Jess has combined study for BA (Hons) Philosophy, Politics and Art with carving out a burgeoning career as a singer under the performing name RUBII.
After notching up success in BBC Radio 1's Introducing slot plus a string of releases to follow her 2019 debut single Bitter Lips, Jess has received Arts Council and National Lottery funding to produce a new EP this summer, alongside gigs in Brighton and elsewhere.
"I studied Philosophy, Politics and Art, which Is a really interesting combination of subjects – and, despite Covid, I really enjoyed my course.
"Although I was studying Humanities, the University's media team have always been really accommodating and I've been able to use the vocal studios a few times!
"Juggling my course as well as trying to pursue a career in music has been hectic, but I've loved combining uni and doing music."
Jess will join over 3,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students who will receive their degrees in award ceremonies between 26-29 July at the Brighton Centre
, alongside an inspiring Alumni of the Year and a diverse list of Honorary Graduates being recognised for outstanding achievement
in areas ranging from women's football and sustainable design to healthcare and human rights.
This year's graduating students are already making their mark in the wider world with many already embarking on exciting careers.
Andy Knowles joined University of Brighton as a 49-year-old mature student, swapping running his own successful engineering business for postgraduate study on a two-year MSc in Applied Sports Physiology.
Though his degree involved a steep and sometimes difficult learning curve, Andy is graduating with a distinction - based on research into the impact of menstrual cycles on the performance of women athletes.
He has also set up a physiology consultancy service in Brighton, and is working on plans for an innovative project to bring business owners and other entrepreneurs together to find solutions to problems, while having a run in Stanmer Park!
"I had zero knowledge of physiology at the start, but I thought it can't be any harder than running a business working for Heathrow Airport!
"It had been 20 years since I had done any kind of study, but from the word go I absolutely loved it. My brain came alive."
On 27 July, meanwhile, Jessica Starns will receive the University's Alumni of the Year Award.
Having studied at the University of Brighton twice – completing a foundation degree in photography in 2010 and a masters in Inclusive Arts Practice in 2019 – Jess has channeled her efforts after university into providing life-changing support in education and the workplace to young people with dyspraxia - a condition that affects motor skills and can cause problems with language and perception.
Inspired by her own experience of living with dyspraxia, in 2013 Jess founded the charity Dyspraxic Me
to raise awareness and provide support
, alongside her job at the British Museum working to make the museum more welcoming to autistic and learning-disabled visitors.