Edit explore the interesting locations and careers that our alumni have found themselves in.
On the Alumni website, we publish several alumni profiles each month, where you can read short autobiographies of your fellow Edinburgh graduates dating back more than 70 years. You can also submit your own profile – we love to hear where your Edinburgh experience has taken you.
After studying at both the Dobris Hristov National Music Academy – Varna and Pancho Vladigerov National Academy of Music in Bulgaria, I chose to come to Edinburgh after discovering that it is one of the top universities in the world.
I met lovely teachers, made wonderful friendships and enjoyed the beauty of the city. One of my precious memories is when I was invited to perform on the piano for HRH The Princess Royal at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh – an unbelievable experience.
After finishing my degree, I continued on to postgraduate study at the Royal College of Music (RCM) in London and I will be graduating from there this summer. My time at RCM was very exciting and busy with performances in concert venues across Europe such as the Royal Festival Hall at the Southbank Centre in London, the Bulgarian Embassy and others. I also went to the Manhattan School of Music in New York City, where I represented the RCM for a semester gaining some valuable experience.
In 2015, I was awarded first prize at the Kyushu International Bach Music Competition in Japan. In addition, in June last year I released my debut video ‘The Kapustin Project’, which I dedicated to the Queen’s 90th Birthday, combining my improvisation on ‘God Save the Queen’ with Nikolai Kapustin’s ‘Pastoral Etude’ and adding bass and drum sections to it. My idea is to keep releasing interesting videos and keep inspiring more and more people through my music.
In February 2017, I gave a solo recital at the Royal Albert Hall on Elton John’s red grand piano, which was sold out two weeks before the event. Looking ahead to 2018, I am going back to New York to perform my debut concert at the prestigious Carnegie Hall. Exciting times!
Photo by Todor Krastev.
When I was in my third year at Baqai Medical University in Pakistan, I was invited to study an elective at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. It was there I fell in love with medical science and research, and found out that the University of Pennsylvania medical school was modelled after Edinburgh’s. When I completed medical school I decided to apply for my masters in Public Health Research here.
Coming from a background where medicine is not systematically taught as a science, I resolved to take the opportunity to take as many research methodology classes during my masters as I could to glean a holistic understanding of the multitude of ways research can be employed to inform change at different levels.
Since I completed my masters degree, I have committed myself to operating on the frontlines of many of the world’s most pressing health concerns. From setting up databases to tracking the global Ebola epidemic to helping research-based advocacy against sexual violence in India, to helping manage the influx of refugees in Greece, I have been able to apply the confidence and compassion I learnt at Edinburgh to each of these global issues.
As an activist in Pakistan, I feel it’s important to take into account that effective public health measures can have profound social and political changes, which is how I decide what to focus my work on. In May this year I was the editorial lead for the Médecins Sans Frontières Scientific Day – South Asia. My vision is to empower regions to foster their own identity via the decolonisation of their health agenda.
Like many staff members, I am also a graduate of the University of Edinburgh – twice over! After graduating with an MA from the University of St Andrews in 1975, I trained as a youth and community worker in Glasgow and worked in Fraserburgh in Aberdeenshire for two years before coming to Edinburgh in 1978 to work for Lothian Regional Council as a youth worker in Muirhouse council housing estate.
In 1980, I began the postgraduate Diploma in Social Work/CQSW at Edinburgh. After graduating, I returned to Muirhouse for another year before joining Family Care, a then-prominent third sector children and families’ agency.
I returned to the University to undertake a PhD in Social Work, which I completed in 1992, the same year I started work as a lecturer. My PhD was a history of Family Care. It allowed me to pursue three loves in my life – sociology, history and hearing people’s stories.
Since then, I have written and researched extensively on social work, higher education and doing research with children. I was awarded a Personal Chair in Social Work in 2005.
As a long-standing staff member, I have lived and worked through what has felt, at times, like almost constant change – feminism; anti-discriminatory practice; and the ever-growing reach of neo-liberalism in the academy. The constant throughout this time has been the students – every new generation is keen to change society and help those most in need.
Social Work centenary
In 2017/2018, Social Work at the University at Edinburgh will celebrate its centenary with a number of events and activities, research projects, seminars, conferences and exhibitions.