1990s Class notes

Mark Bickerton (MA Playwriting Studies, 1990)

Mark Bickerton, MAPS 90, has been promoted to Series Story Producer at Emmerdale. Having written for radio, stage and numerous soaps, principally Coronation Street, for the past 20 years, he's delighted to be given an opportunity to build on Emmerdale's strength and popularity.

Alison MacTier (BA English, 1990)

I graduated in 1990 and have been director of the Retreat Association since 2007. More info about the charity is at www.retreats.org.uk

Tushar Patel (BSc Software Engineering & Computer Science, 1990)

I graduated in 1990 and have been director of the Retreat Association since 2007. 

Chris Hitchcock (MSocSc Tourism & Leisure Services, 1991)

I graduated in 1991 with an MSocSci, as a mature student. After leaving Birmingham, I moved to work in heritage gardens with jobs in the National Trust, and the charity garden sector. Most recently I was Head Gardener of the Painswick Rococo Garden Trust, famous for its mass display of snowdrops. I have now moved back as Head Gardener of the Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens Trust in Solihull – a restored 17/18th century formal garden, which receives a lot of support from the local community to keep this wonderful historic garden open.

Gary Leibowitz (BA Economics/Politics, 1991)

I'm completing a decade as Investor Relations Director for the UK's largest beverage company, SABMiller plc.

Younis Salik (MBA International Business, 1991)

I was just remembering Birmingham last night when I heard news on TV about Malala Yousan Zai, who got admission in Edgbaston, Birmingham. I’m presently passing my retired life at my recently bought house in Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan.

Liz Broomfield (BA English, 1992)

I returned to Birmingham in 2005 with my partner, who went on to take a Master's at the University himself. He still works at the University. I worked at the Library until December 2011, when I took my freelancing career full time. I'm an editor, transcriber and proofreader, specialising in work by non-native English speakers and try to support other small businesses in various ways, too. Do visit Libro Editing if you want to know more and you can drop me a line through the website if you remember me!

Tom Coulter (DipEd Special Education; Hearing Impaired, 1992)

I’m working out here in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea as a volunteer with Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO). I am working as a Teacher Trainer (Special Education – Hearing Impairment) with a local health and disability NGO called Callan Services for Disabled Persons.

I qualified as a Teacher of the Deaf at the University of Birmingham in 1992 when I was awarded the Diploma in Education (Special Education; Hearing Impaired). I subsequently went on to eventually become a special school head teacher in London but in 2012 decided to take on a new challenge after nine years of headship – hence my adventure with VSO!

This is an important year for VSO, as it’s celebrating its 55th anniversary. It’s also my 55th birthday too, so VSO is looking to be using material about some of my work in its recruitment activities for new volunteers.

Katie Milbourn ( née Bosomworth) (BSc Geography, 1993)

Katie, set up Walby Farm Park with her husband in 2008, successfully establishing a farm visitor attraction within the constraints of World Heritage Site, alongside a now mainly beef and arable farm. It has won many awards since its inception, including National Farm Attraction of the Year 2010.

She is currently taking a break from her land agency career but in professional life is a Chartered Surveyor (Rural Practice). She ran the Rural Property Sales team for Penrith Farmers’ & Kidd’s plc and prior to that worked for Savills plc in York.

Dr Wendy Grist (MBChB, 1994)

Wendy has branched out into pastures new. Having stopped work to have a family several years ago, she has recently swapped the stethoscope for the pen and signed up with HarperCollins Publishers under their new women’s fiction digital first imprint HarperImpulse using her married name, Wendy Lou Jones. Her book, The Songbird and the Soldier, has been released to outstanding reviews on both Amazon and Goodreads and is available to download now and expected to arrive in paperback in the near future.

Married to a graduate of the same year, Dr Andy Jones, Wendy is currently living in Herefordshire with her husband and their two boys. You can find her at harperimpulseromance.com and facebook.com/escapeintolove.

Milton Mambo Moyo (PG Diploma in Development Finance, 1994)

I retired in January 2013 after 30 years as Treasurer of a Rural District Council.

