Yousuf Chowdhury (BSc 2020) shares his experience of the Bristol Mentors programme and how it helped shape his career path.
My undergraduate degree was in Economics. So many of us assumed we were going to go into Finance, without really knowing any specific area we wanted to get into. I was applying to internships in my second year without much success and I didn’t know many people in the sector to turn to. I wanted someone to help me through the process and share their experience of the industry, and that was why I applied to Bristol Mentors.
Olivia Kinsman was able to take up a place at the University of Bristol this year having been awarded the Keil Scholarship, which supports PhD students in the Department of History.
I can remember taking my A-levels and knowing how much I wanted to go to university. Even then I knew that eventually I wanted to do a PhD. I’m from a single parent household with a low income and there are lots of us in the family, so growing up was really challenging at times. I’ve always been determined that I wasn’t going to let my background or finances get in the way of what I wanted to do – even if that meant saving up until I was 50 to do my PhD. For me, applying for scholarships and being proactive about reaching out for financial assistance has been really important.
Professor Adam Finn, of the Bristol Medical School, provides an insight into an extraordinary year for Bristol’s community of biomedical researchers.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, my laboratory was focused on the impact of vaccinations on respiratory infections in children. But when COVID-19 hit, we were compelled to pause that work, and redirect our efforts. The nature of our research meant it was possible to make that shift rapidly and we weren’t alone: researchers across the University of Bristol were applying their expertise to the emerging pandemic. The University’s COVID-19 Emergency Research group (Bristol UNCOVER) emerged organically and within a month, there were over 100 researchers, from a vast range of disciplines, meeting online each day to pool resources and expertise, and share progress.
Robert Chapman, Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow, explains how this fellowship is advancing important research.
The first year of my fellowship researching Health and Wellbeing for a Neurodiverse Age has been amazing. My PhD explored the philosophy and ethics of autism, challenging the notion that living with autism is inherently at odds with living a good human life. With the fellowship, I’ve been expanding on my previous work to explore neurodiversity more broadly, using my background in Philosophy and Disability Studies to explore the models we’ve developed to understand whether or not someone is psychologically healthy or unhealthy and how they might be ‘disordered’.
Chemistry student and former President of the University’s Student Action for Refugees group, Stephanie Hall, has witnessed how Sanctuary Scholarships can transform lives.
During my first year at Bristol, I went to a poetry reading in a café on Gloucester Road. That was where I first heard Home, an incredibly moving poem about how it feels to be a refugee. The piece was written by Warsan Shire, a Somali-British poet who was born in Kenya. In this poem, Shire talks about how you’d never want to leave your home, unless it had become ‘the mouth of a shark’ – in other words, when it becomes so unsafe that it stops being your home.
It was one of the most powerful things I’ve ever heard and it inspired me to join the University of Bristol’s Student Action for Refugees group (STAR).
Laura Frude (BA 2009, MPhil 2010, MPhil 2019) describes her role as Futures Scholarship Coordinator at the University of Bristol and the incredible impact it has on students.
The Futures Scholarship programme provides funding for students from a widening participation background and includes £2,000 in the students’ first year to use at their discretion and £2,500 they can access over the course of their degree to support employability. It supports those who may not start university on a level playing field with their peers or have the contacts to support them to build a career, and many of the students are the first in their family to go to university.
Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Hugh Brady and Director of Development and Alumni Relations, Andrew Monk, reflect on your remarkable generosity over the last year
Thank you for the incredible support you have given to the University of Bristol this year. As you will read in these pages, your generosity has had an immense impact on the global Bristol community, and you are ensuring that our University will continue to realise its ambitions for the future.