Alumni Achievement Awards

The Alumni Achievement Awards are our opportunity to honour and recognise alumni who achieve excellence in their field and inspire others to succeed.

This year we introduced two new categories to sit alongside our established awards. You can find out more about each category below:

Alumni Achievement Awards - Recipients of this award strive toward the highest levels of personal and professional accomplishment, excel in their chosen field, devote time and energy to their community in a meaningful way, and forge paths of leadership for others to follow. 

Alumni Rising Star Awards – Celebrating our upcoming alumni talent, our Rising Stars have achieved amazing things in the short time since they graduated and are on their way to reaching ever greater success. This category is open to nominees who have graduated within the last ten years. 

NEW: The Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award - This award recognises a member of the alumni community who has distinguished themselves for their excellent and sustained contributions and achievements over their professional lifetime. 

NEW: Alumni Volunteer of the Year Award - The recipient’s inspirational support has raised the confidence and aspirations of our student body, as they prepare for a successful life after university, helping us to achieve our shared vision of creating a rich and diverse, industry-led experience for our students. 

The awards are open to all alumni from the University of Salford and all of our predecessor institutions. We particularly welcome nominations about female alumni and those from an ethnic minority, as in the past they have been under-represented.

The nominations for this year's awards are now closed. We will share notification of the winners in due course. 

Alumni Achievement Awards 2022

We are thrilled to announce our Alumni Achievement Award winners for 2022! Nominated by fellow alumni, staff and students, these 9 exceptional Salford alum have had incredible success professionally, huge positive social impact, and in some cases overcome tremendous adversity to achieve these things. Read more about this year's winners below: 

Alan Price

A Photograph of Alan Price - Alumni Achievement Award winner 2022

PG Diploma Human Resource Management, 2008 

Alan Price is Chief Operations Officer at Peninsula, where he supervises more than 100,000 monthly interactions with clients. He’s also the CEO of BrightHR, the most popular HR software service for small and medium enterprises in the UK. 

Alan’s 18 years in employee relations have made him a well-recognised figure in the industry with achievements including: a Chartered Fellowship of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and a Fellowship of the Royal Society of Arts—having demonstrated a significant contribution to business and society, as well as being one of the youngest judicial appointments to the Employment Tribunal Service and being named ‘HR Hero of The Year’. 

Alan volunteers his time to support future leaders in his role as an Honorary Industry Fellow at the University of Salford and gives time to charity as an ambassador for the North West Air Ambulance.

Charmaine O’Connor

Photograph of Charmaine O'Connor

BSc Quantity Surveying, 2001 

Family-owned and run PP O’Connor is a well-known force in the region’s construction sector. It is a demolition, earthworks, remediation and civil engineering specialist, employing 250 skilled workers from its headquarters in Irlam, Salford and offices in Liverpool and Leeds. At its helm as chief executive is Charmaine O’Connor, who was named on Insider’s Ones to Watch list last year. She is also North West regional chairman for the National Federation of Demolition Contractors.

In September 2018, PP O’Connor announced the acquisition of Galvac, a provider of vacuum excavation equipment for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition provides PP O’Connor with a fleet of vacuum excavation trucks that can service a national footprint supporting major infrastructure contracts, utilities and the broader industry with the latest innovation in safe dig techniques.

Chris Hurley

Photograph of Alumni Achivement Award Winner Chris Hurley

BSc Business Economics, 1995 

Chris Hurley is the founding director of Dealspan, Birmingham and Manchester, and a chartered accountant. His area of expertise is private equity after becoming a successful investor in the UK mid-market with Murray Johnstone and LDC, the UK’s largest volume MBO house.  

Chris led LDC between 2014 and 2020 – the most successful and active period in its 40-year history. There, he was co-chairman of the investment committee, investing over £3.2 billion in MBO’s and other deals, generating upper quartile returns. 

Chris is a board member of the ICAEW Corporate Finance Faculty, which shapes the technical development of the sector. 

