Category: Students

Avi Ela (she/her), Medical Student and Imperial College Union LGBTQ+ Officer

Avi Ela, Medical Student and Imperial College Union LGBT+ Officer

“I have adored every moment of my time as Imperial College Union’s LGBTQ+ Officer 2023-24.”

As a queer British-Asian female of colour, I have experienced much hatred and prejudice. I believe that amplifying the voices of underrepresented people is vital. I wish for the world to become a more inclusive place for marginalised folk. I strongly believe that we are all capable of creating change for the better. I pride myself in wanting to help others and have found that a personal connection to the work fuels my passion. I will do all I can to fight the battles of discrimination inspired by fearless queer activists who came before me, such as Marsha P. Johnson.

As LGBTQ+ Officer for the Imperial College Union, I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to make meaningful changes  that benefit Imperial’s community. I am particularly proud to have launched the LGBTQ+ Students of Imperial video series for Pride Month, produced in collaboration with Digital Media Lab. As a Medical student, it was also a fantastic opportunity to attend NHS England’s LGBTQ+ Health Conference 2024 and gain insights into various aspects of LGBTQ+ healthcare. Being short-listed for Activist of the Year by the nationwide Queer Student Awards and receiving a Union Fellowship Award are humbling accolades of my efforts this year for which I am beyond grateful. (more…)

Christopher Zhu, Taught Postgraduate, Centre for Environmental Policy

Christopher Zhu

“My commitment to climate action is driven by a sense of responsibility shared by my generation to safeguard our world for future generations.”

As an environmental policy student, Imperial has shaped my academic and personal growth over the past few years and motivated me to pursue a career addressing the significant challenges of climate change. My deep-rooted passion for environmental policy stems from a desire to understand and combat the detrimental impacts of human activity on our planet, ensuring a sustainable and equitable future for all. This commitment to climate action is driven by a sense of responsibility shared by my generation to safeguard our world for future generations.

Imperial has offered me the opportunity to be involved in a wide range of research projects, volunteer work, and mentorship activities aimed at tackling important sustainability issues, spanning in scale from global conferences to being active in the local and university community. (more…)

Aglaia Freccero, President’s PhD Scholar, Division of Psychiatry

Aglaia Freccero, President’s PhD Scholar, Division of Psychiatry

“Along with my studies, mental health activism has given me a sense of purpose as a means of personal and public empowerment.”

I am Aglaia, a first-year President’s Scholar in the Division of Psychiatry. I moved to London in 2017 to pursue my BSc at UCL. When my mental health started to decline, I had to interrupt my studies. In 2018, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, but with the appropriate support, I eventually graduated. My mental health struggles fuelled my interest in psychiatry and public health. (more…)

Dana Whigan, Faculty of Medicine, Undergraduate

Dana Whigan

“Learning languages is something I have always liked to do on the side. Through British Sign Language Horizons modules, I have connected with the teaching staff and my fellow students and found a language I truly enjoy.”

I am currently in my second year of BSc Medical Biosciences and my second year of being the Student Rep for British Sign Language (BSL) Horizons modules. Within my role, I represent students that are learning British Sign Language Levels 1 and 2 and discuss their feedback to help shape how BSL is taught as part of the Horizons/I-Explore programme. (more…)

Aigun Gassanova, Undergraduate, Faculty of Medicine

Aigun Gassanova, Undergraduate, Faculty of Medicine

“Imperial has taught me that science is not just a subject; it’s a way of thinking.”

Approaching the final term of my Medical Biosciences course at Imperial, I reflect on the journey that brought me here and realise how Imperial has transformed my life.

I grew up in a culture where science was rarely discussed in daily life, and pursuing it out of curiosity was considered unconventional. My goal of studying at Imperial was deemed overly ambitious by everyone around me. However, in 2021, I joined Imperial as an international student, armed with a passion to grow beyond myself and a determination to learn. (more…)

Mateo Akel, Undergraduate, Faculty of Medicine

Mateo Akel, Undergraduate, Faculty of Medicine

“I believe technology has the potential to democratise healthcare, making it more accessible and effective for the wider population.”

