Surrey Alumni and Philanthropy

Official blog from the University of Surrey’s Alumni and Development Office. Connecting Graduates to the University, fellow alumni and current students.

Meet the Team – Sarah Hood

Meet Sarah Hood who looks after the regular giving programme at Surrey – which means asking alumni and supporters to give to the University philanthropically. On a day-to-day basis she is usually juggling lots of projects, which could include running telephone campaigns, creating materials for international events, and working on our website.

What made you want to work at the University of Surrey?

The first time I set foot on campus the University had such a warm feel, and I felt instantly at home here – an experience I imagine lots of students have too! Surrey has had such a meteoric rise over the past decade, and I wanted to be a part of that, as well as having the opportunity to take on a new role.

What do you enjoy the most about working at the University of Surrey?

We have a particularly close-knit team at Surrey, which makes working here a joy! I also really love talking to alumni about things I am passionate about, and which have an impact by helping our students and furthering Surrey’s research.

What are you currently working on?

This year I am focused on the Chancellor’s 50th Anniversary Appeal – a campaign to raise funds for students (in particular student hardship and scholarships) and research (animal cancer, dementia, clean water and cancer research, to name a few).

How would you describe your job in 3 words?

Fun, complex, and ever-changing!

Meet the Team – Chris Stevens

_dsc2776Meet Chris, Development Manager for the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences focusing on the vet school.  His role is to engage with individuals, charitable trusts, corporates and other organisations with the aim of developing collaborative partnerships that help support our students and further animal and human health related research.


What do you enjoy the most about working at the University of Surrey?

The ability to combine my degree and previous work experience and skills in the same role and help further research and knowledge into animal and human health. I enjoy working in collaboration with academics, discussing their research and ideas that could help address some of the global issues we currently face.

What are you currently working on?

I am learning about the dementia and ageing related research currently happening at the University so that I can help academics secure funding which we hope will ultimately improve the quality of life and care for our ageing population.

How would you describe your job in 3 words?

Interesting, enjoyable and inspiring

A Career in the Events Industry – Alumni Guest Post


I’m Kathryn Amey, I studied Management and Tourism in the then newly opened Management School and graduated in 2007.

I have my own events management business that focuses on some large scale charity dinners, my largest being a Sporting Luncheon for 900+ people which I hold at the Hilton, Park Lane and raises in excess of £350k. Alongside my own events, I also freelance for a number of event and catering companies doing a range of press launches, private functions and charity cycle challenges.

I’ve always had a love for organising and enjoy being part of a live experience. I get a real buzz from seeing people at an event enjoying themselves and becoming fully immersed in the experience. I did my placement year working for the catering company that run the events at Harlequins rugby Club, spending the year arranging all the part time staff for match days and events. I also worked on their events which ranged from Christmas parties to conferences. I throughly enjoyed my placement year and because of my love of organising, event management seemed like a good fit.

After I graduated I immediately got a job at a benevolent charity under a 1 year maternity cover as an events coordinator. 9 years later, various changes in the organisation and promotions I left my role as Fundraising Manager, managing a team of 3, to start my own events business. That decision was hard as I loved my job but I was ready for a change. A big reason for the decision was to allow me to try some new projects, have more flexibility and if I am honest I also wanted to have more time for holidays!

A big challenge for me has always been to stop worrying about the next career move or comparing myself with others my age. I’ve learnt that we are all on our own journeys, what one person has may not be what you want, so be proud of what you have achieved whatever life or career stage you are at.

My biggest tip would be to Network, network, network, it is all about who you know! You never know what will come of a conversation or when you might need some advice so start collecting those business cards and meeting people for coffee!

Scholarship student writes about his university experience


Michael is a final Year Biomedical Science Student who received a scholarship in 2013, which completely changed his student experience. He is now a Student Caller and is excited to be reaching out to alumni in support of the Chancellor’s 50th Anniversary Appeal.

About Me

I was born in Nigeria, and lived there until I was nine. Upon coming to England, I developed an insatiable appetite for science and biology as this was a topic that wasn’t covered at my age in Nigeria. I found myself wanting to use the knowledge and drive I had for Biology and applied to the University of Surrey for the BSc Biomedical Science degree.

My time at Surrey has certainly helped me develop as an individual and brought incredible opportunities my way. I was a student rep in my first year and took up the role again in my final year with great enthusiasm. I was fortunate enough to work in Microbiology for Cefas (Weymouth) as a Microbiologist during my placement year which was an overwhelmingly positive experience that resulted in a scientific publication (2016)—a testament to the excellent industry links the University provides to students.

