We are delighted to name Roxana Mohammadian-Molina (MSc Financial Economics and Econometrics, 2007) as our Volunteer of the Year 2023.

This award recognises Roxana’s support and commitment to the University and our students – we are so grateful for the time she has given to Essex since she graduated sixteen years ago.

 The Vice-Chancellor presents Roxana, who is wearing a green dress, with her Volunteer of the Year certificate

A recognised leader in the financial technology sector, Roxana is an international investor and entrepreneur, and Chief Strategy Officer of FinTech Blend Network. She is a proud advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion in the financial sector. Roxana also runs Smart Investress, a free weekly newsletter that makes reading about finance more enjoyable for students and young professionals.

Over the last four years, Roxana has been a committed supporter of our Careers Mentoring Programme, helping numerous students with one-to-one support and guidance, empowering them to reach their potential. Alongside volunteering as a mentor, Roxana has spoken at careers focused events, delivered a guest lecture to economics students, and participated in mock interview panels. She also sits on the Economics Advisory Board and Employer Advisory Committee at the University, bringing her wealth of experience in industry to support student experience and employability.

Roxana is an advocate and champion for the University’s newly established Student Investment Trading (SIT) Fund. The SIT Fund is enabling Essex students, many of whom are from under-represented backgrounds, to gain vital experience of financial markets by developing investment strategies and trading real funds, that will help to enhance their future prospects of working in the financial sector. Roxana is also part of the University’s women in finance group for our Angels@Essex investment platform which links angel investors to entrepreneurs with innovative ideas.

We asked Roxana why she enjoys volunteering so much and she told us: “I get inspired by the energy, ideas, and initiative of my mentees. It is every time a very rewarding experience for me to be able to share my journey and experiences with such a diverse and culturally rich group of young women and men who are so determined to succeed in their respective fields. I also learn from their experiences and journeys.”

One of Roxana's mentees said: “Roxana helped me to build my confidence which is something I definitely struggled with. I was able to secure a job for when I leave university, along with many skills/tips I can take with me and use throughout my working life. In summary, the help I received from my career mentor was extremely useful and I cannot thank Roxana enough!”

Rebecca Payne, Career Programmes Officer praised Roxana’s support over the years. “She has been amazing to work with, Roxana is a consummate professional, extremely kind, an inspiration and always happy to support both the University and its students in any way she can.”

We are so grateful to all alumni who give up their time to support the University and the next generation of students. Essex was built on the generosity of others, and this legacy continues thanks to our community of alumni.

If like Roxana, you would like to help and give back to the University, here is a small snapshot of the many ways alumni have volunteered their time to support Essex this year:

  • providing a graduate profile and featuring in our marketing materials
  • contributing to our social media
  • hatting to applicants about life at Essex
  • providing career support
  • mentoring

 lf you’d like to know more about any of these opportunities, or other ways you can share your expertise with current students, register your interest and we’ll be in touch.