Having a baby would normally result in some time away from the grindstone for a first time mum. This wasn't the case for Bianca Gillies whose dedication to her coursework saw her return to her final year of study at Robert Gordon University only ten days after giving birth to her son.
The Insch local, who has successfully completed a BA (Hons) degree in Applied Social Sciences, graduated at 10.30am on Wednesday 13 July at a ceremony held in His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen.
Bianca (22) who comes from Church Street, Insch, originally became interested in the social sciences while still at school. Her aptitude in sociology and modern studies prompted her to pursue the degree at Robert Gordon University, which is built around the core disciplines of psychology and sociology.
During the fourth-year programme, Bianca juggled the normal pressures of university life. However, in the latter half of her studies, she had the added responsibilities of being pregnant and, consequently, a first time mother. Matthew was born on 18 September 2010 - less than two weeks before Bianca was to return to her studies.
While writing a dissertation one minute and changing nappies the next has proved a bit of burden at times, it is one Bianca has happily borne: "While it's been challenging, I couldn't be happier with the outcome of it all. I have a beautiful son and will soon be the proud owner of an honours degree that I have worked hard to achieve."
The Applied Social Sciences degree programme is delivered through a combination of theory, research and elective modules, allowing students to tailor their degrees to their own specific interests.
Bianca chose to focus on the instance of women inhabiting stereotypically male jobs in her final year dissertation, with a particular focus on the rise of female bouncers. Her conclusions stated that many women continue to face discrimination in the workplace even though equality is said to have been reached.
"I enjoyed doing the research and conducting my own study," said Bianca. "I've worked with female bouncers and I felt there was sometimes some discrimination or sex typing of their jobs and i wanted to see if they felt this too. I particularly liked the fact that there has been such little research done on female bouncers and their roles, and so my own work addresses the gap in the literature."
Bianca is currently deciding between pursuing a career in teaching and returning to university to further explore her interests in gender studies.
She was joined on the day of her graduation by her fiancé Robert, son Matthew, her aunts Nicky and Ali, cousin Luc, plus mother Karen and Robert's mother Isabel.
Robert Gordon University
Tel: 01224 262389