As part of our Diverse@Imperial work, the College has produced profiles from student and staff volunteers. Meet some of people that make up Imperial's diverse community in their profiles below.

2018 profiles

Deniz Pirincci Ercan, PhD student

Photo of Deniz Pirincci ErcanDeniz is a second year PhD student at the Francis Crick Institute.

Who inspires you?

Nature itself! What we know is dwarfed by what we don’t yet know – there are so many things are waiting to be discovered.

When did you realise you wanted to be a scientist?

I was a curious kid who was asking lots of questions to my parents in order to understand nature better. Given that a scientist is also a person who is always asking and addressing the question ‘why’, it was obvious an obvious career path for me.

If you could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?

Keep wondering and questioning – it is key to opening doors to big discoveries.

If you were the College Provost for a day, what one thing would you do to make Imperial more diverse and inclusive?

I would increase the number of scholarships available for the overseas students. Wouldn’t it be nice to have more people from all around the world at Imperial?

What are you reading at the moment?

Research papers! As a second year PhD student, I don’t have many options.

Jess Wade, Research Associate

Photo of Jess WadeJess is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Physics.

Who inspires you?

My mum, Dr Charlotte Feinmann, who is a consultant liaison psychiatrist at UCL and in general a kick-ass mother. Imperial is full of inspirational women, such as Professor Ji-Seon Kim who leads the nano-analysis research group; Professor Jenny Nelson, who wrote the go-to book on the physics of solar cells and Professor Lesley Cohen, who works to support academic women across College alongside her research into magnetic materials. If I become one-eighth of the physicists these women are, I’ll be happy.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a scientist?

Before I studied physics I went to art school for a year, so I might be an illustrator. I seem to spend most of my time talking about how much the country needs science teachers, so there is a chance I’d be causing chaos back at school in the science labs. I also love cooking, and part of me considers dropping everything to become an intern at the famous Noma restaurant in Copenhagen.

What was the last book you read?

Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong by Angela Saini, an Oxford-trained engineer with a phenomenal career in popular science writing. It is an incredible journey into the science and scientists behind the stereotypes we have about women, and the champions throughout history who fought for truth.

If you were the College Provost for a day, what one thing would you do to make Imperial more diverse and inclusive?

I would find ways to support students from all underrepresented backgrounds during their time at Imperial so that all graduates had the same opportunities for success. I feel that the current system fails them somehow and I think a more supportive community with mentors, career guidance and networks could make a difference.

Sheena Cardoso, Equality Coordinator

Photo of Sheena CardosoSheena is a Coordinator in the Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Centre. 

What do you enjoy most about your current role?

I really enjoy meeting new people and learning new things, which helps in understanding different perspectives.

Who inspires you?

Aside from my family, the actor and creator of The Mindy Project, Mindy Kaling. She is an intelligent, hard-working and incredibly funny woman. She creates characters that break with tradition and stereotypes which is very refreshing!

What would you do if you didn’t have to go to work tomorrow?

I’d cosy up with a book or a box set and a cup of tea.

If you could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?

Be true to yourself.

What do you feel Imperial does well in relation to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion?

Imperial understands that times are changing and is making an attempt to listen, understand and make the College more inclusive.

Stuart Haylock, PhD student

Photo of Stuart HaylockStuart is a final year PhD student in Chemical Biology.

Who inspires you?

The Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences, Professor Tom Welton, was the first openly gay academic that I had ever met and has been a great inspiration to me. I also really appreciate the work of people like David Attenborough for bringing science to a really popular position and raising awareness for our research.

What’s your favourite spot on campus?

My PhD office is the best environment that I've found I can work in, it's quiet with lots of light, and looks out onto the Queen's Lawn at South Kensington. I have a network of intelligent people I can simply just turn around and ask questions of, which is extremely valuable when you come across a problem you can't solve.

When I desperately need time to think I just go sit out on in Prince's Gardens or Hyde Park. It's nice to have a quick break from a computer screen from time to time so that you can think.

If you could improve one thing at Imperial, what would it be?

PhD salaries can be difficult as they are lower than the London Living Wage; I have often found myself looking for teaching or demonstrating work just to be able to afford to live. Imperial is attempting to solve this problem, but obviously it will take some time.

What's your favourite piece of music?

I'm a big fan of video game orchestral scores, I've been to several performances of music from these games, which twin the emotive feeling of the music with the amazing orchestra. I'm also a huge musical nerd and am currently obsessed with the musical Dear Evan Hansen.

If you were the College Provost for a day, what one thing would you do to make Imperial more diverse and inclusive?

I'd order some rainbow lab coats for lab work to make it easier for people to see that there are many LGBT academics around and bring it to the forefront of peoples’ minds. It would also show students and visitors that Imperial is a really diverse place, encouraging more people to be out and open about themselves.

