March 2018 Edition

Welcome to the new and improved web based edition of the Research Student Cascade.  This edition includes features on the following:

  • Graduation January 2018
  • Maths Learning Centre
  • Code of Practice Updates 17/18
  • Student Profile with Nabeelah Omarjee
  • Postgraduate Research Experience Survey (PRES)
  • #DMUlocal
  • PhD Student Society
  • Competitions Update
  • On A Different Note – Cultural eXchanges Festival 2018


A big congratulations to our students who graduated in January 2018.  We caught up with some of them on their special day and gained some insight into their experiences.

Tracey Lennemann

What did you graduate in and how was graduation for you?
I graduated with a PhD in Dental Education Research and Global Oral Heath.  I highly recommend attending graduation ceremonies. It is a very unique event that was fun and really gives the feeling of accomplishment. Also, it is very special to wear the doctorate gown and hat for a few hours and share your hard earned achievement with your family”.

Dr Tracey Lennemann

What are you doing now?
As a mature student (55 years old), I took time off work to complete my PhD. I am now back to work lecturing in the dental field. As for my PhD subject, I am working on proposals for future Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) partnerships for the charity I am founder and chairperson of: Dental Hygienists and Therapists for India. We provide dental health education and services for underserved children in developing countries. We have over 1,000 interested volunteers and would like to be able to give more opportunities to build such programs in other countries and network with other organisations”.

Have you any tips for current students on reaching graduation themselves?

Gathering the research data is the fun and exciting part. Writing and organising your thesis is the most difficult. I blocked time slots for writing and set myself goals for each day. I mostly focused on a section to have completed during each day. This gave a good start to the thesis.  You will always have to amend, add, and cut information, but having something on paper is better than nothing. Write all your thoughts during these beginning sessions and go onto the next. Once the initial thesis is complete, you will edit and add to it. Write more than expected, as it is easier to remove than to add information. Stay focused, turn off your phone and what distracts you, find your best time of day for writing, when you are most engaged mentally and fresh with energy. Make a goal when you want to graduate and communicate this to your supervisor. Make sure to keep your end goals in mind to keep you motivated and follow up as much as possible with your supervisor confirming you are on the correct path with your writing. And remember to enjoy what you are learning and the process, even when it gets frustrating. It is all worth it!”

Dr Damilare Akintade

Damilare Akintade

What did you graduate in and how was graduation for you?
My Ph.D is in Molecular Toxicology and Pharmacology (Molecular Medicine). Graduation was really an exciting moment for me, where family and friends had the opportunity to celebrate with me. It was really fun…!
What are you doing now?
I am teaching part time now at DMU and some other institutions, looking forward to full time opportunity in Academia or Industries”.
Have you any tips for current students on reaching graduation themselves?
I would like to say that every student reaching graduation should enjoy the day with family, friends and well wishers”.

Dr Richard Reece

Richard Reece

What did you graduate in and how was graduation for you?
I pursued a PhD in Information Security Management, specifically in the professionalisation of the IT Security manager role which has grown quickly recently. Graduation was quite an emotional occasion for two reasons. Firstly being a part time student, from first interview in 2010 to finally shaking hands in 2018 felt like a very long time and it was a source of pride to have seen such a long project through. Secondly, my parents met at and graduated from the (then) Leicester Polytechnic and my father went on to complete a pharmacy PhD here, so although sadly he is no longer with us it was great to be able to have my mother present for the second generation graduating in Leicester. As an IT masters student here in the late 1990s I was taught in the old James Went building (where the Law School is located now), which my parents saw being built in the late 1960s!”

What are you doing now?
My research was undertaken part time alongside my job as an IT manager for Airbus, so now I have to catch up on about seven years worth of jobs that my wife has patiently been waiting for! I’m also hoping to extend and publish my work in collaboration with my supervisor, so I have the honour of being an honorary research associate whilst that is being completed”.

Have you any tips for current students on reaching graduation themselves?
For part time students, the biggest challenge is managing the fact that the project is done in your personal time for six or so years, so it needs to be accepted at the outset that inevitably there will be major unpredictable life changes during that time. There is therefore little substitute for motivation, since with the right motivation most other changes can be managed but you want to have to complete the project. Discipline is definitely required, and there are many days when doing the work is decidedly inconvenient but necessary, but also it is very much a marathon not a sprint and there will be weeks or even whole months when other life priorities take over, and it is important simply not to lose focus over the longer term. More generally, relationship with your supervisor is vital so it is helpful to establish early on what they expect of you for supervisions to get the most out of limited time”.


