Sarah Kerruish joined us as a mature student and went on to not only achieve her dream of gaining a degree, but she also achieved an incredible mark of 92% on her dissertation, was awarded Student of the year, produced research which is benefiting the Island and started a new career in the industry she loves!
Before beginning her studies on the BA (Hons) History and Heritage degree, Sarah’s academic background consisted of the ‘O Level’ qualifications (what GCSEs used to be known as) she obtained during her secondary school education on the Island.
Returning to education
Sarah began her studies with UCM in 2019 after hearing about the opportunity to study degrees on-Island. Within a month of enquiring about Higher Education qualifications at UCM, Sarah was enrolled on her course, and her three-year degree journey had begun!
“I hadn’t realised that there was an opportunity for someone in my position to complete a degree with face-to-face teaching without leaving the Island, and I hadn’t completed an essay in a very long time, so it was certainly an interesting challenge.
“The support from my supervisor, lecturers, and fellow students was great and meant I could soon adapt to what was expected. Also, thanks to the smaller class numbers, you really do get to know each other very quickly.”
A lifelong interest
A keen history lover, Sarah has always had an attraction and curiosity to the past, so the opportunity to study something which she had a genuine interest in, was something which attracted her to the course.
“The History and Heritage degree has allowed me to indulge my lifelong interests. I have always been fascinated by history and archaeology, and the course spanned a range of historical areas and eras, covering some less-familiar subjects, whilst challenging some assumptions about better known topics too. Heritage raises questions about what we keep and why we value it. It’s all very interesting!”.
During her second year, Sarah undertook a five-week work placement with Manx National Heritage, where she had hands-on experience assisting in the production of access guides to some of the Island’s ancient monuments.
This then led to Sarah’s final research project into ‘Improving Access to Manx Archaeology for Autistic Visitors’ where the research was supported by feedback from members of the Manx Autistic community, for which Sarah was very grateful.
she worked closely with representatives from Autism Mann and Autism Initiatives to develop a study which she hopes will prove beneficial in the future. Sarah went on to present her research at the 2022 Research Festival.
Student of the year
During UCM’s 2022 Graduates’ Ceremony, Sarah was nominated by her tutors to receive the Liam Arrowsmith Higher Education Student of the Year award for her excellent research project, something which she never expected.
“Receiving the Student of the Year award was a complete surprise. I was completely shocked when my name was announced, especially given the achievements of all the other students in my cohort. I still can’t quite believe it now.”
Since graduating, Sarah has remained involved with UCM and with the History & Heritage degree, as a sessional lecturer. This has allowed her to use and develop the knowledge she acquired throughout her studies. Other History & Heritage students have pursued a range of career paths, proving just how versatile and transferable the skills gained can be in other industries.
Would you recommend it to others?
“I would urge anyone with an interest in History and Heritage to consider the course, particularly those who, like me, thought that they had left it too late. It is one of the best things I have ever done.”