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Mum-of-two Marianne at 39 is named University of East London's 'student of the year'

PUBLISHED: 15:00 27 September 2019

Marianne Gibb, 39, is UEL's 'Student of the Year' on its pre-entry course. Picture: UEL

Marianne Gibb, 39, is UEL's 'Student of the Year' on its pre-entry course. Picture: UEL

UEL

Single mum Marianne Gibb has been named Student of the Year for excelling in the University of East London's New Beginnings course.

Some of the pre-entry students from all backgrounds and all ages graduating from their pre-entry course. Picture: UELSome of the pre-entry students from all backgrounds and all ages graduating from their pre-entry course. Picture: UEL

The 39-year-old with two grown up girls was one of 160 students who have graduated from the pre-entry programme, among them another mother-of-two as well as carers, builders, teachers and actors.

"I've always wanted to get a psychology degree," she revealed.

"I was a single parent working as a carer with elderly people with dementia. But now my girls are older I can do something for myself."

Marianne never expected to be chosen as the Student of the Year which was "a massive surprise".

She has daughters aged 16 and 20 and now plans a career as a forensic psychologist working with youth offenders, once she has completed her four-year psychology BSc course.

Her eldest, Adina, has also enrolled at the UEL on a performing arts course.

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The pre-entry course together with a short course introduction to Law, which are unique to the University east London, are aimed at those who don't have sufficient formal qualifications to start degree studies or have been out of education for a prolonged time.

Students from all backgrounds and all ages received certificates for completing the pre-entry course which means they can enrol for degree studies.

Another mother-of-two, Shawna Lewis, also graduated and now wants a degree in human resources management. She has worked and studied while raising her children who are both in primary school.

Another graduate is Nick Coventon, 56, who was raised in a tough neighbourhood and admits to "a chequered career" in construction, then in acting including three months filming for a Bollywood movie.

"I grew up on a housing estate surrounded by crime," Nick revealed. "So I'm interested in criminology and have always wanted a degree, but didn't have the chance.

"This course means I have a qualification to enrol in BSc studies, which has opened doors for me."

His dream is becoming a criminal profiler for the police in psycho-analysing suspects.

The award ceremony at the University Square Stratford Campus was packed by graduates with their friends and family, being welcomed by the university's pro-vice chancellor Prof Charles Egbu who presented their certificates.

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