As 2020 university graduates start their summer with new careers or looking forward to further study, one University of Sunderland graduate is raising a glass to her fellow classmates as she graduates with award-packed CV and her dream job.

BA (Hons) Glass and Ceramics graduate Iona Stock, 21, from York, received the Futures Fund Excellence Scholarship two years running, and the Mike Davis Innovation Scholarship, as well as graduating with a First Class honours degree. Iona has now crowned her successes with a role as a working artist.

Iona came to Sunderland because it is one of the few universities to offer both glass and ceramics.

She says: “The most enjoyable thing about studying at the University of Sunderland has been the availability, amount of attention and time the tutors and support staff are able to give to each student.  They created a really lovely supportive atmosphere to create artwork in.

“There was a really close-knit community within the course, and real freedom within the studio space – pre-lockdown.”

The arts have been in the spotlight lately, with the Government recently announcing £1.57 billion for the arts to combat the impact of Covid-19. Iona has exemplified how many young artists have risen to the challenge of Covid-19, completing her final assignments in lockdown, and taking part in the University’s virtual Degree Show, for which she won the Sunderland Glass and Ceramics Society Best in Degree Show prize.

Iona says: “After graduation I will be working with artists Joanna Howells and Richard Heeley. I will also be going traveling around the world, stopping by universities to research masters courses.”

Iona was one of the many students, graduates and friends of the University of Sunderland to feature in the summer 2020 online Graduation Celebration.  The site is still available at: https://www.sunderland.ac.uk/class-of-2020/