Adelakun Sariat (MEd Special Education, 1994)

I am currently on MPhil/PhD at the School of Education University of Birmingham, UK since January 2011.

Magdy Ali (MBA International Banking & Finance, 1995)

I am currently working in Kuwait as a Senior Economist in a leading regional financial institution, wholly owned by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Its member countries are Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain and the UAE.

After I graduated from the University of Birmingham with an MBA in International Banking and Finance within the British Government Scholarship scheme, I got another scholarship from the USAID to obtain a PhD in Economics and Finance from George Mason University, VA, USA.

Shortly after I got my PhD degree in 2003, I was lucky to get another scholarship from the Mansion House, the Mayor of London to have a training course with the Bank of England, the Centre for Central Banking Studies (CCBS). I had been working in GIC since 2006, after I left the Arab Monetary Fund, Abu Dhabi, UAE, which I joined while I was on leave from the Central Bank of Egypt.

Nicholas Charalambous (BA English Language & Literature, 1995)

I am now a multimedia storyteller at the 25,000-member NewSpring Church in South Carolina, USA, one of the nation's largest Protestant churches.

Robert Vesty (BA Drama and Theatre Arts, 1995)

I am a Lecturer in Performing Arts at Middlesex University. I'm training to be a Feldenkrais practitioner and doing a PhD at Royal Holloway in Drama under scholarship.

Louise Arnold (BA General Honours with American Studies, 1996)

Louise Arnold is Managing Director of Peninsula Care Homes Ltd – a family-run group of residential and nursing homes for the elderly, specialising in dementia care. The five homes are all located in Devon.

Leon Golding (MPhil Theology, 1996)

I'm now the new Suffragan Bishop of Montego Bay, Diocese of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.

Amelia Marriette (MA Shakespeare Studies, 1996)

Since graduating with an MA in Shakespeare Studies from the Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-upon-Avon, I have done some very exciting things. Working part time at the Royal Shakespeare Company, whilst studying in Stratford, I accidentally fell into curating. I loved the work and was so keen and persistent that the then Curator, David Howells, gave me a budget and a free rein and off I went.

I exhibited 99 paintings and objects across four spaces and the whole process was thrilling. This experience led immediately to a full-time post as the Curator of the Holst Birthplace Museum in Cheltenham, a post I held for a little over three years. During this time I trained as a curator at St Andrews University. Then I went on to the Keeper of Art post at Torre Abbey in Torquay.

Since being in post in Devon I have worked on two international exhibitions: exhibiting the work of Antony Gormley and Damien Hirst. I arranged 27 exhibitions in three years and have also worked on two multi-million pound refurbishments, planning the galleries and hanging the art.

Last year I launched a freelance curating business, Impact Through Art, and now have a business partner who is an engineer and an architect. Together we have designed and launched state-of-the-art hanging systems for fine art. Our designs came off the production line a month ago and our first contracts are now appearing, thankfully.

My MA in Shakespeare Studies? Well, this has given me a passion for theatre and my most recent play – about Gustav Holst called Nuf Ced has just been accepted for development by Restless Theatre company. We are in talks with the amazingly pioneering Devon-based theatre company Forkbeard Fantasy, which is going to advise and help develop the play, which will hopefully succeed as both a theatrical and concert experience.

In my spare time I volunteer as a radio presenter, presenting Amelia's Culture Show, for one hour a week. This gives me the opportunity to share insights into the art and culture that I am lucky enough to have access to on a daily basis. My first radio play was broadcast by Riviera FM and Soundart Radio, Dartington in June 2012. Amelia's Culture Show was awarded 'Best Drama and Culture Programming' in December 2012.
My first degree with the Open University set me on a journey and my MA gave me the confidence to take on new challenges, if I had not resigned from my post at the Ministry of Defence to read for my MA in 1994, I would have been better off financially but I would not have done the fun things that I have done, I would not have launched my business or become a radio presenter; neither would I have met my partner, Katie Gayle – an Austrian contemporary jeweller who fortunately came to England over 30 years ago for a weekend and has never left. I am very lucky.

