“When I was four or five, I moved from Leeds to Keighley, a small town about twenty miles away. It was a challenging place to be. At the time, the National Front had a strong presence there. I didn’t encounter it a lot, but the fear was always there, and there were places around town to avoid.
“My family is Muslim, however, me and my two elder sisters went to Catholic school. It wasn’t a choice based on religion, but rather on how we as a working-class family could get the best quality state education available – something my Mum felt our local Catholic school was best at providing for us. I wasn’t properly confirmed or anything, but I was an altar boy!
“There were other schools in the area that had more Asian people and also there was a Muslim community. But I was kind of kept away from that. So for me, I didn’t have much of a cultural or religious identity growing up. I saw culture and religion as being hand-in-hand; I saw them as the same thing. My school life was this strange dichotomy of being Muslim and Catholic, but I found it really helpful because it made me learn about different religions. Quite often, when people think about religions, it’s from the outside, but here I was an outsider in two communities – two very similar monotheistic religions. But people tend to focus on the differences, I guess.”
Read Dr Sohag Nafis Saleh, Principal Teaching Fellow and Phase 1 Digital Development Lead, Faculty of Medicine in full
“I was never ashamed of my background at school, but there weren’t many of us and I wouldn’t always be outgoing about being Tamil and from Sri Lanka. I just knew I was different.
“My parents are both immigrants from Sri Lanka, but I was born and brought up in East London. My surname has thirteen letters in it – lots of Sri Lankan people have long names – and teachers have always struggled with it or avoided it full stop. Things like that make you realise you’re different. Even my first name, some people have difficulty with it. But nowadays people want to learn how to pronounce your name properly, even more so at Imperial where there are people from so many cultures. Everyone’s welcoming. (more…)
Read Rokshan Easwarathasan, Undergraduate, Faculty of Medicine in full
“I joined Imperial in May 2016, having moved to the UK at the age of six from Lagos in Nigeria. Sadly, my Dad passed away while I was studying Drama at Queen Mary University of London. It was a really difficult time, but the staff at my university were so amazing and supportive that they inspired me to work in higher education. (more…)
Read Kemi Aofolaju, Communications and Events Officer, Department of Bioengineering in full
“Back in the Emirates and Pakistan, there is a disparity between how men and women are treated, but my mum is one of the most powerful and inspiring women I know. She left home to pursue her education and get a PhD. Marrying my dad was not the done thing – she was probably expected to marry a local, which a lot of my aunts did do. (more…)
Read Fatima Elzahra Khan, Undergraduate, Department of Chemical Engineering in full
“To me, Colombia means happiness. There’s such amazing food, and on Sundays, we usually have a family gathering with our grandma. We don’t do this that often now because we don’t all live together, but whenever I go back home there is always a time where around 30 of us will gather and eat, drink and laugh.
“Colombians also love dancing – especially Cuban and Colombian salsa! As a nation, we’re really successful in international dancing competitions. Colombia is also a very religious country. During Christmas, there is an event called novena, where for nine days before the 24th you pray each night. Each of those nine nights is hosted by a different house/family and includes food and drinks. (more…)
Read Dr Adriana Navarro-Suarez, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellow, Department of Chemistry in full
“When I was in primary school, I always felt different. A lot of other people thought I was weird because I knew Arabic/Algerian. There’s very much the stereotype in France that if you speak Arabic or Algerian Arabic you haven’t adapted enough to French society or can’t speak French very well. As a result, I felt quite alone a lot.
“In France, you are allocated a high school based on location, but I was able to choose my high school because I had good results. But I felt different as most of my fellow students were the sons of politicians and doctors, and my background was completely different. (more…)
Read Riad Yagoubi, Research Postgraduate, Department of Metabolism, Digestion and Reproduction in full
“I have always been passionate about engaging students through innovative digital learning technologies.”
I am a medical doctor-turned-teacher with a research background in neuroscience. I studied medicine in Lahore, Pakistan, and after practising there I moved to Trento in Italy where I did an MSc in cognitive neuroscience. I really enjoyed working with patients and data and this led me into research, which ultimately paved the way for me to take on teaching roles at the Universities of Bristol and Birmingham.
I joined Imperial as a Teaching Fellow in the National Heart and Lung Institute in September last year. It was difficult at the beginning as the whole interview process was online, and even now, I have only met people on Microsoft Teams! (more…)
Read Dr Nida Sajjad, Teaching Fellow, National Heart and Lung Institute in full
“Working with my peers to overcome the inevitable challenges we have faced during the pandemic has made my student experience the best it could be.”
I recently graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a BSc in Neuroscience and started my Master’s degree in Translational Neuroscience in the autumn. I am fascinated by several areas of neuroscience, including psychedelics and dementia care, and technology. I hope to carry out my Master’s thesis in psychedelic research, and I aspire to continue my studies with a PhD in this field. One of my life goals is to combine science and technology to massively improve the quality of life of those suffering from debilitating neurological diseases. (more…)
Read Emre Yavuz, Taught Postgraduate, Department of Brain Sciences in full
“Our team works on a wide variety of projects for the College, from constructing new buildings at White City to renovating existing spaces at South Kensington.”
Before joining Imperial in 2019, I was a sponsored undergraduate student, working for international property and construction company Lendlease while studying towards my undergraduate degree. However, upon moving to Imperial after my second year, I transferred to the University College of Estate Management (UCEM) to study my Construction Project Management degree part-time while working.
I work as a Project Manager in the Projects Delivery team in the Estates Division. Our team works on a wide variety of projects for the College, from constructing new buildings at White City to renovating existing spaces at South Kensington. My role is focused on the management of some of our smaller projects, with values up to £1m. I work with clients and stakeholders from across Imperial to ensure that projects get completed on time, on budget and that they provide lasting value to Imperial. Some of my current projects include RFID upgrade works for Library Services, access control upgrade works for Residential Services, and fire prevention works for the Fire Office. (more…)
Read Josh Chana, Project Manager – Minor Works, Estates in full
“I’m investigating how to better integrate climate policies into city planning with a focus on human health.”
I’m an Environmental Policy Research PhD student at the Centre for Environmental Policy. My Master’s is in Urban Management and Development with a specialisation in Environment and Climate Change and studied Architecture. I have broadened my scope from a siloed area such as architecture to the urban and environmental dimensions.
I’m investigating how to better integrate climate policies into city planning with a focus on human health using a systems-thinking approach – which means thinking about the greater picture. Additionally, I am a partner at Cónclave Consultora, a consultancy that helps people who want to construct a building through recommendations that consider the entire development as a whole. In the process, we conduct an environmental impact assessment – an application of my academic preparation at Imperial. (more…)
Read Leonardo Zea Reyes, Research Postgraduate, Centre for Environmental Policy in full