Alumni Interview: Asha Mohammed (MBChB 2019), Junior Doctor

Junior doctor and activist, Asha Mohammed (MBChB 2019) graduated from the University in 2019. She’s since been given a Wonderful Woman Award and named as a Future Leader in recognition of her commitment to tackling gender based violence. We spoke to her about life as a doctor, her efforts to combat gender-based violence and her belief in in youth activism.

Why did you study medicine and how has your course shaped who you are?

I studied medicine because it is a versatile profession that is challenging, requires lifelong learning and good interpersonal skills. You’re always interacting with patients and colleagues from different teams and every day feels different. I like to think my passion was sparked from my interest in human biology and my desire to do a job that was fulfilling and one which would make a positive impact on society.

I love the mental challenges of the job and the breadth and depth of the subject. I am excited by the prospect that my learning and performance has a direct impact on the patients that I treat. I love the closeness that I get with not only my patients but also their families, and the impact that I can have on their lives.

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Scholarships nurture talent: Matthew’s story

The Futures Scholarship programme awards talented students with up to £4,500 and enables them to access guidance and careers support from a dedicated coordinator. The scholarships are funded by Bristol’s alumni and friends and the support they provide gives students the security to focus on their studies and pursue their interests with enthusiasm. Read on to hear from economics and mathematics student Matthew, who is among the first cohort of 33 Futures Scholars graduating this year. 

In my final year at the University, I secured a graduate position with Lane Clark & Peacock LLP (LCP), as a pensions actuarial analyst. My position involves a blend of analysing the financial costs of risk in pension schemes and liaising with clients. In this role I’ll be able to use soft skills whilst also having the opportunity to solve complex problems, which is why I was overjoyed with the offer.

Laura, the Futures Scholarship Coordinator, encouraged me to apply for opportunities within the University very early on which helped me develop all the skills I needed to succeed. In my first year, I was selected as the vice-president of Riverside Junior Common Room at the Students’ Union, representing over 600 students. In my second year, I became treasurer for the Economics, Finance and Management Society. Then, in my final year I became the secretary of the Bristol University Actuarial Society and the head of finance for Epigram, the University of Bristol’s student newspaper.

The Scholarship Coordinator also encouraged me to enrol in a social mobility programme called upReach, where I received in-depth one-to-one career support and took part in mock interviews to prepare me for job applications. I was also offered insight days at Bank of America, Citadel, and HSBC. Initially I was apprehensive to apply to large firms like these, but upReach improved my confidence during the application process. All of this has led to my successful assessment and graduate position at Lane Clark & Peacock LLP.

Through the Futures Scholarship, I accessed employability funding, which I used to pay for accommodation and travel to assessment centres. I also bought a webcam for remote interviews and shirts so I could look professional when meeting prospective employers. The employability funding has been essential in my success; it removed the financial barriers involved in securing a graduate position.

The Futures Scholarship is vital in guiding students from lower income backgrounds; it allows us to pursue our passions and funds the leaders and thinkers of the future.

If you would like to support more students like Matthew, go to our Alumni website to make a donation. 

Scholarships empower: Keeley’s story

In 2022, 33 Futures Scholars will graduate from the University of Bristol, many of whom have already secured their graduate jobs, internships and opportunities abroad. The Futures Scholarship programme is funded through the generosity of the University’s alumni and friends. It awards talented students with up to £4,500 and enables them to access guidance and career support from a dedicated coordinator. Graduating psychology student Keeley tells us how she has developed her career path with the help of the scholarship.

I am not from a wealthy background. In my area few people go on to higher education and I am the first person to go to university in my family.

The Futures Scholarship is exciting because you receive funds along with guidance and employability support. If I had just been given money, I may not have known how to spend it in the best way. But having the support of the Futures Scholarship Coordinator meant that I got so much more out of this scholarship. It set me up for making long-term plans and helped me to really think about what I can achieve.

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2022 Alumni Award winner for Lifetime Achievement: Professor Dame Julia Slingo FRS OBE (BSc 1973, PhD 1989, Hon DSc 2010)

(c) Mary Slingo

The UK’s first female professor of meteorology, Professor Dame Julia Slingo OBE (BSc 1973, PhD 1989, Hon DSc 2010) broke the glass ceiling in the world of climate science and paved the way for more women to enter careers in scientific research. This year she is the recipient of the 2022 Alumni Award for Lifetime Achievement. We spoke to her about her time at Bristol, her impressive career as a climate scientist, the gender gap in research and the future of science for a fairer planet. (more…)

“When I learned I had been awarded the Futures scholarship, I was overjoyed”

Beth Randell is a first-year Sociology student and a Futures Scholarship recipient. Here, she tells us how her scholarship is opening up career opportunities and supporting her to succeed. 

