Free careers event

careersHere’s news of a forthcoming event for students with disabilities and long term health problems

Thanks to Chris for this


Celebrating Paul Whittington


We have very many students in ALS who, with the help of specialist staff, overcome what others might perceive as barriers to learning and attain great success. In this posting, we celebrate the tremendous achievements of Paul Whittington using his own words and those of his mentor, Jane Merrington.

Towards the end of summer, having been awarded a first class honours degree, BSc Computing, Paul wrote to his ALS tutor, Steevie Watson, with this news: “I thought that you may also like to know that I have been chosen by the Dean of the School of Design, Engineering and Computing at Bournemouth University to receive not one, but two prizes! The first prize is the School Prize for the best undergraduate student in the School of Design, Engineering and Computing. The second prize is for the best final year student in software/communications and this is sponsored by Selex Elsag. The Selex Prize for my ‘overall excellence in my performance and project combined’, but more heavily focused on my final year project. I will be awarded the prizes at my graduation in November at the BIC. It will be great day!”

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Helpful Hannah

hannah wallace

Whilst undertaking the early stages of the ALS research project on disclosure, I recently met Hannah Wallace who is a final year Product Design student, currently supported by Ildiko. I’m sure Hannah would make an impact in her degree-related employment field but, as an outcome of all her extra-curricula activities since coming to BU, she is now looking for an alternative career. A quick perusal of this versatile student’s CV suggests that she will be a great asset to a future employer.

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It’s that dog again!

jacksportraitOnce upon a time there was a high achieving and particularly versatile student called Liam who featured so many times on these pages that I suggested he got his own blog. Liam’s place in dispatches has now been superseded by a member of ALS staff: Jack Atherton’s fame is spreading far and wide, despite him being only three years old.

In September, Jack made both the front and back pages of the Daily Echo Knowledge supplement with an account of the work he does in the ALS unit on what is thought to be the first project of its kind in the country; this in conjunction with Caring Canines. Jack’s therapeutic qualities help anxious students to remain calm and purposeful: ‘he communicates through his body language … he just seems to understand’.

To promote and recognise the work Jack does an event will take place on 24 October at 10am in the Student Hall on Talbot Campus. This will be attended by the Mayors of Poole and Bournemouth along with their wives and other dignitaries.  Local MP, Tobias Ellwood, will also be present as will representatives of Caring Canines and a number of students with whom Jack has worked. Staff and students are welcome so pop the date into your diary.

Another First!

LSA Jane Merrington has notified us of Paul Whittington’s tremendous achievement:

‘I’ve just heard that Paul Whittington has acheived a first! He hasn’t received his project mark yet but it will be equally as good.’

And speaking of achievements – ALS Manager, Chris, would like to express official and grateful thanks to Jane who she says has done a marvellous job in supporting Paul.

Congratulations Paul & Jane

Memento Vitae

Jimmy TimmyJimmy Timmy S’Pack, formerly known as James “JT” Thomas (BA (Hons) Industrial Design) explained the purpose behind his Memento Vitae.

The figurine or “vitae vessel” places the emphasis on life rather than death. It contains a memory card to store photographs, music and all things associated with the person who has died. Members of the family and friends can record their own thoughts and memories about the individual in words or audio or on video, making it a very personal tribute.

The figurine has been ergonomically designed and can be made from glass, resin or a type of plastic in a choice of colours, providing something physical and tactile for the bereaved to focus on and interact with.

Designed to help people focus on happy memories, JT hopes that it will encourage people to talk about death rather than avoid the issue. He described the glass figurine rather poetically as “reflecting the light and therefore reflecting life.”

JT demonstrated the Memento Vitae: placing the figure in the docking station triggers the program to run, displaying a “lifeline” about that person’s life, so you can choose to play specific recorded memories of the subject; view photographs, or play a piece of music associated with that person.

The Memento Vitae also has the potential to be used to record your own will and specific wishes about funeral arrangements or bequests.

Not surprisingly JT has had a lot of interest in his product, and everyone in ALS wishes him well.