Author: Bethany Lloyd

Lindani Ndou, Software Development Apprentice, ICT

Lindani Ndou

I contribute to the development, design and maintenance of applications and websites for central services teams.” 

After finishing my GCSEs, I went to sixth form to study chemistry, biology and music. At the time, I was set on going into the field of medicine with the aim of being a surgeon. However, when lockdown happened and my older sister moved back into our family home, I was exposed to more of the UX/UI (User Experience and User Interface) work she was doing and listened in on the Zoom calls she would have with her team. This reignited my interest in tech and coding, enough to make me switch paths and pursue it fully!  


Celebrating this year’s President’s Awards for Excellence winners


The President’s Awards for Excellence recognises the achievements of staff based on four award categories: Culture and Community, EducationResearch, and Societal Engagement. Among the winners for each specialist area, those who have made exceptional contributions are also awarded with the President’s Medal.


Seth Jethwa, Support Services Supervisor, Central Biomedical Services  

Seth Jethwa

“I feel that I am contributing to the research community and science as a whole.” 

I am qualified in Animal Care (BTEC National Diploma) and started my career at Huntingdon Life Sciences as a Support Services Technician. I learned more about water quality and gained further expertise, including being involved in a study testing and collecting data on air quality machines. Following this experience, I moved to Imperial to work as Support Services Supervisor for Central Biomedical Services (CBS), Imperial’s animal care facility, at the South Kensington Campus.     


Shyam Patel, Undergraduate, Department of Chemistry

Shyam Patel

“The best volunteering experience I’ve done is the Great Exhibition Road Festival – I’ve signed up again this year” 

I am a third year Chemistry student here at Imperial. Chemistry was always my biggest passion, and it was an easy choice when deciding what degree program to do, and what better place to do it than Imperial?  

Chemistry is vast, scary, and beautiful all at the same time. It incorporates so many aspects of modern-day life – from medicine to agriculture – and it isn’t just limited to “chemicals”. It can be used in things like fireworks, cosmetics and cooking, and it’s that diversity that is so appealing to me.   

Currently, I am on the committee of the Chemistry Society and as the first-year representative I work to help ease the first years into university life. I am also on the SwiftSoc committee (I couldn’t write a piece on myself and not mention Taylor Swift…), where a bunch of us swifties come together and just talk about the biggest artist of our generation. I am also part of Outreach, where I try to inspire younger students to get into STEM careers.  


Chetna Vaghela, Anglian Water Research Coordinator, Centre for Environmental Policy

Chetna Vaghela

“Teaching is a gift – you share a space with students who are as enthusiastic about the environment as you.” 

I’ve always had an enormous passion for the sciences and the natural world, from entomology and ornithology, to our blue spaces including freshwater aquatic ecosystems and marine life. Studying biochemistry and forensic science enabled me to apply laboratory skills for scientific and environmental applications, such as river water quality monitoring. I’ve had an environmentally and science focused career in and out of academia, including with river and botanic garden charities and scientific research at Imperial. 

Wanting to continue my passion related to water and to apply a variety of skills, the role of research coordinator of the Strategic Research Partnership between Imperial and Anglian Water based at the Centre for Environmental Policy (CEP) was very appealing.   


Lara Shemtob, Honorary Clinical Research Fellow, School of Public Health

Lara Shemtob

“The relationship between work and health is relevant no matter where you work or what you do” 

The work I do here at Imperial is all about the relationship between work and health. This is currently high on the policy agenda in the UK as more people are falling out of employment due to long-term ill-health. The healthcare landscape is not a level playing field when it comes to occupational health – access varies depending on the employer, which makes it harder to deliver change.  

One of the policy areas I am focusing on is how we can improve the health and working conditions of health and social care workers. The other policy area that interests me is how we make better use of the fit note (commonly known as a sick note…a misnomer!) to help people living with medical conditions to keep working.   