When I was in sixth form, I was a member of my school’s debate team because I love reflecting on social issues analytically. I also used to write articles on social issues including one which was a runner up in the Guardian’s The Young Hugo Award called “The Impossibility of the Working Mum.” I chose to study sociology because it lends a critical eye to society and allows me the freedom to pursue a wide scope of professions upon graduation including writing, editing, and publishing.

I am particularly interested in publishing because writing is my main strength. It is a competitive sector and there is a lot of pressure to make yourself stand out by doing internships, making connections and networking. In addition, many of these internships are in London, where living and commuting is much more expensive. Without the Futures Scholarship these opportunities would be unattainable for me.

Before I was awarded the Futures Scholarship, I had underlying anxieties about coming to university. I wanted to undertake internships to develop my understanding of different industries and stand out among other degree holders. But, due to financial pressures, I thought I would have to work in retail during the University holidays. Living away from home and studying is expensive, so it is such a relief to have this financial contribution.

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Alexandra Hearth (BA 2014): Succeeding in the digital world

Bristol alumna, Alexandra Hearth (BA 2014) is a young powerhouse bursting with ambition, discipline and creativity. She is an extremely successful digital marketing specialist, having worked with top brands including Uber, British Airways and Audi. Alongside her current role at Nike, she manages her own online magazine called Cleaopatras which explores navigating success as a woman, and runs a podcast series called Hot Girls featuring MOBO award winning guests and music industry elite. To top it all off, this year, Alexandra has signed her first record deal as a music producer.

We interviewed her to learn more about her career journey, the secrets to her success and communicating in the digital world. (more…)

Bristol alumni recognised in the Queen’s New Year Honours list

The beginning of the year 2022 was marked by eighteen of our distinguished alumni being recognised in the Queen’s New Year Honours list for their extraordinary contributions to society. Among them are inspiring medical doctors, dedicated educators, and visionary scientists. We are extremely proud to showcase their achievements and their recognition. Read below to see if you recognise any from your time at Bristol. (more…)

‘We are all born scientists’: Professor Aradhna Tripati on diversity in the sciences and her climate priorities

 

Three outstanding international academics are joining the University of Bristol after being awarded the prestigious Royal Society Wolfson Visiting Fellowship. One of them is the renowned geoscientist Professor Aradhna Tripati from the University of California (UCLA). Aradhna is passionate about fostering diverse voices in sciences and is the founder of the Center for Diverse Leadership in Science at UCLA. We talked to her about her journey into geoscience, diversity and inclusion in the field and her main research priorities during her time at Bristol. (more…)

Jessica Felton-Page (BSc 2007): Fighting food waste at Rubies in The Rubble

In the UK, an estimated 20 to 40% of all fruit and vegetables grown for human consumption are rejected before they reach the shops. This means that around 9.5 million tonnes of food is thrown away annually. This is mainly because they do not match the supermarkets’ strict cosmetic standards meaning they are not the right colour, shape or size to be deemed attractive for sale.*

Jessica Felton-Page works for Rubies in the Rubble, an ethical food company that fights food waste by using the “unattractive” fruit and vegetables to make beautiful condiments. The company suggests “if we stop wasting food that could have been eaten, the benefit to the planet would be the equivalent of taking 1 in 4 cars off the road.” In 2020 alone, the company cooked 115 tonnes of rejected produce into delicious sauces, rescuing them from going to waste. Their mission is to double that number in the following year.

In early November, Jessica will join a panel discussion on Responsible Businesses, with insights and advice from other career experts in the sustainability profession. Ahead of the event, we spoke to Jessica about her journey from an undergraduate degree in Chemistry to fighting food waste at Rubies in the Rubble and her memories of studying in Bristol. (more…)

Alumni and students share their marathon experience

Claire Evans (BA 1991) running the London Marathon 2021.

On 3 October, a fantastic group of Bristol alumni and students ran the 2021 London Marathon, raising over £10,000 for the University’s Healthy Minds Programme. They each ran an incredible 26.2 miles, raising awareness of the importance of physical activity on mental health and the vital nature of the programme itself.

The Healthy Minds programme helps students who are experiencing mental health difficulties by providing them with a bespoke physical activity plan and access to sports facilities. Students are paired up with a mentor – a member of the University fitness team with advanced mental health training – who coaches them throughout their time on the programme. (more…)