Michelle Sheehan (PGCE Education, 1996)

I am still living in the same house in the same French village near the Alps, I did some supply teaching replacing French teachers teaching English for a short time. Now I am fully retired from paid employment… but not idle! I try helping a history group who research, write and publish articles on the history of the religious/medical/charitable Order of the Antonines who started here in the 10th century and spread throughout Europe until the 17th when they merged with the Order of Malta.

Our research work is similar to that of the German Antoniter Forum in Eisenheim (Alsace, home of a world-famous triptych) who publish a yearly magazine in German, Italian and French. We would like to become fully European and introduce an English section because we know the Order was well established in UK long before Henry VIII. For instance we know that one of their main buildings stood on the site of what is now the Bank of England and that Sir Thomas More was educated by them there! We are also linked to a research branch of the CNRS that is situated on the campus of Saint-Etienne University and I wonder if Birmingham alumni having studied medicine, history, theology or French with history or even current students and their lecturers would be interested in doing some research?

Richard Whittington (Honorary LLD, 1996)

I am an honorary graduate (LLD), now happily retired in Oxford.

Laurence Anthony (MA English, 1997; PhD Applied Linguistics, 2002)

I was awarded the National Prize of the Japan Association for English Corpus Studies (JAECS) at the end of 2012. Read more about the award on the Waseda University website

Joe Foulsham (BA Drama and Theatre Arts, 1997)

I am working at the Royal Shakespeare Company in the Fundraising Department. I haven’t set the world on fire!

Claudia (nee Harrison) and James Gray (1997)

We met at Birmingham in 1994, graduated in 1997; we married in 2003 – it's our 10-year anniversary this year. James worked for DFID in rural livelihoods division, and now farms in north Essex, running a joint-venture farming company. We have recently finished building and moved into an eco house, where we live with our three children. Claudia is an actress regularly working in TV and theatre. Her last job was The Painkiller in Belfast alongside Sir Kenneth Branagh and Rob Brydon.

Tümel Kantemir (MBA International Banking & Finance, 1997)

I’m working for ISBANK as a Business Partnerships Unit Manager.

Matthew Bug (BA Music, 1998)

Matthew is the composer and writer behind the hit musical, Miss Nightingale, the burlesque musical. The musical is touring the UK in Spring/Summer 2013, including a week in the West End. 

Poster advertising the musical Miss Nightingale

Sue Carroll (BPHIL, 1998)

I often go and have a walk in the grounds. I graduated in 1998, I was a mature student. I funded my degree myself and studied part time, whilst working full time and being a wife and mother. It was hard but enjoyable.

I began my studies as a mature student back in 1986. I began at Solihull College of Technology studying for the last GCEs and the first GCSEs. I then gained a Cert HE at Coventry University. In 1988, I commenced my RGN training, which I completed in 1991.

I worked at Dudley Road Hospital until 1994, when I transferred to District Nursing. I began working in the community as a staff nurse and, since qualifying, I had completed several in-house courses and extended roles, but it got to the point where I wasn't being stretched. I approached my employers with details of your part-time BPHIL course and applied for assistance with the funding.

As expected I was turned down. Their reason for refusal was 'they don't need staff nurses with degrees'. How forward thinking of them. So after much discussion with my husband, I began your BPHIL course. I completed the first year and was fortunate to be awarded a place at Wolverhampton University on the Community Health Studies course, this was funded by the Health Care Trust.

I deferred my BPHIL for 12 months and obtained my PGD at Wolverhampton. It was then back to Birmingham to complete my BPHIL. As you can see I have been 'around a bit', it's maybe because I am a Brummie that the University of Birmingham felt like coming home. I really enjoyed my time there.

I returned to district nursing, eventually becoming District Nurse Team Manager. I loved my job working with patients, some of whom were patients for many years, being allowed into their home and, in some cases, sharing part of their lives. I retired last year at the age of 55 to spend more time with my family.

