just imagine the impact they’ll have in the future.

Dr Deborah Adkins, Senior Lecturer in Sustainable Buildings

Deborah Adkins is an active member of UWE Bristol’s Changing Climate Network, enhancing our capacity and capability to respond to the climate crisis. She is working to address how we decarbonise the construction sector and adapt the built environment to cope in an adverse future climate. Deborah is also a member of the expert panel supporting Bristol’s Advisory Committee on Climate Change to help Bristol to net zero.

Find out more about Dr Adkins: www./people.uwe.ac.uk/Person/DeborahAdkins

Alisha Airey, BA(Hons) Business Studies (2012), Senior Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic Project Consultant, Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences (UWE Bristol)  

Alisha Airey has an impressive track record. She’s a multi-award-winning professional in the field of diversity, equity and inclusion. As the Senior Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic Project Consultant in the Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences, she leads and develops activities to support and empower minoritised students, including a Faculty wide Student Advocate Programme. Outside of work, Alisha is co-founder and director of a training and consultancy business specialising in race-equity training, including building anti-racist organisations, teams and policies.

Find out more about Alisha: www.//linkedin.com/in/alisha-airey

Arleta Andreasik-Paton, MSc Construction Project Management (2017)

Arleta was awarded Role Model of the Year 2018 at UK Construction Week. Since then she’s made impressive progress and she is now an Associate at Ridge and Partners LLP. A determined role model, she is passionate about equality and diversity within the industry and helping other young people find careers in construction. Currently Arleta is the lead Project Manager on the City Campus project for the University of Gloucestershire, which will see the former Gloucester Debenhams building being brought back to life.

Find out more about Arleta: www.linkedin.com/in/arleta-andreasik-paton

Jack Bennett, MA Animation (2017)

The man behind Sky TV show Dodo, Jack Bennett is a director, writer and animator. Dodo is based on an award-winning short animation Jack made when he was a student at UWE Bristol. Dodo explores the ups and downs of secondary school life. Currently Jack is working on another TV series (yet to be announced) with Wildseed Studios after reaching a deal for a new idea earlier this year.

Find out more about Jack: Twitter – @jackbennettfilm

Mevis Birungi, BSc(Hons) Psychology (2014)

Ugandan born writer, director and actor, Mevis left her job in healthcare to pursue a career as a filmmaker. She wrote, directed and stared in 2021’s Nakato – a New Creatives film supported by Arts Council England and BBC Arts. Her upcoming solo directorial debut What They Left is funded by the BFI Network and Produced by Blak Wave Productions.

Find out more about Mevis: Instagram – @mevcreative

Joyann Boyce, MSc Data Science student 

Joyann Boyce is an inclusive marketing expert. In 2017 she founded Arima&Co, providing marketers with the education, resources, and tools to make their brands more inclusive. Their impressive client list includes Coca-Cola and Nationwide. In 2021 she set up Inclued. ai, a software platform enabling content creators to identify negative bias that may be evident in language and images. Currently Joyann is studying MSc Data Science to better understand the way bias can affect data collection. 

Find out more about Joyann: Instagram – @joyannboyce

Daisy Bristow, BEng(Hons) Robotics student

Recognised with an industry Bright Sparks award this year, Daisy is an ambassador for science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM). She aims to inspire the next generation about STEM, recently working with outreach project Building to Break Barriers, using tools, interviews and tutorials to engage young people with Minecraft. Daisy’s focus is to aid visually impaired people with assistive robotics Machine Vision, and raise their standard of living. She also plans to campaign and educate for women’s rights in the STEM sector. 

Angharad Davies, BSc(Hons) Architecture (2021), MSc Computational Architecture (2023) 

Whilst studying at UWE Bristol Angharad developed Joey Pods for neuro-divergent people. The pods offer a new way for public spaces and businesses to cater for those with sensory processing difficulties. The modular structure is equipped with calming music and lighting, and provides a safe space to retreat to when feeling overwhelmed. Inspired by her autistic son Joey, the pods will be supplied to schools in October 2022 and to public events next year. 

