RGU students celebrate scholarship success

Five students at Robert Gordon University (RGU) are celebrating winning scholarships which will support them through their studies.

L-R Marta Czerwinska, Angela-May West, Rory Cooke, Mark Roach and Ryan JardineManagement with Marketing student Angela-May West (18), Mechanical and Offshore Engineering student Rory Cooke (18) and Law and Management student Marta Czerwinska (18) have all won scholarships from oil and natural gas company Canadian Natural Resources International (CNRI).

The company has pledged a total of £50,000 to support one business scholarship, one engineering scholarship and an ACCESS RGU scholarship per year over the next four years.

The scholarship scheme was launched last year following discussions between RGU alumnus and CNRI’s Vice President of Finance, Barry Duncan, and The RGU Foundation.

The initiative aims to encourage enthusiastic, talented individuals to pursue a university degree and release their potential, whatever their background.

Commercial Photography student Ryan Jardine (20) is the second recipient of the Baillie Gifford Creative Scholarship, funded by Baillie Gifford & Co., an independent investment partnership headquartered in Edinburgh.

The company has made a multi-year pledge of £24,000 to fund the new bursary scheme aimed at supporting young people who wish to study at Gray's School of Art, with each student receiving £1,500 per annum to finance their studies.

The scholarship aims to encourage students who might not otherwise attend Gray's School of Art to apply, linking in with the university’s widening participation programme, ACCESS RGU.

In addition, Communication Design student Mark Roach (23) is the first winner of the Ena Baxter Memorial Scholarship in Creative Arts.

The award has been established by The Gordon and Ena Baxter Foundation and will provide funding up to the value of £2,000 per year for four years, while ACCESS RGU will also receive £500 per year to support their work facilitating both the academic and personal success of students.

All scholarships were secured by The RGU Foundation, which exists to inspire donors to support the strategic aims of RGU.

Barry Duncan, Vice-President of Finance at CNR, said: “The heart of our Corporate Mission Statement focuses on developing people and working together. Nurturing young talent is incredibly important to CNR International - these students are the future of our industry. 

“Especially considering the current low commodity cycle, it is essential that we are able to maintain a stream of talent into the industry. As such, we are exceptionally proud of the scholarships we support and enjoy witnessing the hard work and dedication of the successful candidates. 

“Our employees are always keen to work closely with the students, offering mentoring, advice and experience when needed. I am confident that the scholarship program will continue to be mutually beneficial for both CNR International and for the promising students of Robert Gordon’s University.”

Nick Thomas, a partner at Baillie Gifford and member of the firm’s sponsorship committee, said: “As a firm our sponsorship programme covers three main areas: the arts, social responsibility and academic support.

“We are therefore delighted to be able to continue to support the ACCESS programme at Gray’s School of Art, touching as it does on all three of these important areas.”

The Gordon and Ena Baxter Foundation Manager, Kay Jackson, said: “Gordon and Ena spent their lifetime supporting the arts in many different ways. They were also keen to help young people strive to be the best they could be in their chosen field. 

“Ena often spoke of her happy student days in Aberdeen and it is a fitting tribute to her memory to create this scholarship at Gray’s School of Art. Trustees look forward to having a close involvement with RGU in this special project.”

Angela-May, who is from Inverallochy, near Fraserburgh, said: “I feel overwhelmed to have received the CNRI business scholarship. I'm really proud of myself and so are my family - it was a great confidence boost as well to know that a company like Canadian Natural Resources is behind me.

“The financial side of it the scholarship is a great perk but I think having a connection with a huge business like CNR is great and will benefit me in many ways.”

Rory, from Elgin, said: “I feel honoured to have been chosen for the CNRI scholarship which will help me enormously both financially and academically. To be mentored and supported by such a leading company in the oil and gas sector will help me to acquire the knowledge to achieve my maximum potential.

“I am confident with the support it will enable me to become technically skilled, talented and innovative and become an effective engineer in the industry.” 

Ryan, from Kelloholm, said: “I was beyond excited finding out I received the Baillie Gifford Creative Arts scholarship - I feel really lucky and honoured to be chosen and it gave me a little confidence boost.

“The funding will go a long way in helping me financially. It lifted a weight from my chest worrying about food and rent. Plus it will also help a lot towards my photography, having the option to travel more for photo shoots, being able to print high quality photos for portfolio and clients and having to option to buy necessary accessories such as photo bag or cleaning kits.”

Mark said: “I feel very honoured and surprised to receive the scholarship.

“Apart from lessening the every constant student financial woes, it will enable me to budget more on projects and to be able to start some personal projects on the side.”

ACCESS RGU is coordinated by the Wider Access and Outreach Team, based within the Study Skills and Access Unit.

Working in partnership across the university and with external partners, the team promotes the greater uptake of higher education among groups that are traditionally under-represented at university.

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Jenny RushCommunications Officer | Design and Technology