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Psychology student overcomes vicious attack to graduate with a first-class degree.

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Celine Andreu described as 'one of the outstanding students of the year' 

By Lee Pinkerton

It was a true instance of triumphing over adversity when University of East London (UEL) psychology student Celine Andreu recently graduated with first-class honours, two years after she was the victim of a random, vicious attack.

Celine moved to London from Paris, France in 2013 and enrolled on UEL’s BSc (Hons) Psychology programme.

She said, “I came to London because I couldn't find any course in France that I would feel happy to enrol in. Psychology in France is very different from the UK. I choose UEL because it seemed open-minded and diverse, which is exactly what I was looking for.”

For the summer break between the second and third years of her degree, Celine secured an internship in an executive research company.  But three days before she was due to start, she suffered a vicious, unprovoked attack in the stairwell of her building in Bethnal Green, where she was living at the time.

During the attack Celine had clumps of her hair pulled out and was stabbed with a syringe before escaping and alerting the police.  The attacker was later arrested and Celine returned to Paris for treatment for her injuries and blood tests. This resulted in her being unable to take up her work placement. 

Celine returned to UEL for her third year, but started to suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She received counselling and support from UEL’s Student Health and Wellbeing Team.

“The wellbeing team is amazing” Celine said.  “They saved me. Michael Owens, the counsellor I saw at UEL, did such incredible work with me.  I don’t know how I would have done it without them.”

Celine’s hard work and determination paid off, and last week she graduated with a first-class honours degree. She plans to now do an MSc in Human Resources Management and International Employment Relations at the London School of Economics. 

Celine’s lecturer, Dr Richard Ralley, was full of praise for the brave student. 

He said, “Academically, I would put Celine in the top 1 per cent of students whom I’ve met in the twenty years of my teaching who are willing to challenge and exploit their intellect. She is likely our outstanding student in her year, in terms of her character, drive and engagement.

“She’s also been an outstanding student to have at UEL from the students’ point of view. Celine has a very positive, friendly and open character of the kind that naturally inspires confidence and trust. For that reason, she has been a real contribution and inspiration for the group of students on our course.”