Cynthia So, EDIC Coordinator, Human Resources Division

Cynthia So
“It can sometimes be tricky to find spaces where I feel like I can be fully myself, but with the EDI Centre, I just knew that I belonged”

I studied Classics at the University of Oxford. As a university student I was already very involved in equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) – amongst other things, I was on the Oxford University Student Union LGBTQ+ Campaign Committee, and I was the Black and Minority Ethnic Officer at my College. I organised LGBTQ+ film screenings and discussion groups, and dinners to celebrate festivals like Diwali and Lunar New Year. I didn’t imagine back then that EDI was a field I would work in professionally though – I didn’t realise it was an option!

After graduating in 2016, I started working at Imperial as a Management Trainee, rotating to a different area of the College every six months. Soon I heard that it was possible to request a placement in the EDI Centre, so of course I jumped at that chance. I loved the team and the work immediately. It can sometimes be tricky to find spaces where I feel like I can be fully myself (as a bi and nonbinary person of colour), but with the EDI Centre, I just knew that I belonged.

I was delighted to get a permanent role within the EDI Centre in 2020. I now work as a coordinator, putting on training and events and supporting our staff networks. I’m also the Secretary of the Disability Action Committee, and I work on our Stonewall Workplace Equality Index submission to help make the College more inclusive for LGBTQ+ people. It made me very proud to see Imperial recognised as one of Stonewall’s Top 100 Employers for LGBTQ+ people last year.

Outside of my day job at Imperial, I’m an author and I love writing queer stories. My first novel was published in June last year. It’s called If You Still Recognise Me and it’s a coming-of-age romance about Elsie, who has a crush on Ada, a girl she met online through a shared fandom. The summer before university, Elsie decides she wants to make a grand gesture to confess her feelings for Ada, but along the way she runs into her long-lost best friend, and things don’t quite go according to plan. It’s just been shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, which is thrilling news. I’m very excited to attend the award ceremony next month!

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