Ed Thompson

Photograph of Ed Thompson

BSc Computer Science, 2005 

Ed Thompson is the Chief Technology Officer and co-founder of Matillion. Before he launched his own company he worked as an IBM software consultant and spent 11 years consulting for some of the premier blue-chip companies across the UK. 

Along with CEO Matthew Scullion, Ed launched Matillion in 2011 and set about building a crack team of data integration experts and software engineers. He and his team launched Matillion’s flagship ETL product in 2014, which has driven the company’s growth ever since. Ed’s strength is his ability to bring together best-in-class technologies from across the software ecosystem and apply them to solving the deep and complex requirements of modern businesses in new and disruptive ways.  

As well as dreaming up problem solving tech solutions, Ed is also a father of three and has recently begun training assistance-dog puppies for blind people.  

James Paul Watson

A photograph of James Paul Watson in action in Army Uniform

BA Contemporary Military and International History, 2018 

James Paul Watson joined the British Army straight from school but was medically discharged after a distinguished 20-year career. He deployed on six operational tours of duty to Northern Ireland and Afghanistan and was one of the first soldiers into Kosovo in 1999, and later Iraq in the 2003 War. 

Afterwards and as a civilian, and whilst studying at the University of Salford, Paul was diagnosed with PTSD and is currently elected as a Local Councillor for Wigan Council, where he uses his influence to help and support other veterans.  

He has recently published his first book, a no holds barred account of his time in the British Army and his experience of their mental health policies. Paul’s story continues to educate and inspire, bringing much needed visibility to the issue of male mental health.  

Justin Kelly

Phogograph of Alumni Achievement Award Winner Justin Kelly

BEng Computers, Management and Electronics, 1994 

Justin was appointed Director of Communications and Business Development for Siemens plc and to the Siemens UK Executive Management Board on 1 October 2017.  

A Chartered Engineer, Justin joined Siemens in 1994. He worked in engineering, product and project management roles before taking on senior marketing, strategy and business development positions within the organisation.  

Justin has a passion for education, leading Siemens’ university engagement in the UK. He is passionate about furthering the UK’s engineering, digital and technology skills pipeline and champions greater diversity.  

As well as being a dad of two children, Justin is a member of Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and the Northern Powerhouse Partnership Board. 

Martin Hewitt

Photograph of Martin Hewitt in ski gear, face covered in snow.

BSc Business Studies with Marketing Management, 2003 

Martin served as a commissioned officer in HM Parachute Regiment with operational experience in the Middle East. He was injured whilst leading his men in combat, receiving gunshot wounds to the chest and foot.  

Martin then turned to elite sport and represented GB in the Paralympic World Championships    competing in Downhill Ski racing.  

On leaving the military, Martin founded the Adaptive Grand Slam project, leading disabled teams climbing the highest peak on the each of the 7 continents and walking unsupported to the North and South poles. The Adaptive grand slam project also organises guided physical challenge events in the UK and Europe.  

He’s appeared in a number of televised expeditions including BBC1’s Harry’s Arctic Heroes alongside Prince Harry, and Adaptive Everest, which documents his team’s Everest summit attempt, available to watch on Amazon Prime Video. 

Suzann Harrison

Photograph of Suzann Harrison.

BSc Nursing: Adult, 2012 

Suzann Harrison is an Advanced Clinical Practitioner within the NHS, having served as an Intensive Care nurse in Salford, a staff nurse in Wythenshawe, a district nurse serving the community of South Manchester and a Senior Practitioner for North West Ambulance Service. 

However, it is in the Crisis Response area of community nursing where Suzann has led the biggest transformation. Following the completion of her master’s programme at Salford, Suzann led on initiatives to improve links with North West Ambulance Service and refine the Manchester Triage System for Crisis Response across Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust and Manchester Local Care Organisation.  

As a result of this work, Suzann was awarded the title of Queens Nurse in 2021, a title only awarded to a tiny number of nurses in Greater Manchester.  

Suzann is also engaged in charity work. Following the loss of their son Declan during pregnancy in 2013, Suzann co-founded the support group Stockport Sands and serves on the committee. Through the group, Suzann has raised thousands of pounds for Stepping Hill Hospital Sandalwood bereavement suite. She also provides voluntary support for local support groups for bereaved parents.  