Dr Wardah Bindabel

Wardah Bindabel

I recently graduated in Islamic Finance and I am currently an assistant Professor in one of the universities in Saudi Arabia.

It won’t take you long to realise that as a PhD candidate, long hours and sleepless nights and stress become part of the norm.  However, it is important to remember that you are not alone and that there are plenty of people who can help you to stay on track, just make sure you build your own network with other PhD students and other experts by attending conferences and research seminars. I hope you enjoy the journey and remember the world is limited to your lab, bed and library”.



Dr Nicolas Le Guern


Nicolas Le Guern

Nicolas graduated with a PhD in Visual Culture Studies and was also the Faculty of Art, Design and Humanities Overall Thesis Prize Winner.






Maths Learning Centre

The Maths Learning Centre (MLC), part of DMU’s Library and Learning Services Directorate, provides statistical support to a large number of research students   conducting research which requires them to carry out statistical analysis.  Training sessions and one-to-one support is available for students to book.

PhD Student Guoli Li with Dr Yamuna Dass from the MLC (right)

The MLC offer statistical support to help you:

  • Consider the purpose of statistics
  • Design a questionnaire
  • Use statistical software packages e.g. Excel, SPSS, Minitab
  • Explore data and carry out descriptive statistics
  • Choose the right statistical test and analyse data
  • Interpret data and understand what your results mean

To book for a one-to-one appointment, click HERE

This support complements other learning support available from MLC for doctoral students, including drop-in sessions which are on Monday – Friday 12:30 to 2:30pm and Wednesday 12:30-4:30pm in Kimberlin Library, room 2.10.

To find out more about all the support available, click HERE

Don’t forget that other library staff are there to help too, including Academic Liaison Librarians and ClaSS.

Code of Practice Updates 17/18

There have been some changes to the regulations for research degree students; these changes apply to all students regardless of their start date. Below is a summary of the changes. The Research Degree Regulations in full are available on the Graduate School website Code Of Practice

  • Procedure 7 – First Project Review
    This amendment aims to provide clarity for students to highlight that the Research Degrees Committee Faculty Review Panel is a virtual meeting, as required by the Universities’ Ombudsman.
  • Procedure 11 – Extension of Period of Registration
    This amendment aims to make explicit that where extensions are requested due to mitigating circumstances, documentary evidence in support of the request should be provided.
  • Procedure 12 – Interruption of Registration
    This amendment aims to make explicit that where interruptions are requested due to mitigating circumstances, documentary evidence in support of the request should be provided. Also that when an interruption is granted, that an extension of an equal duration to the interruption will be added to the student’s timeline unless they specifically request that they do not require an extension.
  • Regulation 5.8 Nomination and Appointment of Supervisors
    This amendment aims to provide guidance to supervisors on how they may apply for exemption from having to attend CRS part 1.
  • Regulation 13.1 Formal Progression From Doctoral Researcher Programme to PhD
    This amendment aims to improve the timeframe in which students submit their Formal Review and to remove ambiguity from the wording. It is imperative that the 15 month full-time or 24 month part-time deadline is adhered to. In addition, to remove the option for the student to be able to submit for an MPhil should they not adhere to the Formal Review deadline and instead the student’s registration should be terminated.
  • Regulation 13.2 – Formal Progression From Doctoral Researcher Programme to PhD
    Again this amendment aims to remove ambiguity in relation to the Formal Review deadline.

Student Profile


Inspirational first year research student Nabeelah Omarjee from Zimbabwe presented at the ‘Women at DMU’ conference in March, here’s an overview of her experiences:

“My name is Nabeelah and I am 4 months in to my PhD in Cognitive Psychology here at DMU. I was born and raised in Harare Zimbabwe and 3 years ago I left my home to come to DMU to take my education to the next level. It was difficult adjusting at first because of the wide range of accents I encountered.

I was told a million times before I left home that I couldn’t do it and in the first few months of my first year I started to believe that might be true. I spoke with a much stronger accent back then and the minute I opened my mouth to speak, I immediately alienated myself.  However, this slowly changed as people warmed up to me. In one of my lectures I looked around and realised everyone in this room will graduate with a degree in Psychology and I started to question whether it was worth me being there. My University routine was attend lectures and go home and I thought to myself if I sat in an interview right now I would have nothing to say. I quickly sought to change that and so began the next chapter in my journey.

