Future Geniuses, ASSEMBLE!

BTEC Level 3 Applied Science student, Love Manago from Southend City College attended a physics competition at Merton College in Oxford after being selected for a video she made on the subject of What Lights Up Your Love For Physics. Love was competing with nine other students from various colleges across the country. 

The ‘What Lights Up Your Love For Physics’ competition saw students demonstrating their chosen physics theories through three-minute videos to a panel of Oxford Professors and Love’s submission included a song she had written about the history of physics and she even animated a cartoon cat in the video. 

Love said: “I’m so speechless to have been selected. Out of the hundreds of submissions, I did not expect to be participating in this amazing competition. I thought I was just an average student, but to have made it into the top ten just feels incredible.” 

Love invited two of her fellow classmates, Hayley Munns and Sheryssa Castro along for the experience around the university where activities included a tour of the historical grounds, a formal dinner, an overnight stay in the accommodations, stargazing, a tour of the physics departments and a Q&A with Oxford Astrophysicist and famous YouTuber Dr Becky Smethurst. 

Principal of Southend City College, Nicki Kelly said: “Hearing about Love’s nomination, I was blown away by her presentation and enthusiasm for Physics. I am so pleased for every one of the people nominated and a huge well done to Love. We wish her the very best for the future and we will keep a close eye as I don’t feel this will be the last we hear of her. Congratulations.”

Love’s video won an award in the category, ‘Best Visuals and Sound’. Love said: “It has lightened up my love for physics even more. Every second I have discovered something new. From the architecture that surrounds the college to the people who I’ve met. Commonly, I do not come across people who are interested in the same subject as me and that’s been exciting.” 


Success stories

Zack Short My Story

Zack Short My Story

Course studied

Criminology & Forensic Investigation BSc (Hons)

I would say to anyone who has a disability and was thinking of studying at South Essex College Group ‘just go for it, take the shot even if you are nervous.

My name is Zack Short and I am studying BA (Hons) Criminology and Forensic Investigation at the University Centre South Essex.

I started at the college in 2017 and did a Level 2 Diploma in Applied Science course. It was a challenge at first with my visual impairment but eventually I was able to progress to the Level 3 Extended Diploma in Applied Science, which I did for the next two years. I had some fun in that class and met some really good people. 

I then chose to progress to a BSc (Hons) Criminology & Forensic Investigation which I thought could lead to an interesting career in the criminological field. My support staff are amazing, they have dealt with me for nearly seven years so we know each other pretty well.

My visual impairment isn’t related to the eyes, it is related to a skin condition called Pseudoxanthoma Elasticum (PXE),  which is extremely rare. At the time I was diagnosed back in 2010/2011 only about 250 people had it, that’s how rare it is. It has numerous different affects, but in my case it has affected my eyes quite badly and parts of my brain. In recent years I’ve gone colour blind due to over strangulation of nerve endings and blood loss in the eye so my eyes weren’t getting enough oxygen and couldn’t function correctly. I get severe headaches and eye strains if I push myself a bit too hard. 

As I mentioned earlier, I get amazing support from the communicators here at SECG. They are saints because they get the work done and even if they are under stress,  they get it out on time which is phenomenal. They have saved me more than once. I get help from scribes who take notes for me, I can get help setting up equipment and measurements or modified rulers. The communicators here provide tactile graphs, braille sheets etc.

I would say to anyone who has a disability and was thinking of studying at South Essex College Group ‘just go for it, take the shot even if you are nervous.’ In the future I want to go into a criminology field like crime analytics, theory or crime policies where you gather all the numbers and facts behind the crime scenarios.

Zack was supported by Debbie Gale (Educational Communicator) who has been at his side for the last six years, throughout his Level 2 Diploma in Applied Science, then Level 3 Extended Diploma in Applied Science, and finally throughout his Degree BSc (Hons) Criminology & Forensic Investigation. He also achieved his GCSE English whilst here at the college. Carmen Griffin (Educational Communicator) has supported Zack throughout secondary school and all through college and says that so to be able to see his final educational journey and progress here at the college over the last year and half has been fantastic. 

Celebrating Success 2022: Luke Lambert

Celebrating Success 2022: Luke Lambert

Course studied

Performing and Production Arts (Musical Theatre) Level 3 Extended Diploma

I have enjoyed receiving honest feedback and having the opportunity to grow as a performer. Tutors really encourage their students.

Performing Arts Student of the Year, Luke Lambert, has won his award because in every respect, his development and improvement has been outstanding.

Luke said that he feels extremely proud and grateful for the recognition. 

He said: “I chose to study at the college because I went to the open day with my parents. We were all really excited by the course and impressed by Richard and his ambition for his students.”

He added: “The course has been great for learning professional etiquette, as well as the actual training. I have enjoyed receiving honest feedback and having the opportunity to grow as a performer. Richard and Neil really encourage their students.” 

Luke’s tutor said: “Luke is an outstanding student. The development of his skills set during his time at this college is phenomenal which has been rewarded by casting him in the lead of the cohorts FMP production of ‘Spring Awakening’. As a result of his continuous diligence and want to improve, he has achieved offers from four top London Drama Schools to study Musical Theatre, Bird College, Arts Educational, Italia Conti and Guildford Conservatoire (GSA). This is far above what was expected at the beginning of his training. 

“He has demonstrated that he is highly motivated to succeed in this industry and aspires to always do his best. He is polite and well-mannered at all times to both his peers and his tutors. He is extremely well respected  by his cohort. He is always supportive of them and goes out of his way to help them. 

“He has become a very influential member of the group in so many positive ways. Behaviour, focus and attention to detail is impeccable and cannot be faulted. He has met every deadline for both practical and academic tasks. A faultless time at this college.”

Luke will be studying for a BA (Hons) in Musical Theatre at ArtsEd in London from September and his ultimate ambition is to be performing leading roles in the West End. 

Celebrating Success 2022: Zoe Souto

Celebrating Success 2022: Zoe Souto

Course studied

Animal Care Level 2 Diploma

Zoe Souto, 17, from Rayleigh, studied Level 2 Animal Care at the college’s Southend campus.

She was nominated for the award for her excellent attendance and attitude to college life and for completing work before deadlines to a very high standard.

Her tutor said: “Zoe is a very calming influence on the group. She keeps up-to-date with all work and goes above and beyond what is expected.

“Zoe may be hearing impaired but she never lets that act as a barrier to her learning and does everything to a great standard. I often have to set her work from level 3 to keep her ticking over.”

Zoe said: “I feel so proud of myself and surprised as I didn’t expect to be nominated, let alone win. I enjoyed all the support that was given during my course and have always been made to feel at home at the college.”

Zoe’s ambition for the future is to run her own pet services business or run her own cattery.