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Working and studying while pregnant doesn’t faze successful student Juanaya

Date 25.07.2019

A super-mum from the University of Northampton is living proof that hard work and determination pays off.

Juanaya Lloyd-Sempress spent the final year of her Drama degree juggling a part-time job with her studies – while also having to contend with being pregnant for the duration.

Instead of her university work suffering, Juanaya was spurred on to succeed and graduated with a well-deserved 2:1 – while also giving birth to beautiful baby boy Reuel, just a couple of weeks after her course ended.

Mum and baby Reuel, now two months old, were joined at graduation on Wednesday 24 July, by Reuel’s father Rhys and proud grandmother and Juanaya’s mum, Emma.

Juanaya, who is originally from Manchester, said: “I became pregnant right at the start of the academic year and was also waitressing in a pub to help fund my time at uni, so it was a busy time, to say the least.

“But I went in with a really positive attitude in my final year, I was really spurred on to do my best and I somehow managed to smash it.”

Drama Programme Leader, Johnmichael Rossi, was full of pride after seeing Juanaya’s hard work pay off.

He said: “Juanaya has had an incredibly impressive final year of study on the drama programme, balancing her pregnancy and her own health and well-being with completing four outstanding modules towards her honours degree.

“Throughout the year, she was a positive presence in class sessions and brought diverse viewpoints into class discussion and the creative work that she developed, notably her short play, The Misconception of Colour, which grappled with race and gentrification, inspired by real-life events in Hackney, East London.

“She was also helpful in providing guidance and support to students at other year levels offering them advice and encouragement and sharing her experiences on the programme.

“The graduation ceremony was a proud moment for the Drama team to see her complete the year with such success.”