“I’ve been empowered to be proud of my sexual identity because of Imperial.”
Part of Shifting the Lens: A celebration of cultural diversity at Imperial
As well as my Turkish culture, being bisexual is also an important part of my identity. I came out after I moved to London to study at Imperial. I’ve been empowered to be proud of my sexual identity because of Imperial. In Turkey, it was always assumed that I was heterosexual. It was never an option to be anything else. You are an outlier if you’re openly gay in Turkey unless you are in a safe community.
“My advice to women in quiz is to not be intimidated by the male-dominated space, just learn what you love, do what you do best, and you’ll fit right in.”
Having studied Biomedical Sciences at the University of Sheffield, I did work experience at the Wellcome Trust and The Royal Society before getting onto the Science Communication Master’s course at Imperial.
My course is what it says on the tin: a humanities course exploring all the ways science can be communicated to the public. We start with a foundation of ethics and media studies, then look into its applications. The highlights for me have been a placement at the British Science Festival and doing academic modules in museums and documentaries. For the latter, I got to write about one of my favourite filmmakers, Agnès Varda, which was a joyous essay experience (not a combination you hear very often).
“I hope sharing my experience might inspire others to take pride in their identity”
Being an openly gay woman in engineering, I am passionate about representation. A phrase that sits with me is, ‘you can’t be it if you can’t see it’. I feel it is important, for those who feel comfortable doing so to share experiences and support those around us. I hope sharing my experience might inspire others to take pride in their identity.
When I was applying to university, I was really keen to base my decision on where I wanted to apply on a logical, methodical thought process – criteria like great facilities. I decided to attend an open day here at Imperial and, whilst it ticked off a lot of these criteria, it was the overall vibe and atmosphere that hit almost instantaneously – I knew I could see myself studying here. Fast forward to now, and I’m in my third year studying Chemical Engineering here at Imperial.
“I’ve worked on the improvement and development parts of wind tunnel systems, and built and launched rockets”
I am a young adult who still looks up at the slightest sound of an aircraft, and gazes at them as they cross the sky. I like to think most people find it at least a little bit cool that these objects, which weigh hundreds of tonnes each, are able to gracefully float for hours non-stop at speeds just shy of the speed of sound. This really is an amazement that has stuck with me from a very young age – so studying Aeronautical Engineering was the obvious way to go!
The course is a fun but hefty challenge! You learn in significant depth the interesting maths and theory behind breakthroughs in knowledge that have paved the way for various developments throughout aviation history. That being said, once you start the degree you realise that there is more to aeronautics than just planes.
Since I started at Imperial, I’ve worked on the improvement and development parts of wind tunnel systems, built and launched rockets (with Imperial College London Rocketry), and have recently been exploring the aerodynamics of rotating deployable heat shields to facilitate the safe re-entry and return of spacecraft. None of these are directly related to planes, but the skills and knowledge-base that the degree has equipped me with have enabled me to accomplish a great deal on these extra-curricular projects.
“I believe my dyslexic strengths have benefited my research approach.”
Since being diagnosed with dyslexia from a young age, my perception of dyslexia has changed throughout my education and professional life. At school, I struggled with learning and found reading and speaking in public uncomfortable. I found school life most challenging during exam periods, where I would spend months trying to learn and then struggle to recall the information in a time pressured exam.
I saw dyslexia as a limitation, a reason why I could not perform to the same ability as my peers. For me and many other dyslexics, the difficulties I experienced in learning and struggles I had in demonstrating my knowledge would affect my self-esteem and made me doubt whether university would be an option.
In 2012, I was offered a place at the University of Sussex to study Mechanical Engineering. It was in coursework-based modules and my final year project that I felt able to fully demonstrate my ability. After graduating, I worked as a Design Engineer, developing new medical and scientific devices from concept to production. I was now working in a field that I enjoyed, and no longer felt that being dyslexic was a limitation.
“I am particularly passionate about ensuring that access to institutions like Imperial, is attainable to students from a greater array of backgrounds”
I’m a fifth-year medical student here at Imperial. Born and raised in South-East London, I am of Ghanaian heritage.
I chose medicine as a career due to the ability to impact a patient’s life and the positive contributions doctors make to society.
My journey so far in medical school has been enriching. I’ve met a lot of amazing people, developed massively as a person and have also been fortunate enough to carry out amazing work such as a research project in Uganda. Our research looked at the effect on malaria of discontinuing the use of the antibiotic, co-trimoxazole in people with HIV in the country’s biggest hospital, Mulago Hospital.
“I recently completed COVID-19 vaccination training and have joined other healthcare professionals in vaccinating the nation.”
I’m a qualified pharmacist with experience of working in an NHS Trust and a community pharmacy. During my pharmacy career, personal and academic experiences exposed me to the different health challenges faced by populations around the world. This sparked my interest and led me to pursue a Master’s in Public Health – the global health stream.
I have learnt about the principles of public health and policy development as well as different global health challenges. I have also learnt about the significance of global governance, health economics and other disciplines such as statistics and epidemiology – which are all essential for improving global health. I am looking forward to working with my supervisors on my summer project, which will utilise data from the Improving Health in Slums Collaboration to explore migration.
“No matter how far away your work is from the clinic, there is nothing more motivating than bringing patients and the public into your research bubble.”
After completing my undergraduate degree in Molecular Biology and a Master’s degree in Cancer Biology, I chose to undertake a PhD at Imperial. Imperial is all about research, but being a researcher is not all about lab coats, hypothesis testing and data analysis.
Although most of my time was lab-based (pre-pandemic) I have really enjoyed taking opportunities to gain insight into the clinical impact of research through patient and public engagement activities. I have helped to deliver charity lab tours and taken part in clinical trial design discussions with clinicians, scientists, patients and the public. I’ve found that no matter how far away your work is from the clinic, there is nothing more motivating than bringing patients and the public into your research bubble and talking to them about what you do!
“We looked at how the NHS could best manage capacity during peaks in infection, as well as how to optimally schedule elective care for non-COVID-19 patients”
“I came to Imperial in 2017, after completing my undergraduate degree in Biology. During my undergrad, I’d really enjoyed learning about infectious disease evolution, so the Imperial 1 + 3 PhD programme on the epidemiology, evolution and control of infectious disease seemed ideal to me.
“After completing a Master’s in my first year, my PhD now focuses on antibiotic resistance, looking for patterns in how it evolves and spreads through different bacterial species. In particular, I’ve focused on how interactions between species, particularly with those that don’t tend to cause disease, can be important drivers of antibiotic resistance spread.
“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…)