BA (Hons) Sociology (2012), MA Religion, Culture and Society (2013)
UCLan MA Religion, Culture and Society graduate, Joshua Samuels-Hylton, has succeeded in the education sector to become a Personal Tutor at further education provider, Pendleton Sixth Form College.
In the final year of his undergraduate degree in Sociology, Joshua felt inspired to continue onto a masters course at UCLan having been intellectually stimulated during a theological debate he took part in. Joshua chose to study Religion, Culture and Society driven by his enthusiasm to refine his socio-cultural knowledge and grow spiritually. Another deciding factor was the teaching team, who Joshua felt had a dynamic and personable approach to students, bringing the best out in them, as well as providing expert guidance on a wide variety of topics.
Joshua thrived from the masters environment where he was part of a religiously diverse group of students who drew from each other’s perspectives and increased their awareness of other religious beliefs. He states: “In the moments we diverted from our academic voices and utilised our unique devotional voices, the edification and clarification from the perspectives of an Evangelical Christian, an Atheist, a Roman Catholic, a Pagan, a Muslim and myself, a Rastafari, were priceless.”
Following graduation in 2013, Joshua became an Associate Lecturer at UCLan and then went on to a similar role at Edge Hill University. For a significant period of time, Joshua also worked for the National Citizen Service as a Charity Contact Co-Ordinator and a Mentor.
Currently, Joshua works as a Personal Tutor at Pendleton Sixth Form College, which is part of Salford City College. His role involves teaching and providing pastoral support for A Level and BTEC students from a wide array of disciplines and levels of ability. Joshua teaches between 16 and 21 classes per week, presenting on topics under personal, social, moral and health education. Other duties include attendance monitoring, scholastic progress tracking, mentoring, holding one-to-one tutorials and exam invigilation.
Reflecting on his time at UCLan, Joshua said: “My lasting memories of UCLan are unequivocally the best times of my life. UCLan is a great university, with a lovely campus atmosphere. Being located centrally, you are located near all the local amenities but also the student accommodation is interspersed between residential areas so there is a sense of community to be felt.”
Joshua continued: “My UCLan experience has allowed me to refine my character, broaden my perspective and holistically grow as a man. I also met some of my closest friends at UCLan and forged connections with like-minded individuals from a multitude of backgrounds that I know will last a lifetime. The position I am in today is directly related to the knowledge gained and the experiential employability skills that were developed whilst at UCLan. Moreover, my degree and experience at the University has enabled me to actualise my potential not once but twice.”
When asked if he has any advice to current students and graduates, Joshua stated: “I would advise students to view education as the passport to their future therefore they should apply, apply, apply! The only thing that can come between yourself and greatness is you. The master’s in Religion, Culture and Society pits you at the edge of your comfort zone thus stretching your skillset and competencies, transforming a good undergraduate student into an outstanding postgraduate social scientist. Along the way, you never know what options will be presented to you and the connections that are waiting to be made that could ultimately result in employment opportunities. A point worthy of consideration is the fact that the innovative structure of the programme promotes socio-cultural dialogue, critical analysis of current affairs and the critique of historical and contemporary world injustices, which is so pertinent in this current politically charged climate. Expect seminar discussions to tackle sensitive issues head on! For those who consider themselves to be socially conscious, you will be thoroughly enthused by the platform to eruditely challenge discourse.”
Joshua states his greatest achievement since graduation as his “continued progression in education and academia as a direct result of gaining my master’s with merit.” Joshua said: Not only did I gain the position of Associate Lecturer, I was put forward to be considered for PhD candidacy on my research interest of the cultural expression and faith of Rastafari and how a number of its principles, which were once scorned, are now permeating and represent the height of Western pop culture. For example, veganism, meditation and the vying for sustainability.”
Joshua hopes to one day fulfil his dream and secure funding which will allow him to return to UCLan to start a PhD. He said: “I’d like to gain my PhD in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences and one day become a Professor, as this would allow me to continue to reinvest my knowledge and energy into the oncoming generation and the institution that helped me excel and supersede that which would most typically be expected of me. Moreover, in bringing this goal to fruition, I would use my position to disrupt the narrative by representing and advocating for greater diversity in the higher education teaching and research sphere for members of the BAME and lower H.E. participation communities.”