Your stories: spring 2017

  • 1962

    Steve Bondy (PhD Biochemistry, 1962)

    I’m Professor of Neuroscience in the Center for Occupational and Environmental Health, University of California, Irvine. My academic career has included roles at several top American universities. My current research interest is, appropriately, how to slow down brain ageing. 

    Steve Bondy smiling

  • 1963

    Dr Phil Mitchell (BSc Biochemistry, 1963)

    After an academic career in Canada and Malawi, I joined the British Council in 1978 and served in London, Bombay, Jakarta, and Brasilia as Science / Education Officer, and then (after a short spell in Manchester) as Country Director in Namibia (1995-96) and Botswana (1997-2001). I retired in 2001. 

  • 1966

    Professor Michael Eskin (BSc Biochemistry 1963; PhD Physiological Chemistry, 1966)

    I’ve been inducted into the Order of Canada (the highest civilian honour) and was recognised for my outstanding research contributions to the success of the Canadian canolas (rapeseed oil) industry. I have been selected as the 2017 recipient of the Herbert J. Dutton Award by the American Oil Chemists' Society in recognition of my significant contributions to the analysis of fats, oils and related products. 

  • 1969

    Stephen Lamb (BA German, 1970) and friends

    We are a group of alumni who studied modern languages, who have met up every year in a different German-speaking city since being reunited at a reunion in 2010. Last year, in Leipzig, we marked the 50th anniversary of our first term at Birmingham.

    Group of alumni friends on a couch, with one person photoshopped into the picture

    Caption: Nicola Ash (nee Ellis) (BA German, 1970); Alwyn Ayres* (nee Brown) (BA German, 1970); Richard Brighton* (BA German, 1970); Elis Jones (BA German, 1970); Stephen Lamb* (BA German, 1970); Patricia Petrou* (nee Maxton) (BA German, 1970); Patricia Roever* (nee Scrimshaw) (BA German and Spanish, 1970); Sylvia Rutter* (nee Bone) (BA French and German, 1970); Djenane Watkins* (nee Farmer) (BA French and German, 1971); Geoff Watkins* (BA French and German, 1970); Frances White* (BA French and German, 1970); Mary Wunderly (BA German, 1970); Sue Cooper (nee Nothard, deceased) (BA French and German, 1970); Peter Dun (deceased) (BA French and German, 1969).*pictured

  • 1970

    Professor Derek W Jones (BSc Applied/Pure Science, 1965; PhD Medicine, 1970)

    ​In 2016 I received the Distinguished Service Award from the International Association for Dental Research (IADR). I was also honoured with the World Dental Federation’s (FDI) highest award when I was elected as a Member of the List of Honour. 

  • 1972

    Janet Wolff (BSocSc Moral and Political Philosophy, 1968; PhD Sociology, 1972)

    ​After living and working in the United States for nearly 20 years, I returned home to a position at the University of Manchester in 2006 and am now an Emeritus Professor there. I am about to publish my first book of literary non-fiction, titled Austerity Baby.

  • 1974

    David Parry (BA German and Russian, 1974)

    ​I’m still working as a freelance translator and recently moved from Germany to Poland.

  • 1974

    Joel Weinberg (JYA English, 1974)

    My debut novel, True Religion, is out now. The story follows Seth Davis, a gay journalist from Manhattan, who is sent on a profoundly religious journey after an unexpected encounter with an otherworldly spirit. 

    Joel in a blue jacket on a street with lots of cars parked on the side

  • 1980

    Peter Leadbetter (MEd Education, 1980)

    Model of the University

    I bought the model that was I think an original architect's model of the University and used to sit in the entrance to the Great Hall. It is incredibly well made and now adorns our garage wall.

  • 1984

    Haifa Ross (PhD Nuclear Physics, 1984)

    I was the first woman from Jordan in the 1970s to gain a higher education degree in Nuclear Engineering. In 2016, I was named as one of the top 50 influential women engineers in the UK by the Daily Telegraph in collaboration with the Women’s Engineering Society (WES). I was also elected as a Fellow of WES last year.

    Haifa Ross in glasses and blue t-shirt smiling

  • 1991

    Hella Neukötter (BA French, 1991)

    My haiku Semi-night was published by an online literary journal in both English and German. 

    black and white photo of Hella looking to the side with glasses on

    Haiku from Hella


    twilights of the night

    moon behind the pallid twigs

    finite quietness

  • 1994

    David Rogers (BPhysio, Physiotherapy, 1994)

    ​I was a Teaching Fellow at the University in 2015-16 and have recently written a book on back pain called Back to Life: How to unlock your pathway to recovery, published by Penguin.

