“My research has directly informed and shaped the redesign of several transitional learning space redesign projects across Imperial’s campuses, all of which were driven by students and staff under the StudentShapers scheme.”
I studied Geology (BSc) and Petroleum Geoscience (MSc) at Imperial in the Department of Earth Science and Engineering. Following my MSc, I was elected to the role of Deputy President (Education) at Imperial College Union for a sabbatical year which nurtured my interest in the student experience and exposed me to how the College is governed. The connections and knowledge I acquired in that sabbatical year, whilst reflecting on my own time as an Imperial student, afforded me the exciting opportunity to undertake the first full-time PhD in the Centre for Higher Education Research and Scholarship (CHERS). I am now a Research Associate in CHERS building upon this context and experience.
Alongside these degrees and positions, I have held various roles in Imperial halls of residence, including as Hall Senior and Subwarden in Tizard Hall, Assistant Warden in Chapter Hall and Warden in Wilson House where I currently reside and collaborate with a team to oversee the welfare of 360 fresher students. My work in halls has ironically become a feature of interest in my research into student sense of belonging.
I currently work as a Research Associate on two institutional projects, the Imperial Bursary project which seeks to understand the impact of the Imperial Bursary on recipients, and the Belonging, Engagement and Community (BEC) project exploring the factors which shape sense of belonging for students from all levels of study at Imperial. We use annual interviews and follow-up interviews with students in both projects, as well as an annual survey.
My research has directly informed and shaped the redesign of several transitional learning space redesign projects across Imperial’s campuses, all of which were driven by students and staff under the StudentShapers scheme. One of these was in the Blackett building, home to the Department of Physics, where they created group study areas in the two main foyers.
The Imperial value which most resonates with me, and which perhaps underpins all other values, is collaboration. Arguably, the best innovation comes from collaboration, integrity seems most easily attainable when we hold one another accountable and agree a share set of values, excellence and education ultimately come from getting better together, and respect is one of the enablers of good collaboration (at least how I see it). The value framework has made me reflect on my own behaviour and identity, and where I could perhaps ‘collaborate’ more with people inside and outside of Imperial. As a starting point, the institution might speak more to students and staff to understand their current and differential experience (including via research like our BEC project).
In 2023 I ran my first marathon in memory of my brother and raised almost £2,500 for Cancer Research UK. The support I received to help me achieve this goal was incredible. It was a really important opportunity to challenge myself and to ‘give back’ through charity.