Weng Keong Kong

Photograph of Weng Keong Kong

BEng Civil Engineering, 2000 

Weng Keong Kong founded Telford Engineering at the age of 27 with just £3,000 in 2006. Today, Telford has grown into a group of companies with specialised architectural, construction and engineering businesses largely spread across medical facilities, education institutions, high value industries, chemical plants as well as corporate office design and fit-out projects in Malaysia. 

A strong believer of education, Weng Keong studied Civil Engineering at Salford and then went on to continue his education in Malaysia, before turning his hand to academic development. Weng is a regular guest speaker at Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman, Taylor’s University and Infrastructure University Kuala Lumpur, as well as spearheading innovative construction programmes, which aim to educate future construction professionals in the region.  

Weng Keong is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Building and a Fellow of Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors respectively. At present, he serves as the President of Johor Master Builders Association and the Council Member at CIOB Malaysia Hub. In 2016, he received the honorary title from the London City Council as the “Freeman of London” in recognition of his professional and entrepreneurial achievements in the construction industry. 

Rising Star Awards 2022

Our Rising Star Awards recognise the achievements of alumni who have already accomplished great things, and are on the way to achieve even more within the first ten years of graduating.

Nick Ransom

Photograph of Nick Ransom holding a video camera on his shoulder

BA Television and Radio, 2018 

Nick, who studied a BA (Hons) in Television and Radio, is now an assistant producer in documentaries. He is currently working on Inside the Autistic Mind, a two-part BBC documentary series on autism presented by Chris Packham.  

He said: “Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted to make TV. It’s a real honour and responsibility to be making a programme that’s so close to my heart.” 

Nick graduated in 2018, after which he started working for BBC Children in Need. He then progressed in a number of digital roles before moving into documentaries.  

Outside the BBC, Nick runs the Neurodiverse Media Community which aims to connect, support and engage those with neurological conditions in the industry. He hopes his work will help improve the representation of those who are autistic, have ADHD, dyslexia and dyspraxia in the media. 

Charlotte France

Photograph of Charlotte France outdoors

BSc Building Surveying, 2013 

PG Certificate Construction Law and Practice, 2020 

Charlotte France studied Building Surveying at Salford and began her career at Faithful + Gould, a project and programme and management consultancy, and was placed on a secondment opportunity back at the University where she studied. The secondment at the University of Salford was extended with the Estates team recognising Charlotte’s outstanding work by offering her a permanent role. 

Charlotte’s most recent project at the University of Salford included being the project manager of the newly opened £65 million School of Science, Engineering and Environment (SEE) Building, a milestone moment in her career so far. The five-year project saw Charlotte successfully navigating the challenges posed by the pandemic and delivering a new building that was not only on-budget but completed on schedule.  

Azeem Amir

A photograph of Azeem Amir in a sports field.

BSc Business Management with Sport, 2020 

MSc Digital Business, 2021 

Azeem Amir has been visually impaired since birth, yet he has never let it be a barrier to success. Azeem plays Blind Football professionally for the England and Great Britain blind football team and is working towards achieving international success. Playing across the globe he and the team are aiming to qualify for the next Paralympics. His football skills on the pitch have paved the way for him to be a part of several national and international media campaigns, working with brands from an array of industries from across the globe.  

Azeem has risen to fame as a highly respected advocate for disability rights. He is now an ambassador for several disability awareness charities and organizations and through public speaking, coaching and workshops aims to inspire as many young people as possible to achieve their own version of success.  

With support from University of Salford business incubator Launch@Salforduni, Azeem has launched his own organisation called Learn With ESS, a disability awareness and team cohesion business that runs courses designed to allow organisations to learn about and tackle the stigmas and attitudes towards disabilities.  

Meet our previous winners

Alumni Achievement Awards 2021

Our alumni community continues to represent the University of Salford in everything they do. Our annual Alumni Achievement Awards recognise a selection of these contributions and successes and are nominated by staff, students and alumni. We are delighted to share the extraordinary achievements of our very worthy award winners from 2021.

