Since being introduced in 1995, the Ryder Bursary has invested over £600,000 to support students. Laura Bielinski, 2021's winner, gives an overview of the application process and her plans for the future.
I joined Ryder in 2020 after graduating from the University of Sheffield during the COVID-19 pandemic. It was the practice’s Everything architecture ethos which first led me to apply for a role at Ryder as it aligned so much with my own values as a future architect, committing to working with communities in a socially conscious way.
I chose to spend two years at Ryder to further develop my skills and confidence before returning to university to complete my master’s degree. This was the best decision I made (aside from applying for the bursary!) as it allowed me to work on projects across a multitude of sectors, continuously learning along the way.
I have been lucky to be part of Paul Bell’s team in Liverpool, where I can look back and feel extremely proud of my contributions across the practice. However, my most rewarding experiences have come from engaging with local schools and work experience students. I have also had room to pursue my interests in equity and inclusivity in architecture – something I did not expect to have the opportunity to do as a Part 1. As part of Ryder’s Inclusivity group, I have been empowered to speak passionately about diversity both in architectural education and in one’s professional career.
When the Bursary application process came around, it was something I knew of already and was sure I wanted to apply for, as well as it being useful opportunity to reflect on 15 months of invaluable experience. For me, winning the bursary means I can afford to begin the next step in my route to qualification in a way I know suits me best. This year, we had one month to craft a portfolio of academic and practice work, a personal statement and a 1,000 word research paper, followed by an interview with Hannah Bryan, senior architect, Sarah O’Connor, associate, and Mark Thompson, managing partner. This, alongside university applications, really tested my time management! I chose to write my paper on the importance of equity within architectural practice, which, as already mentioned, is a topic close to my heart and incredibly relevant to my future success in architecture. I am excited to continue this research with Ryder’s support when I return.
Despite the challenging application process, I am beyond grateful to receive the 2022 Ryder Bursary out of a group of such strong and talented applicants and colleagues. The Bursary is an opportunity unlike any other I have ever had. I intend to get as much out of it, both in embarking on my master’s degree and the continued support from my peers at Ryder. In return, I hope to continue contributing to the practice that has given me so much.
With excitement and anticipation, I look forward to starting my Part 2 at London Metropolitan very soon. Although the idea of returning to an educational environment is daunting, I am ready for what the future holds.