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Emily Osborne graduates from Ulster University this summer with a BDes First Class Hons in Graphic Design and Illustration.

In her first year of university, Emily made the decision to further her development through Ulster’s EDGE/ EDGE Excel Award. The EDGE/ EDGE Excel Award provides students with opportunity to develop their personal and professional skills through completing extra-curricular and co-curricular activities. The award gives students recognition and credit for their achievements.

Emily not only completed the EDGE Excel Award successfully, but she was also named the ‘EDGE Excel Student of the Year,’ testament to her hard work and achievements to date.

“I chose to participate in the EDGE scheme to try and improve both my personal and professional skillsets. It seemed like a fantastic opportunity to use all resources available to me through the university and to begin my employability journey as soon as possible.

“With such competitive job markets, graduates must now be well-rounded and have developed skills outside their degree expertise. By completing a variety of projects, courses, and extracurricular activities, I was able to apply these directly when it came to my placement year, allowing me to receive full marks in my Professional Practice Diploma.”

Through the EDGE Award, Emily took part in a wide range of activities, including the 2018 PANI Advertising Competition. The competition sees students from the School of Communication and the School of Art and Design join forces to create an advertising campaign for a charity. Each team is assigned to an external mentor ad agency.

“One of my best highlights from Ulster has been taking part in the 2018 PANI Advertising Competition. Our year's charity was The Welcome Organisation, with our team mentored by Ardmore Advertising we managed to create the final winning campaign!

“This was a fantastic opportunity to challenge myself, although daunting as I was one of the only first years competing, it gave great insights into how agency life works. It also increased my skills and confidence within pitching and presenting work, and put me in front of the best in the industry - allowing me to network and ultimately secure placement the following year.”

Alongside winning the PANI Advertising Competition, Emily has a number of other accolades, including student course rep and winning the 2017 Translink Infrastructure Design Collaboration with Ulster University.

“The Translink Infrastructure Design Collaboration with Ulster University competition was a fantastic opportunity, and to this day I still enjoy exploring the city and seeing my work etched into the city-centric Glider halts. Never gets old!”

During lockdown, Emily was eager to find a way to help whilst staying at home, and so she decided to try to raise some money for the Belfast Trust NHS staff.

“I had previously been making polymer clay earrings in my spare time over at @jean_jewellery and so thought I could try and raise some money for the Belfast Trust NHS Staff by creating over 100 pairs of handmade rainbow earrings. All the pairs were snapped up in a matter of days and we managed to raise over £557 for the Belfast Trust! The support from the community was so overwhelming and uplifting.”

After graduation, Emily plans to explore as much of Northern Ireland as possible during the summer months, before commencing her new job in September.

“I’m taking the summer months to explore the beauties of Northern Ireland, enjoy a little bit of post-grad freedom and try some new exciting creative pursuits before September where I’ll be beginning my full-time position as a Creative at Ardmore Advertising & Marketing. I completed my placement within Ardmore and cannot wait to be back in a studio environment after many months spent trying to be creative in isolation.

“Most of all, we all know learning doesn’t stop once you graduate and so I am most excited to keep pushing my skillsets and stepping out of my comfort zones in the months to come.”