The UGRS Alumni Community: Three former scholars reveal how the scheme helped them pursue further study

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This week sees some of our 2019 scholars completing the final week of their research placements. They now join a research community of over 200 students, stretching back to the scheme’s launch in 2011. To celebrate our UGRS alumni, we caught up with three former scholars who have all gone on to undertake postgraduate study here at Birmingham. They told us why their scholarship had been so beneficial, and how it helped them on the path to postgraduate study.

At the launch event for this year’s UGRS scheme

Chelsea-Ann Saxby

UGRS Scholar 2014 on the project ‘The Bomb at the British Museum: Fake New and Cultural Politics in the Interwar British World’ with Professor Matt Houlbrook

Now completing a PhD in History

“On a practical level, my time as an Undergraduate Research Scholar meant I gained a familiarity with, and confidence in navigating, the archives and research processes that now underpin my PhD. My UGRS tutor has also become my PhD supervisor, and I feel really lucky to have had this kind of continuity throughout my studies.

Perhaps more importantly, though, the scheme was the first time I thought of myself as a researcher. The UGRS is, at its core, about intellectual generosity – I was encouraged to see myself as co-collaborator, an equal partner in writing history – and I think that experience really empowered me to apply for postgraduate study. And, now that I’ve got classes of undergraduates, I try and have that spirit of intellectual generosity inform my own teaching practice.”

Ellie Rowe

UGRS Scholar 2016 on the project ‘Writers and their libraries: a public exhibition’ with Dr Hugh Adlington

Now completing an MA in English Literature and Culture

“The scheme really helped with my confidence in research, it helped me feel comfortable with the idea of a large research project and how such projects can be broken down into manageable sized chunks; this has been really helpful during my MA because at times the whole thing can feel a bit daunting. The project that I worked on wasn’t directly linked to areas I’d research before, so it also helped me become braver in my research and the topics I attempted to handle. My career path as it stands is to continue working in higher education professional services wherever that takes me. But I do think the scholarship and my research more broadly has made me more inquisitive in this work – I’m always ready to throw myself into some non-academic, student-body related research and analysis.”

Mary Davies

UGRS Scholar 2015 on the project ‘Wilkie Collins and the Drama’ with Dr Caroline Radcliffe

Now completing a PhD in Shakespeare Studies

“The Undergraduate Research Scheme gave me my first experience of undertaking independent research. It made me excited about the prospect of further study beyond my degree. The Scheme provided me with a great insight into the life of an academic researcher and it was really inspiring to witness different projects come to fruition. It enabled me to think about my own areas of interest and how I could contribute into the wider world of research. Overall, it was a very worthwhile experience that gave me confidence in pursuing postgraduate studies.”

Are you a former UGRS scholar and want to find out more about getting involved in our alumni community? Email

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