Skip to main content

Students receive exclusive funding from The Dr Ateh Jewel Education Foundation Awards – Part 1

Rachel Igwe and Nicole Rowtham-Fender profile images
  • Written byN Brathwaite
  • Published date 17 March 2022
Rachel Igwe and Nicole Rowtham-Fender profile images
Rachel Igwe and Nicole Rowtham-Fender from the MSc Cosmetic Science course at LCF

Dr Ateh Jewel is an award-winning journalist, producer, director, influencer and diversity advocate, with over 20 years of experience in the beauty industry. In 2020, she established the Dr Ateh Jewel Education Foundation, which was created to support excellence, ambition and potential among black and mixed heritage undergraduate students, who need ‘rocket fuel’ to take them to another level.

The scholarship is assessed on academic merit and provides a contribution of £2,000 towards living expenses and course costs and is available to up to 10 Home, EU or International students, from a black and/or mixed black heritage background, enrolled on any year of study on the MSc Cosmetic Science course at London College of Fashion, UAL.

We caught up with Rachel Igwe and Nicole Rowtham-Fender, recipients of the award, to find out what receiving the recognition and funding means to them and how it has impacted their work.

Rachel Igwe, LCF MSc Cosmetic Science

Can you tell us a little bit about your educational background and why you chose to study MSc Cosmetic Science at LCF?

Rachel: I'm a first-year cosmetic science student. I studied chemistry, maths and economics for A-levels and previously went to Aston University in Birmingham, to study chemical engineering for 3 years. I had it in my mind that chemical engineering was my best chance at getting into the industry I wanted and that having it as a degree would tell the world I’m smart and mean business. As a woman, especially a black woman, I've learnt that working extra hard is essential.  But, during the pandemic, I went through a reset period of what I wanted for myself, I have always been interested in makeup and skincare and cosmetic science sparked my interest with the perfect balance of science and creativity. I took the leap of faith and restarted my university journey the right way, knowing I would be studying a course I'm currently thoroughly enjoying; I’m hoping it gives me more insight into cosmetics I can make of my own one day.

Nicole: In secondary school I enjoyed science subjects, but I sometimes found it too rigid and hardcore, so out of curiosity I decided to opt for A-levels in humanities and social sciences - as they seemed to be more flexible subjects. After a turn of events, I found myself going back to science, which was a blessing in disguise as it led me to research into more creative science fields and find the MSc Cosmetic Science course at LCF. At the time, I was invested in learning about my own hair and would often be found in the kitchen mixing various things together for my hair. MSc Cosmetic Science was the perfect place for me to fuel this pre-existing passion and learn properly.

Nicole Rowtham-Fender, LCF MSc Cosmetic Science

How did you find out about the Dr Ateh Jewel Education Foundation Awards and what made you apply?

Rachel: I found out about the awards from one of my lecturers when I was first applying for the course. I applied because I knew it would help alleviate some of the financial burdens and allow me to further my education. I loved the concept of a black woman opening-up this opportunity for others like myself, particularly in this industry. I'm very thankful to Dr Ateh Jewel for putting her faith in us to turn our visions into reality.

Nicole: Honestly, I initially applied simply because I was eligible (which is rare), but also because it is an amazing, helpful opportunity and such opportunities don’t come around often. Even if I had not received the award, it is nice to know that a scholarship of this kind exists.

What does the Dr Ateh Jewel Education Foundation Awards mean to you and how will it impact your work?

Rachel: To me, this foundation is a big fat YES to keep going. Regardless of receiving this award, which I am very thankful for, I've been inspired to make my own change in the beauty industry going forward, the best thing I can do is be myself and inspire those that I can by doing so. My work will reflect myself and the change I will bring. Nothing but the best.

Nicole: The award has been a reminder of why I initially chose to do this course. Being in my last year of study it is easy to become demotivated or tired, but the award is a source of motivation to work diligently towards my MSc project, which is on textured (African) hair, and to follow it through even after I graduate. Also, it has helped to relieve the financial pressure and worry that exists as a student living in London. I’m very appreciative to be a recipient.

Nicole Rowtham-Fender, LCF MSc Cosmetic Science

Dr Ateh Jewel campaigns for diversity within the cosmetic and beauty industries – why do you feel that champions such as Dr Ateh Jewel are important for the future of the industry?

Rachel: It's important to show that the voices of the minority are being heard and considered at the important tables -  it highlights a doable path that we can follow. It's a change that should have been implemented a long time ago, times are changing, and the industry needs to look to the future.

Nicole: Change or growth doesn’t come with inactivity, so I think it is wonderful that there are people like Dr Ateh Jewel who are willing to actively campaign for diversity. The cosmetic and beauty industry is closely tied with self-expression and self-care; therefore, it must be an industry where ALL people feel as though they too can benefit from. Having experienced the effects of lack of diversity within the industry, Dr Ateh Jewel’s voice and actions hold weight; and so, I believe that such champions will positively impact the future of the industry.

Do you have any advice to students thinking of applying to MSc Cosmetic Science at LCF?

Rachel: I'm just getting started on this journey, and I've learned so much. Be prepared to do a lot of research and start to unconsciously look at the ingredients before buying a product. And yes, learning how to formulate cosmetics like lip balm and shampoo is very fun, well worth it.

Nicole: Apply! Personally, I feel MSc Cosmetic Science at LCF is one of these best ways to enter the cosmetics industry. The course will equip you with the knowledge, experience and network that will give you an advantage above others and the confidence to excel. There is nothing to lose.