  • 1998

    Urmila Mistry (BEng Manufacturing Engineering, 1998)

    ​I was very honoured to be named as one of the Top 100 most influential British women in the Global Car Industry by Autocar magazine and the SMMT (Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders). The award recognised my work as a Research and Technology Strategy Engineer at Jaguar Land Rover.

  • 2000

    Lynne Chambers (BSc Biological Sciences, 2000)

    I was a finalist in the Royal Society of Biology’s 2016 Teacher of the Year Awards. I was presented with my certificate at the Royal Institute and it’s now proudly on display in my classroom at Greenacre School, Banstead. 

    Lynne Chambers and two students in a lab wearing lab coats

  • 2000

    Fawzia Gilani-Williams (MPhil Islamic Studies, 2000)

    ​I have a new book coming out called Yaffa and Fatima Shalom Salaam. As the International Positive Education Network's Global Representative for UAE, I'm very eager to promote positive education and well-being. 

  • 2005

    James Eder (BCom Commerce, 2005)

    ​My latest entrepreneurial venture is Causr, a location based app that helps professionals connect on the go. 

  • 2005

    Cameron Hall (BA Media, Culture and Society, 2005)

    I’ve combined my passion for skiing with my experience working in the media to start a media consultancy called Holmlands

    Cameron in blue suit smiling

  • 2006

    Winifred Mok (BA Drama and English, 2006)

    Kin: Fallen Star, a feature film which I produced, is now being distributed on Amazon Prime in the UK, USA, Germany and Japan. 

    Winifred at an event with Rebel Rated on the wall in the background

  • 2009

    Zee Dinally (BSc Biological Science, 2009)

    ​I’m Executive Director and Resident Astronomer for the UK's largest mobile planetarium provider for schools and businesses. As a Biosciences graduate this is a surprise for me, but I do occasionally deliver amazing cell biology shows inside our domes! 

  • 2009

    James McCrory (MA Security Studies, 2009)

    Since graduating I’ve worked for a furniture recycling project, for Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, with a scrap car referral company in Australia, in health and safety, human resources, environmental management and software testing. I’m hoping to move on to a conservation role in British Columbia.  

    James outside house in blue shirt

  • 2010

    Amir Layeghi (MSc Embedded Systems with Industrial Studies, 2010)

    I’ve set up my own company called GadJet, designing and manufacturing premium quality consumer electronics and mobile phone accessories. We’re doing extremely well, have become one of the leaders in our industry and have already started to expand internationally this year. 

  • 2010

    Anna Wing Bo Tso (PhD Applied Linguistics, 2010)

    ​I’m currently Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at The Open University of Hong Kong. Right now, I am working on a children's book series about Hong Kong memories. 

  • 2011

    Joanna Sawyer (BA Drama and Music, 2011)

    I’m playing Rusty, one of the lead roles in the UK tour of Footloose

    Joanna in grey shirt

  • 2012

    Chiara Bertoglio (PhD Music, 2012)

    ​I won the Prize of the Pontifical Academies, an international prize awarded to young artists and scholars, in December 2016. My book Reforming Music: Music and the Religious Reformations of the Sixteenth Century was published in February by De Gruyter. 

  • 2012

    James Coombs (BSc Political Science, 2012)

    I am heavily involved in setting up Reed Commercial, a start-up venture incubated by Reed Online. 

    James in front of brick wall in black and white

  • 2014

    Luke Christodoulou (MA Applied Linguistics, 2013)

    My book series Greek Island Mysteries involves murder/mysteries set upon the picturesque Greek Isles. 

    Luke sitting on a couch holding up two of his books

  • 2015

    The Reverend Canon Dr Mark Pryce (BSc Practical Theology, 2015)

    I was appointed Queen’s Chaplain in January 2017, a personal appointment by The Sovereign. I have become a member of the Queen’s Household and one of just 34 priests who support the monarch spiritually and in prayer.

    The Reverend Canon Dr Mark Pryce in black shirt

  • 2015

    Oliver Swift (BSc Business and American Studies, 2015)

    ​I’ve set up a company called Yumzee. It’s a brand new way of social dining, helping people to connect with others in the community through a shared love of food. It is a bit like Come Dine with Me meets Airbnb.


We'd love to hear what you've been up to since graduation. Send us your news or tweet us using #wearebrumalum. Please note, we reserve the right to edit all submissions.