My name is Mateo Akel, and I am in my third year studying BSc Medical Biosciences at Imperial. I’m originally from Lebanon. My journey to Imperial was fueled by two passions: a deep interest in the human body, and a keenness to explore how technology can transform our understanding and healthcare practices. This year for my third-year project, I seized an opportunity to work with the Medtech startup FundamentalVR, where I honed my skills in 3D VR modelling—a field that intrigued me, but I hadn’t explored before. This placement didn’t just broaden my grasp of VR’s potential in healthcare; it equipped me with valuable skills for my future endeavours. (more…)

Tianxu Hou, Undergraduate, Faculty of Medicine

Tianxu Hou, Undergraduate, Faculty of Medicine

“Imperial’s BSc Medical Bioscience programme focuses on developing students’ experimental skills, which I think is the most special thing about this course.“ 

Early in the last decade, Craig Venter coined the famous phrase, “If the 20th century was the century of physics, the 21st century will be the century of biology.  

Maybe it was my curiosity about new technology, or maybe it was the hope that I could make a contribution to cure diseases like cancer which gradually led me to enter the field of oncology, as if it was my destiny.   (more…)

Amber Yitong Liu, MSc International Management, Imperial College Business School

“I hope every individual will no longer be entangled with the question of who they are, no longer fear their differences, and with joy, accept themselves and others, and accept this world that is inherently colourful like a rainbow.”

I was born and raised in China until I came to Canada at 13 and discovered I was genderfluid and bisexual. You can’t imagine my ecstasy upon realising that the ostracisation from school wasn’t because of my “weirdness” in my boyish behaviours, but rather a lack of understanding from those around me. One day, my high school finance teacher praised me, noting I was different from others, in a good way. Being the simple person I am, I decided finance was my favourite subject (the alluring world of finance also attracted me, of course).

After completing my undergraduate degree in finance and marketing, I decided to pursue a deeper understanding of the business world, and leverage my knowledge to assist those in need. Therefore, I joined the MSc International Management program at Imperial College Business School. It is the most exciting master’s program in business. I have opportunities to engage in worldwide projects in Cape Town, the US, Europe, and so many incredible places. It completes my UK experiences and makes this year of journey an unforgettable milestone in my life. (more…)

Mary O Kenneth, Research Postgraduate, Department of Computing

Mary O Kenneth

“I am excited about delving deeper into the world of AI, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible”

My journey has been a thrilling ride through the realms of technology and academia. Starting with a BSc in Computer Science at the Federal University of Lafia, Nigeria, and then earning an MTech at the Federal University of Technology Minna, my pursuit of knowledge has been relentless. Currently, I am immersed in the world of artificial intelligence as a PhD candidate and Graduate Teaching Assistant at Imperial, wearing multiple hats from demystifying the magic of calculus to exploring the fascinating realm of AI.

My research as a PhD student is focused on the creation of an AI multimodal humour style recognition model. In an era when mental health issues are on the rise, having a system that can automatically detect the complex nature of our jokes and comprehend how they affect our wellbeing and relationships is an important step towards encouraging better mental health. This undertaking is more than just a technological problem; it marks a significant step forward in understanding and improving our daily wellbeing and social relationships. (more…)

Sanjeevani Panditharatne, Research Postgraduate, Department of Physics

“Climate change is the greatest challenge facing this generation, and a deeper understanding of it is vital for our planet’s future.”

After graduating with a degree in Chemical Physics from the University of Bristol, I started a PhD in the Space and Atmospheric Physics research group, as I’m determined to work in the field. Climate change is the greatest challenge facing this generation, and a deeper understanding of it is vital for our planet’s future.

My research is focused on the Earth’s Radiation Budget, the difference between incoming radiation from the sun and the loss of energy to space through the reflection of solar radiation or the emission of thermal radiation – the kind of radiation that keeps us warm. Because of human activities, more thermal radiation is being trapped in our atmosphere, leading to a rise in the average global surface temperature. Models suggest that around half of the thermal radiation reaching the top of our atmosphere is in a region called the far-infrared.