Hsin-Wei (Alan) Huang (MBA IBA, 1998)

I am working in Project Finance for Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project in Brisbane, Australia. I have acquired and accumulated many years of financial experience in energy markets.

Sophie Hurst (BA French and German, 1998)

I worked in various marketing roles for 15 years, sometimes using my languages, sometimes presenting in the languages, sometimes training people in business. I got to a senior level – VP Corporate Marketing in a company of 2,500 employees and in 70 countries.

And now I have decided to change and use that experience as a marketing consultant for small to medium-sized businesses. I didn't become Prime Minister or a pop star or anything ;-)

Maroussia Oakley (BA English, 1998; MA English Literature, 2001)

It's never too late to start: I was the oldest student in my year when I began my degree course in English in 1995. I subsequently graduated from Birmingham with a BA (Hons) in English in 1998, and gained an MA (with Distinction) in English Literature: Meaning and the Production, Transmission and Editing of Texts, also from Birmingham, in 2001.

For some years I was an independent scholar, researching into Pre-Raphaelite book illustration, but in 2008 I began studying for a PhD at the Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London, under the joint supervision of Professor Simon Eliot and Professor Paul Goldman. I was awarded my doctorate by the University of London in December 2012.

I was 65 in March 2012, but I am continuing my research into Victorian publishing and book illustration and still writing articles for scholarly journals.

Budi Santosa (MSc Project Management & Engineering, 1998)

I am currently in Bali, Indonesia. I work as a Project Consultant and Investment Consultant, mostly in Indonesia and south east Asia. Hotels and resorts, residences, golf clubs, plantations and mines are some areas of investment in my experience.

I remember a lot of nice things about the University and I plan to come visit this year around September.

Sultan Al Salem (MSc Water Resources Technology & Management, 1999)

I did an MSc in Water Resources Technology and Management, in the Civil Engineering Department, graduating in 1999. After that I did my PhD at Leeds Uni, graduated from the Civil Engineering Department in 2004.

I went back home and worked in several places – currently, I am the COO in Rafal Real Estate, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Sarika Bose (PhD English Literature, 1999)

I completed my PhD in English literature (writing on Oscar Wilde and Victorian Theatre) in 1999 with Professor Russell Jackson. I have been teaching since September 1999 as a lecturer at the University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada) in the English Department.

Matt Hudson (BA Geography, 1999)

I have recently completed 12 years working for Colchester United FC as their Media and Marketing Manager. We have changed a lot in the time that I’ve worked here, as has the world of media, of course.

John Kobia Ataya (MA Translation Studies (Linguistics), 1999; PhD English, 2006)

I am an alumnus of the School of English. I am currently Deputy Vice Chancellor at Kenya Methodist University.

George Pollock (MD Public Health & Epidemiology, 1999)

I received my MD in Public Health and Epidemiology from Birmingham in December 1999. My first degree was an MBChB from Aberdeen 1953 and so my MD represented research carried out, almost as a hobby, after I had retired from full-time work, but still had an honorary appointment at the University.
The possession of the MD opened many doors. I received Wellcome Trust research grants, which allowed me to carry out epidemiological studies in Poland and Uganda, leading to my first book Fevers and Cultures, Radcliffe Medical Press, 2003. My second book, published by Springer in 2012, was entitled An Epidemiological Odyssey.
I am currently Chairman of the Education and Training Committee of the Birmingham Medical Institute in Edgbaston.

In conjunction with the University of Birmingham's Centre for the History of Medicine, I present Medical History Evenings, discussing public health within subjects such as 'The good old, bad old days: Changes in medical care with the introduction of the NHS'.

Iran Suarez (PG Cert Health Management, 1999)

For the past six years I have been working as the General Medical Director of ISSSTE, the second public institution in México. I'm currently doing strategic planning work in medical equipment in Puebla, México.

Winifred Yin (PhD Shakespeare Studies, 1999)

I completed a PG Dip in Shakespeare Studies in 1991 and an MPhil (Art) English in 1992, before doing my PhD.  I'm still working at the Theatre Arts Department of the National Sun Yat-sen University, Taiwan. This is my fifth year.