University of Brighton Alumni Association

The students getting ahead thanks to the generosity of others

The Brighton Effect impact report for 2020-21 highlights some of the stories behind the 686 students who accessed funding and opportunities made possible by philanthropic donations over the last year. Overall, £430,779 was given during this period from a range of donors including local businesses, charities, staff and students.

Here, the Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement Department shares the stories of four students who have been supported through this philanthropic funding as they discuss the impact this support has had on their university experience so far, and what it means for their bright futures.


Ilon Sofair-Stevens, Environmental Sciences BSc(Hons), 3rd year. Recipient of the Santander Universities Undergraduate Research Scheme, an opportunity for undergraduate students in the middle years of their degree to work with academics on a real-life research project.

“The internship enabled me to work with my lecturers on a piece of active research looking at landslide risk assessments, which involved Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Mapping. If we manage to get the piece of work published, it could potentially save thousands of lives.

“Getting to work with my lecturers on some active research really contextualised what we are studying. It was really eye-opening and allowed me to bond with peers and lecturers in person – an important part of the learning process, considering I started my degree during lockdown.”


Calebtina Peprah, Pharmacy MPharm, 2nd year. Recipient of the Black and Black Mixed Heritage Scholarship, a three-year scholarship for Home/UK students with black or black mixed heritage.

“I am studying pharmacy and I plan on going into hospital pharmacy, or industry pharmacy, although I’m not quite decided on that yet. This scholarship has benefited me so much, and I would say that if not for the scholarship, I wouldn’t have had as much personal development or self-confidence. I have become a course rep and a student ambassador and I’m also mentoring secondary school kids and volunteering. I did a summer placement and I’m part of the Students’ Union trustee board. I don’t think I would have been able to do any of these things without the support of this scholarship and the confidence it has given me.


Kristian Floate, Music Business and Media BA(Hons), 2nd year. Recipient of the Progression Scholarship, a one year scholarship supporting students from a low income background.

“This scholarship has really allowed me to make the most of my university experience. The funding not only allowed some financial security, but I’ve also been able to become a course representative and I’ve applied to be a student ambassador. I’m studying music business and media, and I have specific interests in radio, social media, and artist management. Because of the funding I’ve received, I’ve been able to venture beyond Brighton and go into London for a work placement as part of one of my modules.”


Madeline Mcclellan, Criminology and Sociology BA(Hons), 3rd year. Wellbeing Champion: a three-tier funded programme for students who want to learn how to enhance their own wellbeing and others in their community.

“As a Wellbeing Champion I have been involved in ‘walk my dog’, one of the university’s wellbeing initiatives. It’s a hugely important wellbeing activity for first year students as it’s such a transitional year for them. As champions, we’re able to step in and offer support in challenging situations, just by being there and chatting while walking dogs. It’s been a wonderful learning process, and without this funding, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity. It’s been so important to hear about the variety of reasons students need support and how we can work with them to improve their situations.”



Marnie Middlemiss, Director of Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement, said: “We’re so proud of the accomplishments of these students. We are looking forward to building on the success of the Student Potential Fund with our second annual Giving Day taking place from 5 to 6 April 2022. There are so many ways to get involved – Ilon, one of our recipients, is running in the university’s Brighton Marathon team and I’ll be running the 10k!”


Find out how you can get involved in helping students reach their full potential. Visit the Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement Office or get in touch:



Meredith Brooklyn • January 17, 2022

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