Find out more about Angharad: www.joeypods.com

Josephine Gyasi, BSc(Hons) Creative Product Design (2018)

Maker Josephine Gyasi won best in show at the final year Creative Degree Show in 2018. She’s passionate about making socially engaged work and about raising the voices of under-represented people. She is a board member at Black Girl Convention and has worked with the likes of Rising Arts Agency and Play Disrupt – a leading community arts engagement organisation. She is currently Creative Producer at Bristol community arts organisation Knowle West Media Centre and an Associate Lecturer at UWE Bristol.

Katie Jaggon, BSc(Hons) Wildlife Ecology and Conservation student

Katie initiated important work within the university to decolonise the Wildlife Ecology and Conservation programme. Katie has led workshops on interrogating the issue of ‘white saviourism’ and understanding the urgent need to decolonise conservation. Building on this work, Katie is now actively working with her Programme Team and wider department to decolonise the whole subject area.

Henry James, MEng Mechanical Engineering (2021)

Henry’s project, GridGrow, was category winner in the UK STEM Awards 2020 Innovation Challenge. GridGrow’s modular houses provide a solution to two of the challenges of our time – climate change and a lack of affordable housing. The homes designed by Henry bypass the grid and use power sources such as wind, solar, and water. He hopes these homes will allow younger buys to climb the property ladder and leave a smaller carbon footprint behind.

Find out more about Henry: www.//uk.linkedin.com/in/henryojames

Arthur Keeling, BA(Hons) Business (Team Entrepreneurship), (2017)

Arthur Keeling is the founder of Indus Fusion, a software automation company whose application helps automate the delivery of crucial business processes, helping organisations be more productive. His team received a £75,000 award from Innovate UK in 2020 to support pathology labs during the Covid pandemic. Based at Future Space on UWE Bristol’s Frenchay Campus, IndusFusion is rolling out its software to support healthcare applications, including cell therapy laboratories, clinical drug trials support and critical facility management teams.

Find out more about Arthur: www.linkedin.com/in/arthur-keeling

Malaika Kegode, BA(Hons) Film Studies (2021)

Malaika Kegode is a writer, performer and producer. Outlier, Malaika’s debut theatre show ran at Bristol Old Vic in 2021 and will return for a second run this year. Her recent appointment as winner of the 2022 Kevin Elyot Award will support the development of new work. Her work has previously been shown at the Arnolfini in Bristol and she has curated for Watershed cinema. She is currently working on a play with the leading British African Theatre Company tiata fahodzi. 

Will Malcher, BSc(Hons) Adult Nursing (2020)

Will Malcher is a Senior Clinical Research Nurse with COVID and Infectious Diseases at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust. In recognition of his outstanding practice, this year Will received a Florence Nightingale Award. During his time at UWE Bristol he was also awarded the Vice Chancellors Award for Representation. In addition to his clinical roles, Will is an accredited learning representative and steward for the Royal College of Nursing, representing members within his local hospital.

Find out more about Will: Twitter – @MalcherWill

Krystina Pearson-Rampeearee, MEng Aerospace Systems Engineering (2010)

Krystina Pearson- Rampeearee is a multi-award-winning Chartered Aerospace Engineer at BAE Systems. She is passionate about women in engineering and dedicates her time as an ambassador with young people. Krystina is keen to break stereotypes in the industry. After being told she didn’t look like an engineer, she started a small business in 2020 that creates badges promoting diversity in STEM. 

Find out more about Krystina: Instagram- @aviateher

Camilla Rigby, BA(Hons) Business Studies (2004)

Camilla co-founded The Women’s Work Lab. The Lab is a social enterprise that supports Mums to transform their lives by rebuilding confidence and helping them on their journey to find employment that works for them and their families. In 2020 they launched their first programme in Bristol with funding from Stepping Up at Bristol City Council and employer partners. Based on the success and popularity of the programme, they have expanded their provision and this year are offering six programmes across the South West.

Find out more about Camilla: www.womensworklab.co.uk/

Sarah Selby, Technical Instructor (Creative Technologies)

Sarah is a visual artist who uses software, programming and emerging technology. Her work asks critical questions about digital culture and its social, ethical and environmental implications. ‘Raised by Google’, her 2019 solo show, was featured in Timeout and FAD magazines. Her work to bring awareness to the effect of the digital on nature was recognised by Bristol’s Global Goals Centre’s COP26 environmental campaign. Sarah works as a Technical Instructor supporting Creative Technologies at Frenchay and City campuses.

