Moza Ackroyd receiving her reward

Inspirational Exeter student ‘defies the odds’ to win Student Social Mobility Award

A University of Exeter graduate has been awarded a Student Social Mobility Award for defying the odds of diverse socio-economic challenges to achieve outstanding career success.

Moza Ackroyd, a 2022 BSc Mathematics and Sustainability graduate, is one of the recipients of the 4th annual Student Social Mobility Award organised by upReach

Moza received her award at a prestigious ceremony in the House of Lords, hosted by Baroness Helena Kennedy QC on the 21st of July. 

The awards, organised by upReach, celebrate work in schools, sixth formers, employers and universities. Those nominated have managed to find success despite facing socio-economic challenges, such as juggling multiple responsibilities alongside studying, reduced access to careers support and professional network prior to attending University and living in areas with low job prospects. Winners are picked by an independent judging panel of ten leading representatives across the fields of education, business, technology, and the charity sector. 

The 21-year-old from Isle of Wight joined upReach after excelling from a state school and has so far enjoyed the support of mentors and role models in shaping her career trajectory whilst studying at Exeter 

It has however not been all rosy for high-flying Moza who faced a series of emotional and mental health struggles which affected her grades and required urgent medical attention, leading to a brief break from school. With the help of her tutors at the University and mentors at upReach, she surmounted these hurdles, displaying immense “grit” to make a comeback from a life-changing situation to complete her academic degree and secure a place on the Project Delivery Fast Stream commencing in September 2022.  

Speaking on her achievement, Moza said: “ It was an amazing evening at the House of Lords. The atmosphere was fantastic, with so many people gathered who’ve either contributed towards improving social mobility or who have achieved great things despite adversity. It was such a wonderful surprise and honour to receive this award, and I’m really excited to continue to pass on the knowledge that has been such a great help to me.” 

Aside from Moza, four students from the University of Exeter were shortlisted in different categories. Scarlett Hilson-Wheeler, a 2022 BSc Mathematics Graduate and Avaram Arta Ebrahimpour, incoming 3rd year law student were shortlisted alongside Moza in the Government, Politics & The Public Sector category. Neve Hoccom, incoming 2nd year Computer science student was shortlisted in the Technology category while Targe Jean-Pierre, a 2022 BSc Business and Management Graduate was shortlisted in two categories (Banking, Finance & Insurance and Professional services & consulting sectors). 

Paul Blackmore, Head of Student Employability and Academic Success said “This is a great achievement and well deserved recognition for Moza and all of the Exeter students finalists. The University places great importance on the social mobility and the success of our students, including the career support of aspiring learners of all ages and backgrounds within our wider stakeholder community.  

“We have been working in partnership with upReach for more than 10 years since its inception when two enterprising Exeter students proposed and created this amazing social enterprise. We are delighted to see that their work and the Student Social Mobility Awards continue to benefit and recognise the amazing achievements of our students and the higher education sector.” 

Date: 22 July 2022

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