School of Medicine Netball Club

Photo of Temi Olonisakin and netball playersTemi Olonisakin, fifth year medical student, is the Imperial College School of Medicine Netball Club (ICSM Netball) Captain 2017–18. 

What do you love most about Imperial?

When I came to Imperial I never imagined being part of such a diverse and loving club! As a first year seeing women from all different backgrounds lead the club gave me hope that one day, I could too. I’m extremely proud to say that I am the Club Captain of ICSM Netball Club as we really do represent women from all walks of life.

As a community itself, Imperial has people from a whole array of diverse backgrounds meaning our netball club has ladies from all parts of the world. Our club has members from Nigeria, Germany, Sweden, UK, India, Dubai, Portugal, Netherlands, Hong Kong, Iraq, Sri Lanka, Kosovo and so many more! The community here at Imperial encourage us to make the most of their opportunities and make sure we are supported in our goals – especially with campaigns like #ImperialGirlsCan!

What’s one thing about you that your Imperial colleagues might be surprised to learn about you?

It’s not just all about the sport for us ICSM Netball girls. Our club makes the most of the talents each of our members have to ensure we have a positive impact on our members and community. We run tutorials, educational peer-to-peer sessions and also volunteer as a club at local charities.

What does diversity mean to your club?

We all know too well that it is easy to feel like you don’t quite fit in when you start somewhere new. That is why at the top of the priority list is the welfare of all and every member of the club! We ensure that we support the incoming Year 1 students and make them feel at home through our ‘mums and dads’ scheme, by hosting a dinner for the committee to meet all the Freshers, as well as organising a social for the second years to meet the first years! We really are an incredibly diverse bunch, and that is what makes it so much more special to be part of the ICSM Netball family.

 

Emelie Helsen, Student Development Manager

Photo of Emelie HelsenEmelie is the Student Development Manager at Imperial College Union. 

What’s your favourite spot on your campus?

The Farmer's Market at South Kensington on Tuesdays. I love the different dishes, flavours and seeing our community together

Do you have any hobbies?

I studied photography so I still love taking photographs. I also love travelling, spending time with my niece and nephew, exploring the London food scene and FaceTiming with my friends all over the world.

What do you enjoy most about your current role?

I love being able to support and challenge students to become critical thinkers.

Where do you live, and what do you love about your neighbourhood?

I live in Peckham. I love its hustle and bustle, the friendliness and the great sense of community.

If you were the College Provost for a day, what one thing would you do to make Imperial more diverse and inclusive?

I would talk to students in different locations on each of the College’s campuses all day in order to find out about their lived experiences and to learn more about their aspirations and struggles, how they are getting on at Imperial and how their education is helping them in life.

Katie Stripe, E-learning Technologist

Photo of Katie StripeKatie is an E-learning Technologist at the National Heart & Lung Institute.

What do you enjoy most about your current role?

I really enjoy working with people to develop static, sometimes old, content into something interactive and engaging for students.

What’s one thing about you that your Imperial colleagues and friends might be surprised to learn?

I am really quite shy and anxious a lot of the time – the confident attitude is a front!

If you were the College Provost for a day, what one thing would you do to make Imperial more diverse and inclusive?

Building networks is something that we could really work on. I would like to get everyone to try to work in a different department, so they can meet and talk to each other. There are so many opportunities for innovation if people talked more and shared ideas with colleagues outside their own departments.

What do you feel Imperial does well in relation to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion?

I think the general attitude that your background is irrelevant and that it’s your work that matters is great.

Nudrat Mubarik, PhD student

Photo of Nudrat MubarikNudrat is a first year PhD student in the Department of Chemistry. 

Who inspires you?

All the women in STEM. According to UN, only 28% of the researchers are women, so hats off to all the warriors who are breaking stereotypes and shining on the horizon of the field of science and technology.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a scientist?

If I wasn't a chemist, I'd be a psychologist. In fact, I was all set to embark on my journey towards a Masters in Psychology. Then, I changed my mind and took Chemistry as a challenge.

What’s your favourite moment in the College year?

It's been just a few months since I joined Imperial, but I was the first one to flag my country on the world map at the International Postgraduate Welcome Event, which was a proud moment.

If you could improve one thing at Imperial, what would it be?

I would have to make Imperial greener.

What’s one thing about you that your Imperial colleagues and friends might be surprised to learn?

I didn't exactly know the difference between espresso, cappuccino and latte coffee before coming to UK. Now, thanks to the crisp winter, I’m addicted to all three.

What do you feel Imperial does well in relation to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion?