Find out more about Sarah: www.sarahselby.co.uk

Dr Jack Spicer, BA(Hons) Criminology (2014), Doctor Of Philosophy (2019), Postgraduate Certificate Academic Professional Practice (2021)

Dr Spicer was awarded the prestigious Radzinowicz Prize by the Centre for Crime and Justice in 2021. His research and writing focus on the emergence of ‘county lines’ – the way city drug gangs expand their operation out into new, often more rural, territories. His work has exposed the practice of ‘cuckooing’, which involves dealers taking over the homes of vulnerable people as a base to store and sell drugs. Having recently been invited to parliament to give evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee, Spicer argues that the response to the rise of county lines should recognise it as a societal problem, requiring a coordinated response and progressive policy-making.

Find out more about Dr Spicer: www. Jack Spicer — the University of Bath’s research portal

Jamie Taylor, BA(Hons) Team Entrepreneurship student

Jamie founded The Greener Greens Co, a business that began on Frenchay Campus. The business offers hyper-local growing and supply of high-quality microgreens, salads, and herbs. Through collaborative research, the entrepreneur aims to lower energy usage and reduce the carbon footprint associated with existing supply chains.

Find out more about Jamie: www.thegreenergreens.com

Aisha Thomas, LLB(Hons) (2006)

Aisha was awarded an MBE this year for her services to education. In 2016, Aisha became Assistant Principal at an inner-city secondary school in Bristol. She presented a BBC Inside Out West show in 2018 about the lack of diversity amongst teachers in the city. In 2020 she founded Representation Matters, whose mission is to challenge the lack of representation and the inequality in our current education system.

Find out more about Aisha: Twitter @itsaishathomas

Jazz Thompson, BA(Hons) Illustration (2015)

Working with brands such as Adidas, Premiere League and Fifa, Jazz is as an illustrator and board member of Rising Arts Agency. Her Poetic Justice artwork of the toppling of the Colston statue was featured in a billboard campaign around Bristol in collaboration with Rising Arts Agency. She was commissioned to create a globe as part of The World Reimagined a public art sculpture trail soon to be unveiled in Bristol.

Stephanie Jay Udoh, PhD Biomedical Science student

Stephanie Jay is a PhD candidate, creative producer, and photographer. She founded SEPH Group in 2016, a creative management hub that nurtures creative talent, providing a platform for expression through art. Her work has been featured at the Arnolfini, the BBC, ITV, and Channel 4. Her first solo exhibition: Dance Articulate, is set to be at the UWE Engineering building in September this year. It promotes art as an alternative therapy for mental health issues, combining elements of dance, music and paint.

Find out more about Stephanie Jay: www.linkedin.com/in/stephanieudoh

Melanie Vaxevanakis, BA(Hons) Media, Culture and Practice (2017)

Melanie, founded The MAZI Project, an organisation empowering Bristol’s disadvantaged young people through food. They support young asylum seekers, care-leavers, youth recovering from homelessness and fleeing domestic violence. Melanie wants to create a city where access to fresh, sustainable and tasty food is not a privilege. Together with Bristol’s independent food sector, local community and partner charities she aims for vulnerable young people to experience the power of food and feel part of Bristol’s thriving community.

Find out more about Melanie – www.themaziproject.com

Lewis Wedlock, BSc(Hons) Psychology with Sociology (2019)

An activist, academic, social psychologist, and one of the UK’s youngest lecturers, Lewis has returned to UWE Bristol as an Associate Lecturer in Health and Applied Sciences. He is the creative director of ‘Black Bristol’ – an interactive timeline that aims to highlight Bristol’s often ignored black history. Lewis has been writing about and delivering sessions on the intersectionality of masculinity, and recently did a TEDx talk on The Divinity and Multiplicity of Masculinity.  

