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Amy Ekins-Coward

Whilst studying, I boosted my CV by working part time in admin positions (such as for the University Careers Service and a distance-learning company) whilst also undertaking many voluntary opportunities and internships. I interned for Mslexia magazine and Flambard Press, and volunteered with Success 4 All, teaching English as a second language to children and teens with English as a second language. I also helped run a creative writing club for refugees, worked with New Writing North and Durham City Arts and The AV Festival running events, and I'm sure there's much more I've since forgotten!

Where are you doing now?

I'm presently a Senior Project Manager & Marketing Coordinator at Wearset, and have been here since 2010. I manage the production of academic and educational textbooks, managing budgets, schedules, freelancers, and authors from manuscript to print stage.  Outside of work, I'm a poet. My first pamphlet, titled Nonplaced, was published with erbacce-press in 2013, and I've spent the past year in a development programme with The Poetry School as part of my 2013 Northern Writers Award - I was awarded the New Poets Bursary. I'm lucky that my company has been supportive of my writing - I completed a full time MRes in Creative Writing at Northumbria University 2011-2012, for which I was awarded the University's fee waiver scholarship, whilst working four days a week. It was a challenge, but I got there in the end!

How did studying at Northumbria help you achieve your career goals/ give your career an edge?

I was fortunate to have a very supportive group of tutors at University. In my first year, my dad suddenly passed away, which was quite a blow at 18. The University helped me keep on track with my course, and the staff inspired me to keep going, in all aspects. I'm still in contact with some of my tutors now, and own many of their books.

What was the best thing about your course?

The course content. My favourite literarture module was 'Vamps and Virgins' run by Melanie Waters - it was such an eye-opener, I'd study that module all over again if I could! Northumbria had (and I'm sure still has) a great feminist streak running through its literature department, and it helped to shape me into a proud feminist today.

Who inspired you the most, and why?

The arrival of Michael Green in my final year was a wonderful experience. I was actually on the student panel that chose the new creative writing lecturer, and Michael had my vote hands down, so it was great when he arrived the following semester and was appointed as my final year supervisor! He was fully supportive of my prose poetry dissertation, though the University had not had such a dissertation before, and his knowledge in the field was really motivational.

Which skills/ knowledge did you learn on your course that you use most now/ throughout your career?

Multi-tasking, without a doubt. As a joint-honours student, you're straddling two worlds at times, which can be challenging. Not only this, however - I also learned how to research, how to stick it out and head off to the library when I finished work at 9pm and still get up at 9am for a lecture. I can juggle over twenty titles at any given time at work, and it doesn't phase me, because multi-tasking is now in my nature. In fact, I very much enjoy it!

What did you enjoy most about your time at Northumbria University?

At Northumbria my eyes were opened to worlds I never knew existed, coming from a Catholic school in a small town. I met people whose input and support I value to this day, be it people from my course, lecturers, or the many creatives I met at University events. I am forever changed, and forever grateful for my experiences at Northumbria.

What advice would you give somebody who is thinking of studying at Northumbria?

Look at the course content - if it grabs your interest, go for it. Newcastle is an amazing city to live in (I'm up at Cullercoats now, the beautiful North East coast which you can get to by metro!) and you're in a great position to find work, voluntary opportunities, and culture whilst you study.

How would you describe your time at Northumbria in 3 words?

Exciting, reviving, progressive.

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