Diversity and gender equality are the best things about Imperial. The College warmly welcomes international students with a big heart. Being the UK's most international university, Imperial has students from more than 100 countries and is open to everyone irrespective of gender and race. It feels so good to be part of Chemistry, the Athena Swan Gold Award-winning department.

Allison Hunter, Technical Operations Manager

Photo of Allison HunterAllison is the Technical Operations Manager in the Department of Life Sciences.

What was your first job?

I was a Research Technician on a project studying a motor neurone disease model.

Do you have any hobbies?

I like making fused glass pieces at art college. Being a senior technician means that I spend more time in meetings and on paperwork than in the lab, so glass fusion gets me back into making things and improvising. I enjoy the practical aspect of cutting glass into the design I have thought up then cooking it in a kiln.

If you could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?

Don’t rush in. Wait a little longer.

What’s your favourite moment in the College year?

I love the Imperial Festival. I helped out on a stall last year and found that the insightful questions and enthusiasm from the public, especially young children, gave me a fresh perspective.

If you were the College Provost for a day, what one thing would you do to make Imperial more diverse and inclusive?

I would sit down and compile a list of problematic issues that many staff encounter, highlighting some common misunderstandings and a few helpful statements about how to avoid them. Sometimes our own biases and preconceptions can affect the relationships we have with colleagues, so taking time to think about things from someone else’s point of view could help make our community a more inclusive place.

Where do you live, and what do you love about your neighbourhood?

I live in Tooting and I love the abundance of the most fantastic curries you can find there.

2017 profiles

Meriame Berboucha, MSci student

Photo of Meriame BerbouchMeriame is a fourth year MSci Physics student, working on the Mega Ampere Generator for Plasma Implosion Experiments (MAGPIE), the largest university-based pulsed power machine. When not carrying out lab experiments mimicing scenarios that happen around supernovae, Meriame is also a STEM abassador and avid science communicator, with an infectious enthusiasm to share her passion for science with the world.

What inspires you about working at Imperial?

The amount of opportunities Imperial gives you is unreal. The fact that I’m surrounded by like-minded people and outstanding and award-winning scientists means that I’m always inspired, there’s always a real buzz in my department for the science we are doing and I love that! I’m so enthusiastic about what I do and I love meeting people who are just as enthusiastic. Not only have I met amazing people but because of those amazing people I’ve been able to carry out amazing research at Imperial and in America too! I’ve been able to communicate science to all ages and share my work at the Imperial Festival, through the Women in Physics Society and many other Outreach events carried out at Imperial.

Imperial is big on Outreach which makes me smile because I think Outreach is vital for getting more students into STEM. All in all, I’ve loved being at Imperial and the people here have inspired me to be the best that I can be!

When did you realise you wanted to become at scientist?

A school trip during my A Levels where I visited the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and saw science on a national lab scale – the HUGE labs there fascinated me and made me want to become a scientist!

What is your favourite moment of the college year?

End of exams = summer fun!

What do you feel Imperial does well in relation to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion?

The College provides training courses for academic staff meaning I am taught in a way where I am treated as an equal regardless of being a minority in the Physics Department (i.e: one of few females in my year). I’ve been supported by the Women in Physics Society and the Outreach team here to continue pursuing my career in science communication.

What's your guilty pleasure?

Singing – the kind where you rock out in your bedroom in front of your mirror.

Christopher Aiden-Lee Jackson, Professor

Photo of Christopher Aiden-Lee JacksonChristopher has worked at Imperial College for twelve years, currently as a Professor of Basin Analysis, which involves researching and teaching on the broad subject area of the Earth's structure and its evolution. This profile was produced for Diverse@Imperial 2017.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a scientist?

I’m still not sure I want to be a scientist! I just haven’t found anything I’m good at. Yet. Given that response, I assume I'd be jobless.

What was your first job?

Working for a Norsk Hydro, an international oil company based in Norway.

What’s one thing about you that your Imperial colleagues might be surprised to learn about you?

I am very good at knitting and I have an entirely healthy obsession for efficient dishwashing stacking.

What inspires you about working at Imperial?

Imperial understandably has high exceptions of students and staff, but is always willing to provide the required support to help us achieve our best.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

The time spent conducting and discussing exciting research with research group members and colleagues.

Katie Leung, Senior Programme Coordinator

Photo of Katie LeungKatie is the Senior Programme Coordinator of the Undergraduate Modular Suite at Imperial College Business School, which encompasses the Summer School, Horizions and Business for Professionals of Engineering and Science (BPES) modules.

What do you feel Imperial does well in relation to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion?

In its efforts to go above and beyond current legislation, Imperial demonstrates a genuine commitment towards maintaining a fully inclusive environment in which there is equality of opportunity for all irrespective of background. In particular, the introduction of talent development programmes such as IMPACT and Calibre showcases Imperial's pride in employing and nurturing a workforce as diverse as the student community it serves.

