UEL alumna is runner up at award ceremony
University of East London graduate Allison Vitalis selected joint second at British Education Awards
University of East London graduate Allison Vitalis was
selected joint second at the prestigious British Education Awards (BEA) in
Manchester on Thursday 30 January.
Allison’s selection in the ‘Degree Category (England Zone 2)’ recognised her work as a curriculum ambassador with the University’s widening participation team and her work with a charity helping victims of knife crime.
Allison said, "I was delighted to have been selected as one of the top two runners up in the British Education Awards, and really happy to be recognised on a national Level. It’s been a thrilling experience to attend the awards ceremony in Manchester and a great honour and I was really excited to attend.
“This, on top of getting a first-class degree at the University of East London last year and winning a NEON education award, is really fantastic, especially after all the tough times I have been through trying to achieve my goals and bring up a family.”
Allison, 44, from Hackney, achieved a first-class degree in clinical and community psychology in November. She also won ‘Student of the Year’ at the 2019 National Education Opportunities Network (NEON) Awards.
Allison was a student at University while also raising Brandon, 19, and Ariètte, 8, as a single mother.
Since earning her degree, Allison has stepped up her voluntary work helping victims of knife crime. She is passionate about wanting to help young people at risk and families who have been affected by such crime.
Her charity work
includes being a volunteer project director of The Charlie Burns Foundation and
The Shaquan Sammy-Plummer Foundation.
Allison’s goal is to obtain a PhD. She aims to take a one-year break to continue working with her foundations as well as pursue other community projects and objectives, before returning to the University of East London for postgraduate study.
Allison said she hopes to use her degree to further support her community.
The British Education Awards recognise the outstanding academic and extracurricular achievements of students – and it is the only education event in the UK that celebrates individual success on a national platform. Winners are considered ambassadors for British education, representing the best that can be achieved through dedication and hard work, whether at school, college, university or vocational level.
Allison came joint second with Lucy Arman from Canterbury Christ Church University and the award winner was Shirley Liu from the University of Cambridge.
Allison and other nominees in her category were evaluated on criteria including grades, extracurricular activities, community awareness and entrepreneurship.
Allison first became interested in helping victims of knife crime in 2016 while working part-time with the Hackney Playstreet organisation. The organisation’s work includes arranging for streets to be closed off at times so young people can freely play.
Allison said, “It was
at that point I became aware of the effects of knife crime. Then my nephew
Ramone, who is now 25, got stabbed. That made me even more convinced that
something had to be done. Fortunately, he has recovered.
“I hope that the work I am doing is helping save lives and I hope that I have helped provide comfort to parents and families who have lost children through this kind of crime.”