Students and Scholarships

Scholar Spotlight Interview: Barakat

We caught up with Barakat Olagunju recently, a first year Architectural Engineering student who was awarded the Gerry Mason Engineering Scholarship because of her academic excellence, attainment, and strong application. The scholarship was established in 2015 in memory of Gerry Mason, who founded the Morson Group in 1969. The scholarship continues in his legacy by enabling budding engineers to study degree-level courses rooted in STEM. These scholarships alongside other projects have created a long-lasting partnership between the Morson Group and the University.

In the interview Barakat talks about the immense pride and sense of achievement she felt achieving the scholarship, as it has helped her access vital resources needed for her course.  Barakat was struggling to find an affordable computer and the news came at a perfect time, Barakat said, ‘I was surprised that I [received the scholarship] because, when I applied, I wasn’t thinking that I was going to get it. It came at the perfect time as I needed a computer for the course. Computers used for architecture are quite expensive as they need to run additional software.’

After buying her laptop, Barakat is now contemplating other ways to best to manage her money whilst studying but says the scholarship ‘helps me to feel a bit more eased about money. When people told me that university can be a bit of a struggle, I did not really believe them or understand what they meant until I got started,’ .

Barakat’s scholarship funding has already had tangible effects on her studies, by being able to focus on her academic work, reducing the amount of shifts she’s working, Barakat said, ‘I can work regular shifts instead of working extra shifts and I don’t have to worry about where I am going to get the money for the laptop anymore.’

While Barakat hasn’t decided on her future career just yet, she is interested in architectural engineering and wants to continue exploring that element within her course. The scholarship has empowered Barakat to believe that she can become an architectural engineer while raising the profile of women in STEM. It has also inspired her to give back in the future.

Barakat recommends that other students apply for donor-funded scholarship. Barakat provides some great advice to potential scholarship applicants in the future, ‘Even if you think that you might not get it, that is the worst possible scenario. The best possible scenario is you getting the scholarship. You don’t lose anything by applying but you give yourself the chance to gain a lot.’

Barakat is extremely grateful for the opportunity that the Morson Group have provided her, and it makes her happy to know that our supporters are providing scholarship programmes to help students to achieve their dreams, ‘It’s nice to know that there are people out there that are willing to support you. The fact that there is a whole programme shows that there are people out there that are willing to help other people. It’s nice to know that there are people like that.’

More information

Students can find out more by checking out our donor-funded scholarships or learn about further money advice and support.

Donor-funded scholarships and bursaries offer a financial lifeline to those who need it most. Securing a scholarship is not only a non-repayable reward for our students, but a moment of recognition and a vote of confidence that we believe in their potential. Find out more about opportunities to support our students on our website.