Pamela Bako – Agile business in Nigeria
Pamela graduated in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in Computer System Engineering and then she went on to complete an MSc in Management Information Systems. She is now IT consultant and the CEO of Made-in-Kaduna, based in Nigeria’s federal capital, Abuja.
The 27-year old said: “I work with the evaluation and design department as an IT consultant. I started at Sunderland with the hope of just getting my degree and leaving but I ended up taking my Masters, thanks to Dr Susan Jones, Gary Unthank and my mentor Ian Ridley.
“Those three people really impacted on my life. Susan told me I can be who I want to be, all it takes is me believing in myself. I learned so much. The Agile Scrum I used for my final dissertation is what I still use today at work to improve the relationship between teams.”
She also helps young entrepreneurs from Kaduna state through her organisation Made-in-Kaduna.
Michael Spowart - A chance to shine
Former plasterer Michael Spowart took the economic downturn as a life-changing opportunity to change his career, graduated with a First in Physiological Science, followed by a PGCE in 2015.
Having always enjoyed supporting youngsters on work experience placements in his job, and volunteering his skills with training provider Springboard in Sunderland, he was inspired to become a teacher.
Michael, 43, now teaches science in front of a classroom of secondary school pupils at Redhouse Academy secondary school in Sunderland.
He completed an Access to Higher Education course at Sunderland College where he developed an interest in science and began a Physiological Science degree at Sunderland.
His dedication to his studies was recognised in his final year when he was selected as a recipient of the first ever Sir Tom Cowie Memorial Scholarship Award, receiving £10,000 to support his academic studies.
“Like many mature students we all have the same pressures to balance, from childcare and work to our academic studies, so this money really allowed me to achieve the best grades I could.
“I feel like I have been given a second chance of a career at Sunderland. I’m thoroughly enjoying being a teacher and it’s going brilliantly.”