Josh Tregale, Undergraduate, Department of Mechanical Engineering

Josh Tregale

“The interface between engineering, technology and policy is something that particularly interests me” 

I am a second-year mechanical engineering undergraduate at Imperial. After graduating, I hope to go into renewable or nuclear energy as I would like to have a tangible impact on global challenges. One of the key points for me choosing engineering was the rescue of the trapped Chilean miners in 2010. Seeing the efforts to save their lives and overcome challenges to extract them from an extremely complex location inspired me and illustrated the vast reach and importance of engineering. 

Engineering has been responsible for many of the improvements to quality of life and technological advancements that humanity has seen. At the same time, it has brought about changes that have had negative impacts on the world and the people around us. An area I am particularly passionate about is tackling the climate crisis. This has a devastating impact on some of the most vulnerable people in the world, the same people who have contributed the least to the issue. It’s this injustice that drives me to want to apply engineering to tackling problems and improving people’s lives. Africa as an entire continent is only responsible for 3% of global emissions, but faces some of the most severe climate impacts from floods to droughts and more.  


Dr Federica Bernardini, Research Associate, Department of Life Sciences

Dr Federica Bernardini

“I fell in love with London and started looking for a PhD position in the field of malaria” 

When I was young, I thought I wanted to be a medical doctor. It was after attending a lecture in biochemistry that I decided to re-direct my interest toward the microscopic dynamics that take place within cells, as I found this fascinating.    

I received my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at the Università degli Studi di Palermo in biology, and cellular and molecular biology respectively. At the end of these studies, I travelled from Sicily to London to learn English. I fell in love with the city and started looking for a PhD position in the field of malaria to combine my passions of molecular engineering and Africa. 


Joyce Kadibu, Software Developer Apprentice, Information and Communication Technologies

Joyce Kadibu

“My apprenticeship journey at Imperial has been an enriching and transformative experience” 

I can vividly recall writing my first lines of code – the classic “Hello World”. Despite its simplicity, I was immediately captivated by the art of programming. Coding helps to fill my creative urges as it allows me to bring my ideas to life in a tangible way. With each project, I am presented with a new challenge that requires me to think critically and find innovative solutions to complex problems. As a software engineering apprentice, I have been exposed to a diverse range of technical and practical skills that have equipped me with the necessary knowledge to develop complex software systems. 

As a member of the products team in ICT, I have been building systems using programming languages such as JavaScript. The experience has allowed me to gain a better understanding of all sides of the product life cycle, from design to deployment. My current project involves building digital platforms that will improve the admissions process for both staff and prospective students. It’s rewarding to see end users benefiting from the products I’ve contributed to building and knowing that my work has enhanced people’s experience at Imperial.  (more…)

Ori Blich, Taught Postgraduate, Dyson School of Design Engineering and Royal College of Art

Ori Blich

“Taking part in the StudentShapers programme was a rewarding experience that broadened my understanding and enhanced my skills.” 

I am a second-year master’s student at the Dyson School of Design Engineering and the Royal College of Art, on the Innovation Design Engineering course. This course is a unique blend of the arts and sciences, bringing together a diverse mix of students from different backgrounds. In the previous academic term, I was part of a dynamic team of four that created a revolutionary, carbon-negative, biodegradable replacement for petrol-based foams, such as Styrofoam. Working on this project gave us a chance to collaborate with experts from different departments across Imperial, which was a valuable learning experience for all of us. 

As someone with a bachelor’s degree in industrial design, I have always been fascinated by the manufacturing and making processes, the interaction involved, and the skills required for such processes. Last year, I had the incredible opportunity to be part of the StudentShapers programme, which supports staff and students working together on a broad range of projects related to educational development and educational research. I worked on a project called ViRSE, which stands for Virtual Reality for Student Education, and involved creating a mechanical lathe simulation for mechanical engineering students. The lathe can be quite daunting for first-time users in the workshop, due to its high speed and noise. So, our goal was to create an engaging onboarding experience for students, that would prepare them for their first real-life interaction with a lathe.  (more…)