Remembering the words of all the nay-sayers, I decided it would be my absolute pleasure to defy the odds and prove them all wrong and now when anyone tells me that I can’t do something, I say ‘wanna bet?’ and just for record, I haven’t lost a bet yet! It has been challenging because I have felt intimidated and like I was completely out of my league which lead to a lot of self-doubt, but I told myself I am not better than anyone else and no one is better than me. We are equal. I was determined to build a CV that made it impossible to be ignored and overlooked and I didn’t have to look far to have access to such opportunities. In fact, the opportunities were at my fingertips right here at DMU.

I became a Brand Ambassador and School Representative Coordinator for my Faculty. I was then sent off on an all-expenses paid trip to Singapore and Sri Lanka as a student representative with a team from Academic Partnerships. I also went on my first DMUGlobal trip to Berlin, Germany volunteering with refugees and then to Indore, India to build washrooms in a local school.  I then became a Student Ambassador, Frontrunner Intern, and regular Volunteer with DMUlocal. I volunteered in a school, with cancer patients, as well as with refugees and young asylum seekers. I am now a Diabetes Champion and qualified to Teach English as a Foreign Language. I was named International Student Volunteer of the Year and lucky enough to be mentioned by name by Baroness Lawrence in the House of Lords as she talked about my work with DMULocal.

I encourage everyone to take any opportunity that presents itself, you have no idea where it could take you or who you might meet along the way. Your experiences help shape who you are which means you control who you become”.

Postgraduate Research Experience Survey (PRES)


The Postgraduate Research Experience Survey is a national survey for research students organised by the Higher Education Academy and now takes place every year; its an online questionnaire that takes around 15 minutes to complete and asks about your experience of your research programme. Your responses will help inform DMU about the experience of postgraduate researchers, helping us to improve future support.

The survey will ask research students about supervision, resources, training and research culture and is totally anonymous.
We are very keen to encourage as many students as possible to take part in the survey, we really do need to know what you think works well and what
we could do better. PRES is the only national
survey of research students and the only way for us to compare how we are doing against the national average.



The survey runs from:  5 March 2018 – until 18 May 2018
Last year we had a 20% response rate, let’s try and beat that this year!!

Please click HERE to take part

Log in is your student P number (including capital P and X)
Password is your date of birth in this format DDMMYYYY (no slashes)

Please note there is a message saying “Sorry, there is a problem on this page”, please
disregard this and scroll down to the bottom of the page to complete the survey.

Thank you for your time, as ever.


#DMUlocal demonstrates DMU’s commitment to the public good by using the knowledge and skills of students and staff to work with communities across Leicester.   Born out of the award-winning DMU Square Mile project, #DMUlocal works alongside key strategic partners such as Leicester City Council, Leicestershire Police and local NHS Commissioning Groups to create projects that improve education, enhance health and wellbeing and support regeneration.  These aims are achieved using the expertise and enthusiasm of hundreds of DMU staff and student volunteers, who travel across the city to take part in more than 125 projects and activities each year. This amounts to more than 22,000 volunteering hours a year and over 2,700 volunteering opportunities.

So far the project has offered IT and tech support in local community centres, along with walking football sessions and children’s art clubs held every Saturday within the Newfoundpool and Thurnby Lodge areas of Leicester and a similar project has been set up in India.   DMU Square Mile India works to transform the lives of some of the poorest communities in Gujarat. Originally formed to support youngsters living in a children’s home in the Gandhi Ashram, Ahmedabad, it has since expanded and aims to work with thousands in 2018.

If you would like to be kept updated on new opportunities please email: or call 0116 257 7803.

One of the more recent collaborations has been with the United Nations and the UN Together Campaign.   TOGETHER Is a global initiative that alms to change negative perceptions and attitudes towards refugees and migrants, and to strengthen the social contract between host countries and communities, and refugees and migrants. The core values of the United Nations and the determination to #leave no one behind”, both at the heart of the Development agenda, drive TOGETHER’s objectives.  All 193 Member States of the United Nations unanimously welcomed the TOGETHER Initiative and committed to implementing It, when they met at the Summit for Refugees and Migrants on 19 September 2016.

