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Zahra Baz, graduates this summer with a BSc in Journalism with Education, achieving a first-class honours, while balancing physical conditions and extensive volunteering commitments.

During her time at Ulster University, Zahra has overcome adversity in terms of her health with issues arising from her physical conditions, Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, Tendonitis and Amniotic Band Syndrome. Speaking about her experience, Zahra said:

“My health can be difficult to manage due to its erratic nature.  The help and support of my lecturers has been amazing, and they were always on hand and understanding of any extensions I required.”

A Carnmoney native, Zahra says she chose Ulster University as it offered her a support system close to home, where she could manage her health:

“Ulster University was always my first choice as it is close to home. Close to home meant more than a simple train ride. Close to home meant closer to doctors, to my appointments and to the organisations I work with on a personal and professional level. Ulster University meant I was close to my much-appreciated support system.”

Alongside her studies, Zahra is involved in a range of volunteering activities in organisations such as Versus Arthritis, Children in Need, the National Childrens Bureau and BBC NI.  Zahra has been appointed to the Youth Advisory Panel of Versus Arthritis which advises the organisations of programmes and research that will help young people with Arthritis.

“My volunteering commitments mean a lot me, they have offered me so many opportunities to overcome challenges within myself while helping others who have similar experiences that I have had. Giving back to the community and helping young people is extremely fulfilling to me.”

Zahra aims to be a successful music journalist in the future and reflects why she chose to study journalism:

“I have always found it fascinating that a piece of work can be written by a journalist and shared around the world instantly to make a difference in people’s lives. I’ve always been shy and have found it easier to express myself through the written word. Studying Journalism catered to my strengths while challenging my weaknesses, not only academically but to a personal standard as well.”

While continuing to build her journalism portfolio and gain practical experience, Zahra will continue in her volunteering roles, inspiring and making a difference to young people’s lives.