“I am grateful to community initiatives, including the African-Caribbean Research Collective and Black British in STEM, that have connected me with many other Black students both at Imperial and beyond.”
I have been at Imperial for eight years and I am now in the final stage of my PhD. I first came to Imperial as an undergraduate in 2012 and it feels strange to finish my time here away from peers and colleagues. However, during this time I have enjoyed having regular online catch ups with my research group and adapting to this new mode of working together. Being able to discuss our work has been a bit of a break from all the uncertainty.
As a researcher specialising in viral infections and respiratory disease, I have tried to use my skills to support better science communication during the outbreak. I have spent time answering questions from the public using a platform developed by the Federation of American Scientists. This helped me feel more informed about the situation. It was particularly helpful for discussing COVID-19 with friends and family and debunking some of the misinformation on the disease.
Alongside the pandemic, dealing with the many high-profile racist incidents in the last few months has been exhausting. I am grateful to community initiatives, including the African-Caribbean Research Collective (founded by Imperial PhD student, De-Shaine Murray) and Black British in STEM (founded by Imperial alumnus, Kayisha Payne), that have connected me with many other Black students both at Imperial and beyond.
This has motivated me to continue working on initiatives to support equality at Imperial and I was recently able to share some of this work at an online conference organised by Dr Vahid Shahrezaei, Faculty of Natural Sciences, and Laura Lane, Graduate School. While there is still much work need to achieve equality in our community, it is inspiring to see individuals fighting for change.