Dr. Claire Mercer

A photograph of Dr Claire Mercer - Alumni Achievement Award Winner 2021

Postgrad cert - Academic Practice, class of 2016,
PH.D Health Care Practice by Published Works, class of 2015,
MSc Advanced Medical Imaging (Radiography), class of 2011,
Advanced Practise (Mammography), class of 2005

Alumna Claire Mercer is Head of Radiography at Salford. In 2016, she was awarded the Vice-Chancellor’s Early Career Research Scholarship to extend her PHD work on research into practitioner variation in breast compression. The outputs of this work have led the University to produce the first and most detailed studies of positioning and breast compression in Europe.

‘Digital Mammography: A Holistic Approach’ edited by Claire was first published in 2015. It has provided important insights across the impact of variable breast compression on image quality, comfort and experience and has improved clinical practice through the implementation of new standards and education, positively impacting the lives of millions of individuals.

Claire Woodcraft

A photograph of Alumni Award Winner Claire Woodcraft

BA (Hons) Modern Languages, class of 1992

An internationally recognised leader in social investment, Clare Woodcraft credits her hugely successful career as starting at Salford.

Clare is now Executive Director at the Centre for Strategic Philanthropy at University of Cambridge’s Judge Business School. This prestigious appointment builds on her experience working with leading philanthropic organisations to achieve social impact, most recently as CEO of Emirates Foundation (the national foundation of the UAE). 

Here she worked at the highest level, advising the UAE government. Under her leadership the foundation worked to impact the lives of over 60,000 young people, leading to Clare’s inclusion as one of the top 20 influential British leaders in the UAE and the most influential British woman. 

Clare remains an enthusiastic ambassador for Salford, helping to grow our international reach and reputation and sharing her expertise with staff and mentoring to students. Most recently she has represented the alumni community on the committee to identify a new Chancellor for the University.  

César Melo

An Image of Alumni Achievement Award Winner 2021 Cesar Melo

MSc Business Studies, class of 1994

César Melo is an American senior executive who led some of the world’s best-known organisations, including Mondelēz International (owners of brands including Cadbury, Oreo, and Milka), PepsiCo and Colgate Palmolive. His impressive career is filled with the delivery of many “firsts” in business transformation and consumer product innovations.

In 2019, Melo became a full-time investor and board-advisor, including at global creative marketing platform, VidMob, where he is also President, International - demonstrating his ethos of active engagement with the organisations he invests in, together with his financial backing.

Born into modest beginnings in the Dominican Republic, César’s supportive parents encouraged him to work hard and he gained sponsorship to study in America, before coming to Salford under a prestigious Chevening Scholarship. He remains a passionate advocate of CSR and ethical business practices, including through the VidMob pro bono creative scheme, and providing free consultation to various social enterprises.

Ismail Amla

A photograph of Alumni Achievement Award Winner Ismail Amla

BSc Electrical Computer Systems, class of 1987

Chief Growth Officer at Capita, Ismail Amla is a senior executive with over 20 years international experience in high tech and technology-enabled business services, software, and consulting organisations. 

A transformational leader, Ismail creates value through the institutionalisation of innovation, business, and operational re-design. He authored “From Incremental to Exponential: How Large Companies Can See the Future and Rethink Innovation”, released in September 2020. 

Ismail also has several board memberships including the University of East London, Network Rail and UK Sport. He has recently accepted a voluntary Industry Fellow position with Salford Business School and regularly delivers guest lectures and masterclasses, as well as hosting students at Capita.  

Rising Star Awards 2021

Our Rising Star Awards recognise the achievements of alumni who have already accomplished great things within the first ten years of graduating.

Melissa Ahmed

A photograph of Melissa Ahmed

Mres Aeronautical and Mechanical Engineering, class of 2019
BEng Aeronautical Engineering, class of 2016

Melissa is Managing Director of engineering consultancy Techwuman Ltd, alongside her mother and fellow Salford alumna, Melani Ahmed. A passionate role model for female engineers and young entrepreneurs, Melissa is committed to demonstrating that these are viable career choices for women and those from ethnic minorities in particular.