What inspires you about working at Imperial?

One of the most satisfying elements of my role is seeing Summer School alumni subsequently return to the Business School to pursue postgraduate study. To think that their Summer School experience may have been a catalyst for such an important decision makes me incredibly proud of the work we do.

If you could improve one thing at Imperial, what would it be?

I would suggest that improvements to our current infrastructure are required to ensure greater accessibility and autonomy for blind and visually impaired students.  Another idea would be to install NVDA (free screen-reading software) on College PCs so as to facilitate affected students’ day-to-day learning.

What would you do it you didn’t have to come to work tomorrow?

Indulge in at least one, if not all, of my favourite hobbies: long walks, long talks and random adventures both home and away.

What is your guilty pleasure?

The Chase on ITV.

What advice would you give to your 18 year-old self?

Savour being 18 and visit the dentist more regularly – your wisdom teeth will cause you grief in the future!

Ana Costa-Pereira, Senior Lecturer

Photo of Ana Costa-PereiraAs a research team leader, senior lecturer and Head of BSc Programme Development, plus Head of BSc Medical Biosciences, Ana has an intellectually challenging, diverse, fast paced, but most of all, fun set of responsibilities, whose favourite spot on campus remains her light flooded office in the Imperial Centre for Translational and Experimental Medicine (ICTEM) building on the Hammersmith Campus. 

What was your first job? 

I’m not sure I have ever had a job as I’ve always been blessed to be paid to do what most love: cancer research and teaching the next generation of scientists. I started back in 1999 when I became a postdoctoral research fellow in Ian Kerr’s laboratory in what was then the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (later the London Research Institute and now The Francis Crick Institute). That really was my first job and what made me as a scientist.

If you could improve one thing at Imperial, what would it be?

I would create teaching spaces that enable us to teach using blended methodologies and which truly enable students to learn collaboratively and I would gift academics the gift of time…

What are you reading at the moment?

I love getting lost in a really great book and sadly that is a luxury that haven’t enjoyed in quite a while. So, at the moment, I’m hopping and flicking though several pedagogic books regarding higher education and two kids’ psychology books.

 What was the last book you read? 

Blue Skies and Bench Space – adventures in cancer research by Kathy Weston, which holds a special value to me.

What’s your favourite moment in the College year?

Paradoxically, summer holidays since they provide me with more thinking space, as well as time with my family.

When did you realise you wanted to become at scientist?

I was 3 years old when I decided I wanted to be a doctor; by 13 I was unsure whether to become an astrophysicist or a cancer scientist but by 14 I just knew that what I really wanted to be was a cancer scientist. There was no turning back.

 If you could give your 18 year old self one piece of advice, what would it be?

Travel more. Rest more.

Corporate Partnerships Team

Team photo of Corporate PatnershipsThe Corporate Partnerships team helps offer opportunities for collaboration between Imperial's industrial partners and the Faculty's world class researchers. The team have been at Imperial for between 2 weeks and 9 years, if you count PhD studies!

Who inspires you?

We're inspired by innovators, makers, inventors and entrepreneurs of this world (in abundance at Imperial!) who set out to develop new technologies, create new services and design new products that will impact society and industry and the way we live life.

When did you realise you wanted to work in Academia?

Our team’s inherent inquisitiveness means we all like a new challenge, or to test a new idea, and working with our corporate partners on their technical issues and challenges provides a fantastic way to satisfy that.  In our roles we spend a lot of time working with Imperial’s Academics so that we understand their work and are able to match their capabilities to industry challenges.

The majority of us have PhDs in a science or engineering discipline and worked as researchers either in industry, academia or both for a number of years, but have moved out of the “lab” for different reasons.  With our combined technical expertise and understanding of research, we are in a good position to support the research at Imperial – especially at a time when the future of public funding from the UK and EU is uncertain.  We have the privilege of working with the amazing research at Imperial without having to wear a lab-coat again.

What do you enjoy most about your roles?

Continually being amazed by all the research taking place at Imperial, and developing partnerships that allow those diverse ideas and discoveries to solve problems and improve lives in various ways across the globe.

The real value of team diversity in the workplace is in the various ways different individuals approach problems and solutions, and the value we attribute to these nuanced ideas and different ways of working

What’s your favourite moment in the College year?

The start of the Academic year brings new faces and a lively atmosphere; Christmas gives us a moment to get together with colleagues and get to know each other better; Commencement and Graduation days gives us a glimpse of the happy students and proud parents and the streets of South Kensington flooded with crowds of robed individuals.

What would you do if you didn’t have to come to work tomorrow?

Travel, run, cycle, go to a pilates class, wander around London, play the drums, eat…. And maybe fit in some sleep too.