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Black Students of Excellence at UWL

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As we mark the start of Black Excellence Month at UWL, I wanted to personally share students’ own versions of black excellence, so every week during Black Excellence Month I'm going to share students own stories of overcoming hardships in order to get their degrees. Black women in particular, disproportionately face many significant hurdles on their journey to getting a degree, they are more likely to be the cleaners and receptionists at university rather than students, lecturers, and professors. With black women making up only 0.5% of the female professors in the UK, we hope that this set of uplifting experiences inspires all students to see what can be achieved, especially in such a nurturing and supportive environment like UWL. One of my goals is to become a lecturer and uplift and empower the students that teach. Please join me on this journey of uplifting and inspiring each other.  



Name: Kyna Tonkmor

Course: MSc Public Health and Wellbeing


I am so relieved to be able to say that I am now a graduate with a BSc in Health Promotion and Public Health! I joined UWL at level 5 because I previously completed one year in a nursing degree but it wasn’t the right time for me, clearly, now is my time. My degree is so broad that I am lucky enough to choose what I want to have employment in, whilst a student I have worked part-time for a charity, been a healthcare assistant and worked in a GP’s Surgery. I have also done numerous courses including becoming a Doula, which was super enlightening and makes me feel confident that I want to be employed in that particular field.


My son is now 4 and I feel so liberated as I have been able to manage a degree and make it through alongside parenthood. My son graduated from nursery and I’ve graduated from University! However, the real adjustment and biggest most significant thing is supporting my son in starting school and me… starting my masters here at UWL in Public Health and Wellbeing. Two big educational milestones in our lives and we get to share this moment together.


Like many students, I have had some obstacles to overcome including balancing my finances, work and parenting with my studies. My biggest struggle was having to decide to move to Liverpool whilst still at UWL, which takes the phrase ‘commuting student’ to the next level! But through hard work, constantly checking blackboard and communicating well with my lecturers and a fellow student I still managed to pass my assignments.


One of my aims is to inspire other women and mums, so from time to time I share my story on social media. As a parent and mature student, my top tips are to have a study time-table to help juggling all of the things we have going on! Most importantly is to not forget about having time for yourself even though that can be hard we need to maintain a good level of mental wellness to take on all of these tasks. 



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