Find out more about Lewis: www.lewiswedlock.com 

Ben Williams, Senior Research Fellow: Air Quality Management Resource Centre

One of the UKs experts on airborne microplastics, Dr Ben Williams co-leads the Biospheric Microplastics Research Cluster (BMRC) at UWE Bristol. Ben received his first UK Research and Innovation grant for Homes under the Microscope, a citizen-led project to investigate airborne microplastics in the home. He is also developing airborne DNA sampling and analysis techniques for use in species identification, conservation, and biodiversity assessments.

Find out more about Ben:  www.//people.uwe.ac.uk/Person/Ben3Williams

Elias Williams, BA(Hons) Filmmaking (2018)

Elias’ graduate film, Samurai Blood, was screened at Encounters Film Festival and his BBC Arts short, Voodoo in ​My ​Heart, received an official selection for London Short Film Festival 2022. In 2017 Elias founded the online media platform, mandemhood.com, to provide a space for young men of colour to express themselves. ​Elias is currently working with his brother on a spiritual sequel to their micro-budget feature film Last Summer in Oxford, while also in early development on a separate feature project with fellow UWE graduate, Lowri Roberts.

Jamiee Williams, BA(Hons), Architecture & Planning (2011)

Welsh-born architect Jamiee Williams has a reputation as an instigator of change and a global pace-setter. She’s held lead positions in the creation of many innovation spaces in Denmark. Her work responds to the major societal and environmental challenges affecting people and our planet, and how we will live in our urban and rural contexts. Jamiee is currently working for a new philanthropic initiative dedicated to addressing architectures of planetary wellbeing.

Find out more about Jamiee: Instagram – @jamieemawilliams

Dr Rebecca Windemer, Senior Lecturer in Environmental Planning

Dr Windemer is an award-winning environmental lecturer. Her research into the future of onshore renewable energy infrastructure won the Energy-SHIFTS early careers research award for innovative research findings. It also won her the Economic and Social Research Council award for ‘Outstanding Early Career Impact’ 2021 for it’s impact on industry and for leading to changes in policy. As a member of the Bristol Advisory Committee on Climate Change, Dr Windemer is striving to help Bristol achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.

Find out more about Dr Windemer: Twitter – @RebeccaWindemer

Wenhao Zhang, MSc Advanced Technologies In Electronics (2013), PhD in Computer Vision (2016), Postgraduate Certificate Academic Practice (2019)

Wenhao Zhang works at the Centre for Machine Vision in the Bristol Robotic Laboratory and has forged a reputation as a leading academic in the field. His expertise spans computer vision, artificial intelligence, and electronics. Championing new research themes, Wenhao’s work has led to external collaborations in a variety of cross-disciplinary areas including healthcare technology and agricultural technology.

Find out more about Wenhao: www.//people.uwe.ac.uk/Person/WenhaoZhang

And finally, a company to watch (co-founded by alumni).

Ali Rohafza, BSc(Hons) Product Design and Technology

Sam Onwugbenu, BEng(Hons) Robotics (2016) and current PhD student

Frazer Barnes, BSc(Hons) Computer Systems Integration (2017) and Postgraduate Certificate Academic Professional Practice (2022)

Listed as one of the most innovative Bristol-based Artificial Intelligence (AI) companies, Ali and Sam are co-founders of Altered Carbon, with Frazer as the Technical Director. The company has developed technology that allows a scent to be identified as a digital fingerprint. When combined with artifical intelligence, the sensor technology they’re working on mimics the nose and brain’s ability to build memories. Based at Future Space, on Frenchay Campus Altered Carbon is working collaboratively with UWE Bristol to change the face of robotics.

Find out more about Ali: www.linkedin.com/in/ali-rohafza-

Find out more about Sam: www.linkedin.com/in/sam-onwugbenu-

Find out more about Frazer: https://www.linkedin.com/in/frazerbarnes/

Seriously good prizes for a great cause

Play our 30th anniversary prize draw for your chance to win one of 30 fantastic prizes, kindly donated from alumni and the wider UWE Bristol community.

100% of funds raised from ticket sales will go to the UWE Bristol Fund to support Student Hardship Grants.

Buy a ticket and find out more about other ways we’re celebrating 30 years of being a University.



UWE Bristol alumni – quick links

UWE Bristol Alumni homepage

Sign up for offers and fundraising and update your details

Join Alumni Connect online mentoring network

Explore Alumni benefits and discounts

Back to top