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Kayleigh-Anne Walker - MSc Public Health and Health Promotion

Kayleigh-Anne Walker
Seeking to secure a better future for herself and her children, a mother of two graduated in the face of personal illness and a pandemic to gain a master’s degree in Public Health and Health Promotion.

Kayleigh-Anne Walker (34) will celebrate her achievement by crossing Robert Gordon University (RGU)’s virtual graduation stage on Friday 4 December in front of a global audience of staff, alumni, friends and family.

“It was a huge achievement for me,” said Kayleigh. “Especially during the current climate. Halfway through I had to begin home schooling my children while studying at home—with no respite from the role of mum. 

“I went to university to improve my life and my children’s future. I’m the first in my family to go to university, and I feel proud of what I’ve achieved.”

While at RGU, Kayleigh developed stomach pain and was admitted to hospital for close to a month. With support from the university’s Inclusion Centre and her tutors, Kayleigh found the determination to succeed in her studies regardless of the situation.

“I was investigated for a bowel disease,” said Kayleigh. “Due to my health, the university gave me access to support packages and easy deferral for exams if I needed it. I was given a device that read documents aloud for me; I could listen as I rested rather than having to read myself. 

“Thanks to the support of the team in RGU’s Inclusion Centre and my academic tutor, I graduated on time.”

Kayleigh chose her course based on her passion for public health. After studying Midwifery at RGU and working as a personal fitness instructor for many years, she took the opportunity to study her master’s while working part-time as a midwife.

“It’s an exciting area of study,” said Kayleigh. “I want to work with women and children, and I want to help develop the best opportunities for children in Scotland.”

All of RGU’s 2020 graduating students showed great resilience and growth to complete their studies during the pandemic. The university’s years of experience and success at operating a blended model of learning meant it was able to shift teaching online to provide an experience that was authentic and safe.

Kayleigh said: “The lecturing staff jumping into online learning at the start of the pandemic was admirable. I felt supported and the lecturers made the course accessible at short notice.

“I really enjoyed my course. I liked the regular in-class support from the Careers department as well as the regular guest lecturers from various fields and potential employers, including NHS Grampian, previous students, and third-sector groups.”

Kayleigh also enjoyed open access to careers advice from lecturers and support with CV writing and interview skills through RGU’s Careers Centre. She has already landed a role as a trainee specialist community public health nurse.

“I’ve already began the next steps of my career and I’m working towards a second master’s degree as part of that trainee position,” said Kayleigh. “I’m completing it online through RGU.”

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