George Coyle and Zamzam Yusuf


#DMUlocal  are looking for Research Students with project ideas, this could be anything to help benefit refugees and migrants in either the UK or their home country.  If you are interested and want to find out more please contact:
Debbie Tinsley

PhD Society Update


Upcoming events:

Saturday 14th April 2018 We’re planning on doing a trip to the Richard III museum
Thursday 19th April 2018 film/documentary evening
Friday 27th April 2018 – Possible trip to Leicester Tigers Vs Newcastle
Thursday May 3rd 2018 We’re looking at having a Mexican Celebration & Feast for cinco de mayo festival
Thursday May 17th 2018 To be confirmed 

For further information please contact:

Tom Weir at: or 

Competitions Update

Poster Competition
The poster competition is taking place on Wednesday 11th April 2018 and we have received 51 entry forms from students.  This is the highest number of entry forms received since the poster competition started.
 Come along and see what amazing research is being carried out at DMU and network with others.

Poster Competition at the Venue@DMU

Three Minute Thesis
Excitement is mounting for the 3rd annual Three Minute Thesis event. Applicants have been  busily preparing their presentations and those that are lucky enough to be selected for the faculty final will be notified next month.  Look out for invitations to attend and support your fellow students, which will be emailed out very soon.  Please come along and see what it is all about, maybe next year it could be you in the final!

On A Different Note

As part of the Cultural eXchanges 2018, some of the graduate school staff took time to check out the events around campus that were taking place between 26 Feb – 02 March 2018.  For the uninitiated, The Cultural eXchanges is hosted by the Faculty of ADH, and is a week long festival of interactive discussions, performances and talks at DMU, organised entirely by students.  Whilst you may have missed this year’s festival, we hope to inspire you to check it out next year.   If all this isn’t motivation enough most of the events are free!

Karen Anderson and Jimi O’Callaghan from the Graduate School with Anne Davies

Anne Davies
You may recognise Anne Davies from East Midlands Today, or perhaps even back in the day of GMTV’s earliest broadcasts.
So what were the highlights of this event?  To be honest, it would be hard to say. Anne was engaging, down to earth and spoke eloquently, with considerable humour as she took us through a career spanning three decades in the broadcasting industry, from manning the photocopier at the BBC through to the present day, where she is now the joint anchor of East Midlands Today and founder/driving force of Fashanne, the sole Fashion Awards event for Students in the East Midlands.

Her talk had a mix of amusing, informative and thought provoking anecdotes that were not only entertaining in their own right, but also had meaning and inspiration for the everyday that we all inhabit.  She referenced her “three second hook” when presenting the highlights of the news.  In other words, a short, sharp vignette to draw in and captivate the audience.  Definitely something to remember during job interviews, important first meetings, and dare we say, vivas!!
She also spoke at length of simply “enjoying the journey” in terms of careers, and life in general.  She definitely had a very mindful philosophy, urging us not to stress and panic our way through life but instead to trust in our instincts to make the right choices and decisions when opportunities arise.  Some wise words that many of us can relate to, and hopefully learn from.
Anne ended with a short section on Fashanne, where her aim has always been to promote a fashion industry that is truly inclusive.  A refreshing and welcome change from the standard representations of “perfection” usually favoured by the fashion world at large. Check out for further details and insights.
In summary? A quirky, inspirational talk from a woman with enviable drive and vision.  Thank you Anne for bringing some inspiration to an otherwise dull Tuesday lunchtime!

Some other highlights form the The Cultural Exchange 2018 included:

Josette Simon OBE (right) with Natalie Ibu

Josette Simon
Leicester born multi award winning actor Josette Simon OBE with alumnus arts management student Natalie Ibu.  Josette appeared at the Clephan Building to discuss her career to date.




Roly (right) with Jack Wilkin Vice Chair of DMU’s LGBTQ+ Society





In conversation” with Roly event held at the Clepham Building.  Roly shared a passion for self-expression and & body modification.  A great chance to see this renowned You Tuber and LGBT+ advocate in person interviewed by DMU’s Jack Wilkin







Gary Younge

Gary Younge
Gary Younge – “Another day in the death of America”. Award winning journalist and “editor at large” of the Guardian newspaper gave a timely and notable talk on the deaths by shooting of young Americans that did not make the national news.  A sober reminder of current issues that we should all reflect on.






If you have any feedback or would like to be included in a future edition please email Jimi O’Callaghan