Making a huge impact in students’ lives

Guiding and inspiring students at Leeds has seen ‘excellent’ colleagues and classmates recognised in a prestigious awards scheme.

Nearly 2,200 nominations were received for this year’s Leeds Partnership Awards

Leeds Partnership Awards 2021. May 2021

The latest in our feature series – profiling winners in all 14 categories of this year’s Leeds Partnership Awards – highlights the outstanding accomplishments of recipients of the Supervisor and Feedback accolades.

The coveted awards celebrate those people who truly put into practice the Leeds Partnership – an agreement setting out our shared commitment to work together to support all aspects of our University community.

And with nearly 2,200 nominations, there has been plenty to celebrate.

Supervisor Award

This award goes to the dissertation, thesis or final year project supervisor who has guided and inspired others to push the boundaries of their research.

Judges chose joint winners this year – Dr Miller Alonso Camargo-Valero, Associate Professor of BioResource Systems in the School of Civil Engineering, and Dr Stephan Petzold, Lecturer in German History in the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies.

Tatiana Zúñiga-Burgos, a PhD student in the School of Civil Engineering and School of Cell and Molecular Biology, was among those to nominate Dr Camargo-Valero.

She said: “Dr Camargo-Valero is my main PhD supervisor, and I cannot help but feeling absolutely grateful for his advice and presence in my academic life.

“Firstly, because he gave me the opportunity to start my PhD at this great university. Secondly, because he has always provided great advice, not only academic-wise, but also from a very human perspective. Finally, he has an excellent vision of the impact research can have on society, which I find very inspiring.

“On a more personal experience, he provided a lot of support during my first months in Leeds, when I struggled the most to adapt and feel confident enough to start my research activities. Then, when the covid-19 pandemic started, he was always there to help me prepare my transfer report, despite being so busy with other students and university affairs.

“He’s the kind of person that makes people come together across different disciplines for bigger purposes, to find solutions, work as a team and deliver results that contribute to our society with the aim to achieve real change. He definitely deserves this award!”

Dr Camargo-Valero said: “I’m very happy to receive the Supervisor Award and would like to congratulate Dr Stephan Petzold, who also received this award this year. 

“From my own personal experience, I highly valued the advice and mentorship received from my own supervisor during my time as a PhD student at Leeds, which was crucial for my career development. Based on that experience, I’ve done my best to provide supervision that focuses on the key skills that contribute to developing independent, critical abilities in my students. 

“I very much consider student supervision as a two-way conversation in which I have also learnt a lot from all students working under my supervision. This great experience has helped me to increase my awareness about how diverse our postgraduate researcher community is and to acknowledge that everyone has a different starting baseline, despite all having the same benchmark to reach. 

“Many thanks to all my past and present students for letting me be part of their journey at Leeds and to my colleagues, fellow supervisors and the wonderful technical support staff, who are inspirational in the work I do.”

Dr Petzold was unavailable for comment.

Leeds Partnership Awards profiles. July 2021

Dr Miller Alonso Camargo-Valero was joint winner of the Supervisor Award, alongside Dr Stephan Petzold (not pictured)

Feedback Award

This award recognises the person who provides invaluable and supportive academic feedback, in both content and delivery method, which helps others to develop and excel in their work.

This year, judges selected a staff winner – Kashmir Kaur, a Lecturer in English for Academic Purposes in the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies – and joint student winners, Yara Chmayaa, Ashely Ma and Kacper Rozanski.

Noof Edan Alzahrani, a PhD student in the School of Chemical and Process Engineering, was among those to nominate Kashmir for the award.

She said: “I nominated Kashmir for providing invaluable and supportive academic feedback that has impacted very positively on me and my future PhD studies.

“Kashmir’s classes were full of a variety of interesting tasks, including regular quizzes and Padlet activities, which were very useful for reviewing concepts.

“Kashmir assisted and encouraged us to build a community of learning, so we could also seek support from our peers. This engendered a sense of belonging and being part of the University, even though all our lessons/meetings were online.”

Kashmir said: “I’m thrilled and excited to receive a Partnership Award – it’s a wonderful honour.

“A huge thank you to my students and foreign language assistants, who help to make my teaching inspiring and such a joy. I’m hugely appreciative that students took the time and effort to nominate me.”

Leeds Partnership Awards profiles. July 2021

Kashmir Kaur, staff winner of the Feedback Award

Amy Dodd, a Masters student in Corporate Communications, Marketing and Public Relations, was among those to nominate classmates Yara Chmayaa, Ashley Ma and Kacper Rozanski for the student Feedback Award.

She said: “After learning how many of us were panicking and stressed about our assignments and the weekly workload … they started providing weekly Zoom meetings to go through the lectures with any of us who didn’t understand and who felt more comfortable asking them than in the lectures.

“They prepared for these meetings, doing extra reading so they were confident enough to explain key concepts to us, despite not being completely experienced with it themselves.

“They never asked anything from us. Their support, openness, hard work and complete humility throughout was imperative in helping us support each other in a really difficult time and empower us all to understand something a lot of us with no technical background thought we were doomed to fail and never grasp.

“Their relentless positivity and assurance that we were all capable of understanding and learning it made a really labour-intensive and stressful workload much easier, and we developed a really close-knit cohort, largely due to these weekly meet-ups.

“They were truly lifesavers and made a huge difference, not only to each of us on the course individually with that module, but also to our cohort’s dynamics in that it also helped develop a supportive and open atmosphere that fostered mutual development and learning.

“It also helps that they’re fantastically kind and humble people, who never complained or moaned or felt deserving of any kind of recognition. Exceptional students!”

In a joint statement, the winners said: “As honoured as we are to have our efforts recognised by the University, what’s most rewarding is seeing the positive impact we had on our classmates.”

Leeds Partnership Awards profiles. July 2021

Yara Chmayaa, Ashley Ma and Kacper Rozanski were joint student winners of the Feedback Award

Further information

More in-depth profiles of each of the winners will appear on the For Staff website during the coming weeks. These will also be promoted via the weekly All Staff enewsletters and the Staff Twitter account.

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