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Ashleigh Blackwood

Where are you from?

Gateshead.

Why did you choose Northumbria University, Newcastle?

As soon as I arrived at my first open day at Northumbria I knew that studying here was an attractive idea. I was drawn to being part of a dynamic, modern institution which is constantly working to grow and develop. The departments which I have studied appeared very supportive from the outset and I liked the idea of being able to make choices about the content of my studies. 

What do you think of Newcastle and our region and what are your favourite things to do?

Newcastle and the wider region is a great place to be and I know so many people who associate their time as a student with the area. My favourite things to do include going to the coast and visiting great organisations like the Lit + Phil Library. 

What has surprised you most about living in Newcastle and this region? What has impressed you most?

The most appealing and underrated secret of living here is the acessibility which is offered by being close to the city, countryside and the coast. Public transport and road links make it exceptionally easy to find yourself somewhere different to explore. 

Did you find Northumbria University welcoming?  Was it easy to fit in?

From my first days as a Northumbria student I instantly felt like I was in a familiar and safe place. I quickly got to knowing my way around and met an amazing amount of people who have always ensured that it feels like home. 

What have you enjoyed most about coming to Northumbria University?

I love being part of a department of people, both staff and students, who can share and develop my interests. Since being on my current course I have had a wide variety of extra-curricular opportunities through working with those around me including presenting at public and academic events, being involved as a research consultant and curating assistant on public exhibitions and writing for publication. 

Who has helped you most since you came to Northumbria?

My Principal Supervisor Professor Clark Lawlor has been hugely supportive during both my current and previous studies. From my first meeting with him, Clark has helped me to give direction and shape to my academic work, combining my interests in a range of different fields to create studies which are new, innovative and exciting. He provides good guidance at each turning point and works to find new opportunities for me wherever possible. 

Who has inspired you most at Northumbria University?

My first supervisor as a final year undergraduate Dr. Jon Robinson is still an inspiration to me today. Jon taught me much about research, pursuing interests and how to break new ground with both reading and writing. His realistic view and supportive nature to all students have had a significant impact, developing my potential and leading me to new goals that I might never have aspired to otherwise. 

What is your favourite place on campus?

My favourite place has to be the Quad which is almost the central hub of many of the services which Northumbria offers students including the Library, Student Support and Wellbeing and the Students' Union as well as buildings for academic teaching and learning. In the summer the Quad fills with students and it provides the perfect snapshot of the community which Northumbria staff and students create for themselves. 

Have you joined any sports teams, clubs or been involved in any volunteer projects?  Tells us about the highlights?

I have been involved in the Students' Union in different ways for as long as I have been at Northumbria. The projects and opportunities offered to students through the SU ensure that each individual has the chance to graduate with an additional set of skills and even more fantastic memories than you'll make on  your programme. 

What is the best thing about your course?

My current course allows me to explore my own ideas and shape my studies while still being fully supported by my supervision team. I have been encouraged to test my ideas and stretch myself to achieve in ways I never thought I could. 

What are the most valuable lessons you have learnt to date?

At Northumbria I have learned that if a student is willing and ready to learn and devote time and effort to making the most of their experience, there are always people who will help make your aspirations a reality. 

What do you want to do in the future?  What skills have you learned/improved that you think will be of most use in your future career?

My experience at Northumbria has shown me that my interests lie in higher education, research and learning and teaching. Since coming to the University I have learned skills in research, authorship, teaching and finding new ways to communicate with different audiences. All of these things have already proved beneficial to my professional development and are likely to inform much of my future. 

Have you worked on any projects with businesses or been on a placement?  What were your most memorable experiences?

My current course is my third at the University having completed both my undergraduate and postgraduate taught qualifications here so I have a whole range of wonderful memories from 2 incredible graduations, working with wonderful staff teams both within my course and in my experience as a student representative. 

Have you taken up any opportunities to travel with your current course/undertake field trips?  If so, please tell us about them.

As a postgraduate research student I am often involved in travelling for conferences and events which is always exciting. I've attended events both independently and with other staff and students. The University supports my development in this way and takign opportunities like this has led me to becoming involved in some great projects. 

If you could offer some advice to students thinking of coming to study here what would you say?

Come to an open day and find out more about what interests you. The University had a particular feel for me that has never disappeared and all students deserve to feel a connection to their university. Student experience is about taking ownership of your studies and so much more, all of which Northumbria offers. 

How do you feel you have changed as a person since being at Northumbria University, Newcastle (e.g. confidence)?

Since being at Northumbria my whole idea of myself and who I might become has changed. This includes my career aspirations, the skills and employability attributes which I have developed and my subject knowledge. All of these things and more have made me a more confident and happier person and I enjoy each day I spend at the University. 

If you had 3 words to sum up your time with us what would they be?

Exciting, Inspiring, Creative.

Would you recommend Northumbria University to a friend?

I have recommended Northumbria on a number of occassions and several people whom I have spoken to about this have joined the University since I first enrolled. 

For more information about me, visit:

Twitter: @historylitmed, https://northumbria.academia.edu/AshleighBlackwood 


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