Class of 2020 - My Leeds story

Our Class of 2020 completed their studies in challenging circumstances, during a global pandemic. Each month, join us as we celebrate the journey of a 2020 graduate.

Did you graduate in 2020?

Visit our Class of 2020 to find out exactly what it means to be a Leeds alumni, and how we will continue to support you. Let us know if you have your own 'My Leeds Story' to share - we'd love to hear what you've been up to since leaving Leeds.

And why not take a listen to the My Leeds Story podcast series. From space travel to fascinating Class of 2020 and alumni stories, subscribe now and don’t miss an episode.


Paige Kesemeyer (Social Policy 2019; MA Society, Culture and Media 2020)

In June, we spoke to Paige Kesemeyer, who journeyed from homelessness, to studying as a single parent with alumni scholarship support, and qualifying as a social sciences teacher.

Leo McDonagh (Japanese 2020)

In May, we spoke to Leo McDonagh, a Japanese graduate who has forged a career as a translator since graduation.

Lubiana Shabeer (Medicine 2020)

In April, we spoke to Lubiana Shabeer, a medicine who graduated early to join the NHS front line during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ahmed El Ghazawy (Computer Science with Artificial Intelligence 2020)

In March, we spoke to Ahmed El Ghazawy, a computer science with artificial intelligence graduate who moved from Egypt to study in Leeds, and was inspired to become a Link to Leeds Ambassador.

Meri Croft (Fine Art 2020)

In February, we spoke to Meri Croft, a Fine Art graduate who used her art to capture the uncertainty she faced after graduation. Her work went on to feature in the Guardian, and was later sold by New Blood Art.

Jonas Kitadi (Sociology 2020)

In January we spoke to Jonas Kitadi, a sociology graduate who recently started working for the social work charity Frontline.

Joy Akinsanmi (International Development 2020)

In December we spoke to Joy Akinsanmi, an international development graduate, who overcame a number of challenges in 2020 – not least of all living with Marfan syndrome, experiencing culture shock, and undergoing a major heart operation.

George Higginbotham (Medicine 2020)

In November we spoke to George Higginbotham. George studied medicine before graduating early to join the NHS frontline in the fight against Covid-19.

Maria Marqués (Sociology 2020)

In October we spoke to Maria Marqués, a Sociology graduate from Spain who swapped the sunny streets of Barcelona for the buzz of Leeds, and has no plans to go back anytime soon.

Victoria Purcell (Geophysical Sciences 2020)

In September we spoke to Victoria Purcell, a geophysical sciences graduate who overcame several challenges throughout her studies, and has spent the last few years balancing study and assignments with raising her son.

Gina Baker (MEng Chemical and Nuclear Engineering 2020)

In August we spoke to Gina Baker, an engineering masters graduate who made history at Leeds and ended up going viral on Twitter in the process.