Hard-working Nina overcomes daily challenges to graduate with degree

Graduating with a degree in Psychology and Counselling, Nina now hopes to become a person-centred counsellor.

Nina Collins graduation at Keele 2023

  • Student Nina Collins faced more challenges than most while at university;
  • The 25-year-old has cerebral palsy and received round the clock support from personal assistants;
  • Graduating with a degree in Psychology and Counselling, Nina now hopes to become a person-centred counsellor.

Hard-working Nina Collins has faced more obstacles than most in her journey to graduate from university.

Nina has dystonic quadriplegia cerebral palsy - which affects all four of her limbs – and uses a wheelchair to get around. The 25-year-old is also severely sight impaired and often needs assistance to get from A to B, especially when she is in a new environment.

During her time at Keele, personal assistants lived in the room next door to Nina and provided round the clock support with daily living activities, getting to and from lectures and taking notes, to help her get the most out of her experience as a student.

And in her spare time, Nina volunteered as one of Keele's Residence Advisers, who help provide information, guidance and welfare support to students who call our campus their home.

Today, Nina was joined by her proud family as she celebrated graduating with a Psychology and Counselling degree - moving her one step closer to her dream of becoming a person-centred counsellor.

Nina said: "I am a determined person and I always try and do things to the best of my ability. University has taken a bit more effort for me but it has definitely been worth it in the end. I'm just lucky that my cognitive abilities have not been impaired in any way and I’ve been able to come to university and complete a degree."

Nina, who grew up in Congleton, Cheshire, is now hoping to start studying for a Master's degree at Keele in September.

Nina's dad, Tim, said: "We’re all very proud of Nina. She has shown an incredible level of independence to go to university and live on campus with the support of her personal assistants. She came back home to live with us during lockdown but apart from that, we only saw her at holidays!

"She's had a couple of serious operations in her life, one on her spine and one lengthening her hamstrings, but the outlook now is very good. We were delighted that she got involved in the social side of things at university as well as studying. The support she received has been fantastic.”