About The Scholarship

Due to difficulties at home, my first year at Surrey was a mixture of excitement and anxiety. I was excited to be at my ‘first choice’ university, however became very aware that my savings would only get me so far, especially when considering my parents would not be able to support me financially. My fears were quashed when I received an email with ‘Congratulations!’ written in bold red text, the body of the e-mail informed me I’d be receiving a cash-prize scholarship provided by the University of Surrey’s Scholarship Scheme. The peace of mind the scholarship gave me is indescribable and the prize proved to be invaluable, especially around February when I put down a large sum of money to secure accommodation for second year.

My role as a student caller

As a student caller, I reach out to alumni on behalf of the university. This is particularly beneficial for me as I get to talk to numerous ‘Forever Surrey’ alumni, finding out about their unique experiences on campus, and talking to them about their post-graduate career. I’ve found myself incredibly surprised and charmed by the wonderful people from Surrey and have been fortunate enough to receive advice from alumni who have been in the same career I’d like to go into.

When alumni support the university, it fills me with so much pride. It thrills me to realise that graduates developed such a bond with Surrey during their time at University that they’re happy to help secure the future of its current students. I know that scholarships similar to mine have been funded philanthropically and I am forever grateful to the University and Surrey Alumni whose generosity drastically improve student experiences.

I love knowing that Surrey will be able to continue supporting students who need help and rewarding those who aspire and have thoroughly enjoyed my experience as a student caller.


Alumni Profile of the month – February 2017




Kimberley, a Paramedic Practice graduate (2014) now works as a Paramedic and Practice Placement Educator. Having recently received an award in the tutor and educator category for her enthusiasm, experience and empathy for students at the annual Ambulance Association of Chief Executive (AACE) awards, we thought we would share her experiences of life after graduation.



Q. What attracted you to choose the University of Surrey and to study your course here?

I decided to apply for Surrey as many of my friends completed their Nursing Studies at Surrey, and it always sounded perfect. It also meant I did not have to move house.

Q. What were the best things about your course?

The best thing was not only having a small cohort that all became close and supportive but also the placement experience on the road, this prepared me for the paramedic role.

Q. What do you do now and what do you find most enjoyable about your line of work?

I now work as a paramedic as well as being a Practice Placement Educator. I enjoy my role as I feel I can make a difference but I also enjoy teaching others what I have learnt.

Q. How can students hoping to work in your profession make the most of their time at Surrey?

I feel that doing a paramedic course is difficult in terms of having to process things that you may or may not experience on the road. It is important to talk about things. I would also encourage candidates to join a sports team. Surrey gives a lot of support to the sports teams, making it a good way to meet new people,  keep healthy and manage stress.

Q. What aspects of being connected with the alumni network are most important to you/of most interest to you?

I like to know how the university is doing as well as seeing what changes are being made. I also try to join the grad sport football team each year to catch up with old friends.

Q. What is your happiest memory of your time at Surrey?

I would say my happiest memory is actually completing my degree, something I never thought would happen. I completed it with a reasonable grade too.

Alumni Stories – Interview with Calvin Jor



Meet Calvin Jor, an International Hospitality & Tourism Management graduate, who has set up his own Sushi Restaurant (Sushi Lab) just off Guildford high street.

Where did the idea of the Sushi Lab come from?

I’ve always wanted to start my business and have always been reading books about how to start and run a business since I was a kid. I also love sushi and Japanese cuisine, so I thought why not do what you love! It’s simple, delicious, healthy and a growing market in the UK.


What do find most enjoyable about what you do now?

Promoting and introducing new ideas to the business, for example, making the social media posts, posters, flyers, I’m a one man band. I definitely enjoy the marketing side of that. We are also introducing event catering, and are supplying food for an Infinite Quest event on campus on Monday (our first ever events catering!). We are also going to start a Sushi Masterclass here where people can learn how to make sushi and take it home with them.

What made you decide to stay in Guildford?

I have connections here with the University, and current students really help me promote the business. I sponsor two societies at the University so it’s easy to promote with them as they have the Sushi Lab logo on all of their branding. We are really trying to get our brand out there as much as possible.

Also knowing the location made it a lot easier for me to set up the business. Guildford is quite small so being near the high street should make it easy for people to find my restaurant.

What are your responsibilities as the business owner?

Everything! From opening the place, doing the rice, making the hot food, training the staff, promoting the business and more.

What has been the highlight so far?

I would say having regular customers coming back again, leaving good reviews online and sharing their experiences with their friends.

If there’s one piece of advice you could give to people looking to start their own business what would it be?

Don’t be afraid to do it. Be confident. There’s obviously a risk but it’s better to do it and regret than not do it.

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