At the age of 26, Melissa has already achieved Chartered Engineer status. In addition to running a successful business, she is a SolidWorks professional member, SolidWorks Champion, a STEM ambassador and an active advocate for women in engineering.

Fern Wareham and Rachel Maffei

A photograph of Fern Wareham & Rachel Maffei sitting/kneeling down in a dance studio

BA Dance, class of 2016 and 2017

Upon graduation, Rachel and Fern formed Coalesce Dance Theatre, achieving limited company status in 2018 and successfully gaining Arts Council funding to support four projects to date. 

Their mission is to connect people of all backgrounds with dance through exciting and powerful professional dance theatre productions, educational outreach and professional development opportunities. 

They have performed all over the UK and run a series of projects for the dance communities of Greater Manchester and across the North West. Their ethos places people at the heart of their practice, specifically supporting and making space for underrepresented female voices in their work, enabling their stories to be told through exciting and powerful dance theatre.  

Alumni Achievement Awards 2020

We are delighted to announce this year’s recipients of our annual Alumni Achievement Awards. As our alumni continue to fly the flag for Salford in your lives and careers, we are proud to take the opportunity to recognise the extraordinary achievements of this selection of graduates. These awards are particularly special as our winners were nominated by staff, students and fellow alumni. 

Daren Whitaker

A photograph of Daren Whitaker win a hi vis jacket and builder's helmet

BSc (Hons) Quantity Surveying, Building, class of 1995

Daren is one of the most influential people in the North West construction and development industry.

His construction business, Renaker Build Limited, is helping change the face of both Salford and Manchester through the projects they are involved in. Under Daren’s leadership, recent projects have included the construction of the tallest buildings in both Salford and central Manchester. 

Daren is also the principle business sponsor of Z-arts, an arts venue and theatre for children and families in Hulme, Manchester. Renaker, together with The Foyle Foundation, made a generous investment for new seating in Z-arts theatre space. The new seating, which was due to be installed in March 2020, will increase the theatre capacity by 10% and be more accessible for all visitors.

Anthony & Sandra Lewis

A Photograph of Antony & Sandra Lewis posing at a gathering holding Champagne flutes and posing for the camera

BSc (Hons) Social Sciences and BSc (Hons) Science (Joint Honours), class of 1983 and 1984

Tony and Sandra Lewis met as students Salford. They went on to marry and in 1988 Sandra gave birth to their son, Conrad. On February 9th 2011, Private Conrad Lewis became the 353rd British soldier to be killed in Afghanistan war at just 22 years old. In 2014, Tony and Sandra decided to honour Conrad through helping others and the 353 Trust was established in his memory.

353 is a charitable trust with the aim of helping members of the military community by delivering long-term support to a variety of charities, soldiers and their families. They also guide and support mourning families who want to raise money for charities in the name of the person they have lost.
The trust’s ultimate mission is to become a recognised force for good worldwide through partnerships with other organisations and to achieve their objective of providing a career and income within 353 for those affected by military conflict. 
The 365 Trust gave more than £536,000 in grants to the end of 2018, supporting the welfare of Parachute Regiment veterans, animal rescue in Afghanistan and many other military related causes. 

Anthony is also Managing Director of Westway Nissan - the largest Nissan dealer group in the UK.  

Bernard Wai-Khay Chan

A picture of Alumni Achievement Award winner Bernard Chan

BSc (Hons) Biological Science, class of 2002

Bernard is an Investment Advisory Director at iFAST Financial Pte Ltd in his home country of Singapore. He is spearheading a revolutionary and socially conscious approach to financial investments, which puts the customer and their unique needs first. It aims to move investors away from sales based and high commission products, to authentic and low-cost advisory instruments that can be leveraged for public good. The trend is already supported by financial experts in the UK and Australia but has been largely overlooked in Singapore until this point. 

An active Singapore Navy Officer, Bernard is also a volunteer finance controller for a group of social enterprises, including IronSupperClub, a restaurant staffed by people with a variety of special needs.  The social group was recognised as the 2019 ‘Best Newcomer Award’ for the 5th Enabling Employers Awards (EEA) by SG Enable.

