Your stories

  • 1959

    ​Allan Williams (BSc Geology, 1959)

    After leaving Birmingham I obtained a Commonwealth Scholarship (doctorate, Hong Kong University) and have been a professor at universities in the UK, US, Canada, Portugal, New Zealand, and China, working on coastal issues. I’ve had published several journal publications and books, and I’m working on a few poems and novels, including a thriller where the hero is a judo-loving Geology professor!

  • 1972

    ​Geoffrey Beech (BSc Chemical Engineering, 1972)

    I have spent 46 years in the engineering world of oil and gas, water and effluent treatment. I lived in Saudi Arabia from 1975-1981. On vacation in the USA, I was fixed up with a blind date at a party and we just had our 36th wedding anniversary. For the past 12 years I’ve been living and working in Calgary, Alberta, Canada and plan to retire to British Columbia later this year. 

  • 1976

    ​Nick Davies (BMus Music, 1976)

    I graduated in 1976 but now I can’t play anything musical, as Multiple Sclerosis makes it impossible. I write concert reviews (including the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra) for my local paper, the Newbury Weekly News. Non-musically, I have a food blog on Facebook and a website called My Easy Suppers, which inspires people with meal ideas. My Facebook page started from nothing in June 2015, and now has more than 21,000 fans. I never expected to attract so many people!

  • 1977

    ​Helen Coghill (MBChB Medicine, 1977)

    I was part of a small committee who helped to organize a 40th anniversary reunion, including a black tie dinner, for a group of 73 alumni from the Medical School and their partners. A total of 115 guests attended, some having travelled from as far as Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Peru. As part of the celebrations, some of the group gathered at the Medical School for a guided tour and talk from Professor Jamie Coleman about the changes there over the past 40 years. 

  • 1979

    Janine Turner (BA German Studies, 1979)

    I recently received the German Embassy’s Lifetime Achievement Award for services to German, which was presented to me by the author John le Carré. I won a DAAD scholarship in 1977 to study at Freiburg University and went on after Birmingham to do a PGCE at Durham. Here I taught German and French until 1985 when we had our first son. Soon after the birth of our second son, we went to live in Chile where I also taught German – through Spanish. I have taught German since then at many schools, while also publishing three A level text-books on how to deliver Film in German A level, produced ten German plays and run a German choir. I am about to co-write a series of new A level textbooks on literature and I deliver film workshops in arts cinemas in the North West.

  • 1995

    ​Khalid Al-Shamsi (MSc (Eng) International Highway Engineering, 1995)

    I am currently a faculty member at the Department of Civil & Architectural Engineering at Sultan Qaboos University in Oman.

  • 2003

    Sarah Leavesley (Cert HE, Creative Writing, 2003)

    My short novella, Kaleidoscope, published by Mantle Lane Press was launched at Leicester’s States of Independence independent presses fair. The book contains thanks to Elsa Braekkan Payne, who taught me at Birmingham. Kaleidoscope is ‘a compelling and disturbing tale of a disintegrating life.’

  • 2003

    ​Dr Andrew Priest (PhD, American and Canadian Studies, 2003) and Dr Andrew Johnstone (PhD, Metallurgy and Materials 2006)

    Our book: US Presidential Elections and Foreign Policy: Candidates, Campaigns, and Global Politics from FDR to Bill Clinton has recently been published by Kentucky Press.

  • 2010

    Luke Nicholson (BA German and Italian Studies, 2010)

    I set up Improve Your Accent in 2012 to help non-native English speakers communicate more clearly and more confidently. Recently I won IPSE's UK Freelancer of the Year with £5,000 prize money to develop my business.

  • 2011

    Dr. Joshua Andy (MA Russian and East European Studies, 2005; PhD Russian and East European Studies, 2011)

    I have just been recognised with the Educator of the Year Award from the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh. The prize is for ‘dedication to inspiring critical thought and personal growth among students through lessons of the Holocaust’. I am a history teacher at Pittsburgh’s Winchester Thurston School and have worked with many students to understand the impact historical events have had on our lives and culture. Read more at

  • 2012

    ​Ross Patman (BsC Computer Science with Business Management, 2012)

    I have just released an app that students of the University (especially language students) may find useful. Our website is

  • 2015

    Satya Mouland (LLB Law with German, 2015)

    I have been awarded a Queen Mary University of London Research Studentship of three years to commence my PhD in International Law (Court Jurisdiction in respect of Arbitration Proceedings). I received a first class degree from Birmingham and a Distinction in an LLM in Commercial Law from the University of Edinburgh in 2016.