class of 2016, graduation, university of nottingham graduation, nottingham graduation, nottingham graduates, nottingham alumni

July 15, 2016, by Elizabeth Smith

Congradulations from The Ingenuity Lab

“Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire”

We are halfway through the Summer Graduation season at The University of Nottingham. This means just over 7,500 students are moving on to embark on new adventures – whether that involves entering the workplace, travelling the world or continuing to study and research.

During the graduation ceremonies so far the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir David Greenaway, has stressed the importance of putting in more than you take out of things, maintaining an international perspective and always striving to do something with purpose. We hope that it has inspired our members to continue working to address global issues with everyday solutions.

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At The Ingenuity Lab, we have a total of 20 members graduating this Summer, including many of our international students. We caught up with a few of them to find out what their plans are now they have graduated…


Alec Machin


Alec Machin, Decorate Paints, University of Nottingham Alumni, The Ingenuity Lab, Ingenuity Lab member, Product Design graduate Nottingham, Nottingham university graduatesInvolvement with The Ingenuity Lab:
Director, Decorate Paints

Course: Product Design and Manufacture MEng

Grade: First

Graduated on: Friday 15th July

Originally from: Leicester

What has been the best part of being a student at The University of Nottingham? 

I’ve had so many amazing experiences at The University of Nottingham. I couldn’t possibly just choose one thing! Winning my RSA Award and Ingenuity15 would have to be right up there, though.

The university has provided me with so many opportunities to help me get where I am today. My lecturers and staff within the Faculty of Engineering have given so much support. Many thanks to The Ingenuity Lab for everything they have contributed to the business and my personal development. Finally, a shout out to Steve Chapman for always being on hand to answer whatever questions I may have. Your continued positivity and enthusiasm has been amazing!

What is your plan now you’ve graduated? 

I’m currently in the process of finding some part-time work to support me while I continue to develop Decorate at The Ingenuity Lab.

What would be your top tip for those joining the University in September? 

Enjoy it as much as you can, and get involved with as many activities as you can. Your time at university is as much about finding yourself as it is about completing your degree!


Jianhua Shao


Involvement with The Ingenuity Lab:
Director, Wraptime

Course: PhD in Computer Sciencejianhua shao, wraptime, ingenuity lab, phd graduate nottingham, university of nottingham graduate

Graduated on: Friday 15th July

Originally from: China

What has been the best part of being a student at The University of Nottingham?

I’ve spent the last eight years at The University of Nottingham to earn a BSc and a PhD. During that time, Nottingham has become my second home.

I love the true international culture at the university, and studying at the Ningbo Campus in China and here in Nottingham allowed me to study alongside classmates from all over the world.

I entered two entrepreneurship competitions during my time here as a student. The first was Sustainability YES in 2011, where I led a team of four to win the First Prize in the business plan competition. The other was Ingenuity16 and my team, Wraptime, were awarded an Enterprise Grant of £2,000. Although both competitions were hard, I really enjoyed them and they taught me some invaluable lessons.

What is your plan now you’ve graduated?

I’m planning on staying on at The Ingenuity Lab, as I benefit so much from the learning and support they offer. I am currently working at Cass Business School in London as a research fellow. I am also exploring the opportunities available for Wraptime in London. In the next few years, I hope to continue both aspects of my career.

What would be your top tip for those joining the University in September?

Life is so much easier if you plan and organise well! Talk to older students or alumni, listen to their stories and ask questions to help you realise the direction you want to head in. Most of them will be more than happy to share their insights and guide you. Don’t be shy and talk to others!


Lizzie Smith

lizzie smith, ingenuity lab graduate, geography graduate, nottingham graduate, geography alumni nottingham, nottingham university alumni, university of nottingham alumni, graduation dayInvolvement with The Ingenuity Lab: Marketing and Events Assistant, The Ingenuity Lab

Course: Geography BA

Grade: 2:1

Graduated on: Monday 11th July

Originally from: London

What has been the best part of being a student at The University of Nottingham?

Aside from getting to go to Ocean every Friday night with all my friends, the best thing about being a student is the amount of opportunities available for us. All the academic staff and internal staff I’ve met seem to genuinely be rooting for you, and that’s amazing.

Plus the campuses are all so beautiful… I can’t think of anywhere prettier to have spent my three years as an Undergraduate!

What is your plan now you’ve graduated?

As well as continuing to work at The Ingenuity Lab, I’m planning on undertaking a Landscape and Culture MA at The University of Nottingham. I have previously done an internship at an SME that encourages accessible design and challenges perceptions about disability, and would love to be involved in research and a career path that follows a similar ethos and can help encourage a more inclusive world.

What would be your top tip for those joining the University in September?

Of course putting the hours in and working hard is a must. But make sure you cherish every moment you have with your friends, whether that’s being dressed up for a ball or formal, or walking down Derby Road in the freezing cold rain. Before you know it, your student days are over and you have to enter the scary world of adulthood for good!

Plus, if this is your first time away from home – make sure you wash up used teaspoons, use the cleaning products your parents brought you, and don’t leave tupperwares with mouldy food inside festering in the fridge for a whole term!


Sarah Found

sarah found, comfy bums, university of nottingham graduate, nottingham university graduate, the ingenuity labInvolvement with The Ingenuity Lab: Director, Comfy Bums

Course: French Studies BA Hons

Grade: 2:1

Graduating on: Wednesday 20th July

What has been the best part of being at student at The University of Nottingham?

I have been given the chance to grow in ways that I never previously imagined. I am such a different person now in comparison with who I was in 2009, and that would never have happened if I had not chosen to go to The University of Nottingham.

Before I started at university, I was told I could not get a good degree due to my illness. So thank you to all the people at the university who have believed in me and encouraged me – it has meant the world! Special thanks goes to my family, my partner Matt, my friends and the outstanding staff in the Department of French and Francophone Studies, The Ingenuity Lab and The Careers and Employability Service. I would have not got through my degree or developed Comfy Bums without the encouragement that despite my health challenges, I can still contribute and play a useful role in society.

What is your plan now you’ve graduated?

I’m planning on staying on at The Ingenuity Lab as Alumni to work on my business idea now my degree is finished. And I’m going to learn to drive. And try to not crash into anyone!

What would be your top tip for those joining the University in September?

It sounds very cliche, but make the most of your time at University. I was doing my degree for seven years, but the time has still somehow managed to disappear very quickly.

Have a good time, study hard and don’t underestimate the importance of getting plenty of work experience under your belt. The support to do this is there if you reach out.


We can’t wait to hear about the new chapters that the Class of 2016 are entering, and look forward to following the successful career paths of our Ingenuity Lab members who have joined the Alumni network.

If you are part of the Class of 2016 and have a business idea that you think can set your soul on fire, we would love to have you join The Ingenuity Lab community. We are always welcoming University of Nottingham Alumni into our network of budding entrepreneurs, industry leading mentors and influential investors, and would love you to join! Find out how to join here.

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