Elaine Billington MBE

A photograph of Alumni Achievement Award Winner Elaine Billington MBE

BSc Human Relations, class of 1991

Elaine is a passionate advocate for improving opportunities for young people. She was awarded an MBE for services to apprenticeships and young people in the north west, in the 2020 New Year’s Honours List.

Elaine has worked in Human Resources for more than 25 years. She spent a significant proportion of her career at United Utilities where she eventually became HR Director of Operations. She recently started a new role as HR Director at Highways England. 

For eight years Elaine held the voluntary role of Chair of the North West AAN (Employer Apprentice Ambassador Network), a group whose aim is to encourage employers to engage in apprenticeships, which involved her leading the network as well as spending time in schools, colleges and with local employers explaining the value of apprenticeships. As chairman of the North West Apprenticeship Ambassadors Network she developed the network into one of the largest and most proactive in the country.

She is also a founder member of the Apprentice Diversity Champion Network (ADCN) - chaired by MP Helen Grant, the SDCN is a network used to encourage more people from under-represented groups, including those with disabilities, women and members of the black, Asian and ethnic minority communities, to consider apprenticeships.  

Jok Elijah Manyok

A photograph of Elijah Manyok infront of a brick wall

MSc Project Management, class of 2017

Elijah is a South Sudanese humanitarian and development practitioner. He is the founder and Executive Director of Smile Again Africa Development Organization - SAADO. SAADO is a national non-profit humanitarian and development organization dedicated to working with the youth and their communities to reach their full potential. Founded in 2011, SAADO works across all the states of South Sudan promoting social cohesion and empowering communities to tackle the causes of poverty and injustices. SAADO provide humanitarian assistance to families affected by disaster & conflict while partnering with communities for long – term solutions to alleviate poverty.

He was born and raised as an internally displaced person (IDP) and refugee during Sudan’s longest civil war (1983 – 2005) and was unable to return home to South Sudan until 2008 to start his new life. 

Through his leadership and innovation, SAADO is the leading national humanitarian and development organization in South Sudan, reaching over a million people a year with life-saving emergency response and resilience building for sustainable futures. SAADO won the 2017 South Sudan NGO Forum award for ‘Most Innovative State-Society Building Initiatives’.  

Nadia Zafar

A Photograph of Alumni Achievement Award Winner Nadia Zafar

MA Human Rights and Ethics, class of 2011

Nadia has over nine years’ experience working in the humanitarian aid and development sector across Pakistan. Her focus on advancing human welfare, delivering emergency relief and longer-term societal development programs, makes her a truly inspirational member of our alumni community.

With a passion to fight for the rights of individuals who would otherwise not have a voice, Nadia’s advocacy work has brought her to many organisations during her career. Currently she is Advocacy and Communications Officer at HelpAge International, working on campaigns designed to draw policy makers to the issues facing older people. She works with Universities, civil societies, researchers, media and federal & provincial government departments on legislation for protection of rights of older people. As a result of her advocacy efforts, the views of over 20,000 older people have been heard in government.

Nadia also champions gender specific programs and has visited female refugees to record and share their stories. She has taken regular field visits and contributed to the implementation and monitoring of Refugee Education projects. Through the Direct Aid Program she has facilitated youth work with refugees to increase their knowledge of essential skills, vocational skills, capacity building, awareness sessions and one to one counselling. The sessions focus on human rights, education and promoting advance health education and have benefited more than 1,000 young people.   

Rising Star Awards 2020

Our Rising Star Awards celebrate our upcoming alumni talent – those recent graduates who have already achieved amazing things and whom we believe are on their way to reaching ever greater success.

Maria Eftimova

A photograph of Maria Efimova in a graduation gown outside the Lowry Theatre

BEng (Hons) Civil Engineering, class of 2018

In the short time since her graduation, Maria has gone on to achieve great success in her field of civil engineering. In addition to her role as Civil Structural Engineer at Costain, Maria has received many accolades for her work in the sector.

