Victoria Abiola Akinyode, alumna, LLM International Human Rights & Development, scholarship recipient
"It was a difficult time for me," she says. "Five days after being made redundant, my ex husband and I separated. We later divorced, and I found myself claiming Job Seekers' Allowance for a year. It felt as though my life was passing me by, so I decided to retrain and try a new career path. It turned out to be the best decision I've ever made."
Victoria scoured the internet and the UCAS website looking for the right opportunity for her, eventually deciding to study an LLB (Hons) Law at LSBU after attending an Open Day. After three years of hard work, Victoria graduated in 2014 – but she wasn't finished there.
"I decided to study the LLM International Human Rights & Development," says Victoria. "Having researched the course, I felt confident that it would help me to become a specialist in international human rights, giving me the tools I need to make a difference."
To fund her studies, Victoria applied for a Vice-Chancellor's Scholarship in the Community category. Thanks to her outstanding record of helping the community in a variety of ways, she was successful. The scholarship is open to graduates with a 2:2 or higher who have made a significant contribution to the local community in Lambeth, Southwark or Lewisham.
"When I found out I had been awarded the scholarship, I was ecstatic!" says Victoria. "It really lifted my spirits and made me realise that all the extra-curricular activities I had undertaken during my undergraduate degree had been recognised. The letter from the Vice-Chancellor informing me of my award really captured the essence of my active student life at LSBU."
The award made a big difference to Victoria. "I'm a firm believer in God, so I am sure that I would have found the funding for my studies one way or another," she says. "Some of the alternatives were not ideal though – such as borrowing from friends or family, or even having to defer to another academic year. "Instead, Victoria was delighted to accept the scholarship, and intends to put the skills it is enabling her to acquire to good use in the future.
"I want to be a unifying force in the world, bridging the gap between the good and the not-so-good people of this world," she says. I want to educate those who don't know right from wrong as well as those who know the difference, but choose the wrong path. The Vice-Chancellor's Scholarship from LSBU has given me the opportunity to further my studies and make that dream a reality."