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Robyn Kerr content student at graduation 2023

Robyn Kerr

Despite being dyslexic, Robyn Kerr (33) was determined to become a writer. That ambition led to her studying at UHI Inverness and now she’s celebrating achieving a BA (Hons) in Creative Writing in the Highlands and Islands.

Robyn, a former au pair in America who studied online from her home in Glasgow, has released her first book 'Failing Adult' and is now writing her second book.

She said: "Without studying creative writing, I would never have written my first book or known anything about self-publishing. I’m currently working on my second and hope to continue studies next year in teaching.

“I loved receiving and giving feedback on creative work. I love the people I met throughout my course, not only my classmates, but people from my work experience and I loved that I was able to still work and study.”

Meilan Simanjuntak content students at graduation 2023

Meilan Simanjuntak

A move from Belgium to Inverness proved to be the right one for married couple Meilan Simanjuntak and Scott Kinsman who graduated together.

Meilan (41) studied BA (Hons) Literature and her husband, Scott (41) studied BSc Networking and Cyber security.

Meilan said: “We lived in Belgium and in the summer of 2019 we moved to Inverness, where my husband grew up, so he could start his course in Computer Science. I decided a year later to also follow my passion to get that degree I always dreamed of.

“I loved discovering new books, authors and genres; things I would never pick up in a bookstore myself. Doing this course definitely broadened my world. I’m also thankful for the other students in my course. I might be what is called a mature student, but they never made me feel like I did not belong. I always felt included, and I get on very well with them all.”

Meilan started the degree as a hobby, but is now studying an MA in Victorian Gothic at the University of Portsmouth. Scott works as a Cyber Security Engineer at Capgemini and says studying at UHI Inverness provided a stepping stone towards the right career path for him.

History BA (Hons) Graduate: Katherine Davidson content student facing camera

History BA (Hons) Graduate: Katherine Davidson

Katherine Davidson (21) studied full time for a BA (Hons) History and her dedication to her studies resulted in her being the first winner of the new annual TA Sillars Prize, awarded to a history or literature student at UHI who has shown tremendous work ethic. 

From Glasgow, Katherine considered universities closer to home but chose UHI Inverness due to her family connections to the area and the positive experiences of relatives who had studied at the university. 

Katherine, who was drawn to the diverse career opportunities that a history degree opened up, appreciated the small class sizes and personal interaction with lecturers, which she felt allowed her to thrive academically. 

She said: “Being in a small class, you did not fade away into the background due to the teaching styles. Also, with the course being online, it was convenient instead of travelling into the college building as you could work straight after class instead of commuting. Staff were always encouraging. They provided constructive feedback on assessments and opportunities to discuss work further. 

The location of UHI Inverness is great. The library facilities were fantastic with plenty of desk and computer spaces available throughout the day. The staff were always helpful, answering queries and acquiring books from other UHI sites.” 

Katherine had the opportunity to do some voluntary work at a local museum, which sparked her interest in a career in the museum sector. This, along with other opportunities provided by UHI Inverness, led her to pursue a Master's degree in Museum Studies at the University of Glasgow. 

“The analytical and writing skills I developed on my course at UHI Inverness will be integral to a future career, as well as the general time management skills and balancing life and work to meet deadlines,” she said.  

History BA (Hons) Graduate: Michael Cutts content michael cutts - headshot

History BA (Hons) Graduate: Michael Cutts

“I really like the excellent facilities at UHI Inverness, and the whole experience was one of the best things I have ever done.

“I considered the Open University but was attracted to UHI Inverness as ‘my local university’, and I liked the mix of self-study and classes, and the specific course on offer.

“I specifically wanted to study history at a higher level, and the location and method of teaching were particularly attractive to me. I liked the variety of modules on offer, including the opportunity to study other humanity modules, as well as the friendliness and accessibility of the teaching staff.”

Michael (57) from Aviemore graduated in September 2022.

He has wise advice for future history degree students:

“Once enrolled, plan your time each week, and attend classes, even if you haven’t managed to do all the required reading. Don’t be afraid to speak in class, the more you engage the more you benefit.”