In May 2019, Maria was selected to present her paper on ‘Soil Arching Theory and its Applications' at the finals of ICE’s (Institution of Civil Engineers) Annual Emerging Engineers North West competition. She won the North West round of Emerging Engineers Awards and her paper went forward to the international judging panel to be considered to compete for the prestigious Institution Medal. 

In February 2020, Maria participated in the ICE competition Pitch 200 for the North West, winning to become the ICE North West Regional Ambassador.

Maria is also a STEM ambassador, volunteering her time to encourage and inspire young people to consider science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects through a range of activities, including presentations, mentoring and careers talks.

As a University Liaison Officer, Maria has an important role in encouraging undergraduate students at Salford to become involved in the local activities of the ICE, as well as ensuring students make the most of their membership.

Emilie Lahouel

a Photograph of Emilie holding a book open in one hand, smiling

BA (Hons) Dance, class of 2013

Upon graduating in 2013, Emmy founded Meraki Dance Theatre where she is Artistic Director. The company was created to promote cross artform collaboration through intriguing, meaningful and socially engaged performances, workshops and conversations. Regularly hosting Meraki Sessions across Greater Manchester, Emmy has nurtured an arts community that offers members the opportunity to network, socialise, experiment and jam.

Much of Emmy’s commissioned work has attracted support from Arts Council England and in 2019 she was awarded the female bursary at Physical Fest for ‘Kill a Witch or Die Trying’. In 2016 she was selected to take part in the PROJECT X residency at HOMEmcr and she is a co-founder of DRIFT – a collaborative project supported by The Lowry, formed to create a network showcasing artists who create work that combines art with music, technology and performance.

She has worked as an associate Artist for Manchester International Festival, collaborating with Theatre Rites and Z-Arts on a schools’ outreach project to encourage children from disadvantaged backgrounds to explore different themes through movement. As Engagement Manager & Lead Artist for Selina Thompson’s ‘Missy Elliot Project’, Emmy also worked with black teenage girls to encourage the next generation of BAME theatre makers and creators.

Emmy remains a great supporter of the University, visiting often to mentor current students and host workshops, as well as offering paid internships to students and recent graduates.    

Sade Dobbs

University of Salford logo

BA (Hons) Visual Arts, class of 2018

Using the Salford graduate scholarship and mentoring programme as a springboard, Sade has developed a multimedia art practice exploring a contemporary and autobiographical understanding of gender and identity. 

In 2018 Sade was commissioned by the Tate Collective to produce a piece of work. The film ‘Posturin’ was then promoted on their social media for Black History Month. This was followed by Sade’s inclusion in the BBZBLKBK alternative graduate show at the Copeland Gallery in London the same year. 

Since then Sade has spoken publicly about their practice and also had their first solo show, ‘NOW WHAT’ at DKUK, London. They have also been reported in several publications including,, and as part of the Class of 2018 feature in the Double Negative.

Sade currently has a solo exhibition at the Outpost Gallery in Norwich and is being mentored by Turner prize winning artist Lubaina Himid. They continue to practice alongside a full-time job at the University of Salford and have an upcoming show alongside the well-known British artist Sarah Hardacre at Paper Gallery.   

Dr Mingxu Sun

a photograph of Dr Mingxu Sun

MSc Manufacturing Systems and PhD Management/Computer Sciences, class of 2010 and 2014

Dr Mingxu Sun completed his postdoctoral studies at Salford before founding a new company, Bei-Ming, based in Jinan. He is focussed on developing functioning electrical stimulation (FES) systems, helping patients to regain movement following a stroke.

Mingxu is also making a positive impact on the care and treatment of people who have lost limbs or have major injuries. In particular, he has established a new unit for gait analysis in a major hospital in Jinan. His work helps people to overcome their injuries and increases their quality of life, as well as allowing them to return to work and provide for their families.

Mingxu is a true advocate of the School of Health & Society and the University. He has worked hard in developing relationships with many in the education and health fields in Jinan and has opened doors for us in the local area in support of student recruitment and partnership opportunities. 

Mingxu continues to share his knowledge and regularly mentors students and has been proactive in identifying potential funding opportunities for student bursaries and scholarships.