Shannon Helen - University of Derby Masters student and Student Ambassador
As a student social worker, with an interest in working with children, working with young people is a huge passion of mine and I have really enjoyed working at school visits to the University campus. A younger version of myself would have never imagined going to university, as a teenage parent it did not feel like an option. But I have done it, I graduated with a BSc in Child and Family Health and Wellbeing in 2022 and am now enjoying doing further studies at Master's level in Social Work.
It is powerful to be able to share your story and experiences with others, and the best person to share the university experience is those who are currently going through it.I am passionate about helping others to see their potential and self-worth, and enjoy being able to use my experiences and knowledge to help support others, especially when considering to come to university. Working in outreach enables me to inspire others with similar life stories to my own to see their potential, and realise that any previous life experiences do not have to be a barrier to you reaching your goals.
Working in outreach enables me to inspire others with similar life stories to my own to see their potential, and realise that any previous life experiences do not have to be a barrier to you reaching your goals.
University of Derby Masters student and Student Ambassador
My confidence has grown significantly during my time as a Student Ambassador, and I’mvery grateful to the team for supporting me with this. At first, the idea of public speaking made me anxious, and I would never usually put myself forward for speaking publicly. I stepped outside my comfort zones by becoming a Student Ambassador, and that decision really paid off. I now feel confident to speak publicly, which has had a hugely positive effect on my studies as I now feel more confident when I need to do presentations or verbal examinations.
Looking towards the future, being a student ambassador has really helped to strengthen my CV and future job applications, as it shows a passion for your university experience, career, and skill progression. While studying on a full-time course, and being a parent, it can be extremely difficult to work while studying. Taking on the ambassador role has enabled me to work while balancing my other commitments. I’m so glad I applied to work in Outreach, as working as a student ambassador has been one of the best decisions I made during my time studying at the University of Derby!
Kitty Nichols - University of Derby student and Student Ambassador
I first got involved with outreach work a month after starting my undergraduate degree at Derby in 2019. Prior to coming to the University, I had attended events to help me acclimatise to the new environment I was about to embark on in the next stage of my education. The support during these events was incredible, and I knew I would like to help other people come to university just like I had been helped.
Working in Outreach and Widening Access has helped bring alive my passion to show that anyone can come to university, and reaching out to those who especially had not considered coming to university has been truly rewarding. As an autistic person, the statistics were against me coming to university, but I managed it with support, and I would like the people we work with in Outreach and Widening Access to know that it is always possible to achieve furthering your education. I am passionate about working with Outreach and Widening Access because statistics should not define us, and I have a chance to work against those statistics to help make it possible for people to come to university.
I have been a student ambassador at the University of Derby for over 3 years now, and it has been a blast! I have had the opportunity to make a real difference in young people's and prospective students’ lives by sharing my enthusiasm for studying at university. From visiting year 6 students in primary schools to travelling to Birmingham for recruitment exhibitions, meeting people, and giving them information to help them make the best choices about their futures has been amazing.
The statistics were against me coming to university, but I managed it with support, and I would like the people we work with in Outreach and Widening Access to know that it is always possible to achieve furthering your education.
University of Derby student and Student Ambassador
Being a Student Ambassador at the University of Derby has allowed me to gain a lot of confidence, as well as become more comfortable with who I am. I have been able to share my journey with so many people, and I know that being honest about the support I have had as an autistic student at university has eased so many prospective students’ and parent/carers’ worries about making that step into higher education. I have developed into a confident speaker, campus tour guide, and person as a Student Ambassador, and I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to build on my skillset. Through the ambassador programme, I have also achieved the Gold Futures Award (an employability award at the University of Derby), in addition to being nominated as ‘Student Employment Agency Student Employee of the Year’ in 2021. This has all impacted my university experience by giving me the confidence to speak up, which has helped me to flourish in my education and personal life.
I have met some incredible people during my time as a student ambassador! I have made some amazing friends with fellow ambassadors, as well as meeting people from lots of different places. There have been a few shifts that have remained particularly close to my heart, including a campus tour event for learners with SEND, and the care experienced days. These events have taught me a lot about how amazing the University of Derby is for support, and how inclusive we are. I have learnt a lot about the University and how it works to the extent that my experiences as a student ambassador have fuelled my dreams to become a lecturer.
I have always dreamt of working in a university or school environment and being involved with Outreach has not only further fuelled this passion, but has made it possible. Gaining an understanding of the different routes available to people coming to university, alongside the transferable skills I have learnt, are essential to becoming the person I am, and the academic I hope to be.
Molly Young - University of Derby student and Student Ambassador
I love everything about being an ambassador, but one of the highlights is the opportunity to work with other students from various different courses across the University. It’s also very rewarding, especially when working with schools, as you are able to speak to so many young people and help them gain an idea of what their future career may be!
What makes me passionate is being able to help, inspire and teach others. I love answering questions from people that could help influence somebody to come to university. It may be a parent at an open day or a student in a school, but bringing awareness, talking about my journey, and helping others is what gets me excited to work in Outreach!
Finding what I enjoy, gaining confidence, helping others and making so many great connections and friends as an ambassador, has enabled me to feel like I belong and that I can do anything I put my mind towards.
University of Derby student and Student Ambassador
I have gained exceptional confidence working as an ambassador. I love to challenge and push myself so that I’m able to confidentially take on new tasks and events. This has helped strongly for my course and studies as I’m able to have a greater understanding of the university, where to go for support, and be especially confident in reaching out if I ever need support. Being an ambassador means you have to be able to communicate well with staff, teachers, and other ambassadors, and I can see a massive improvement in my communication skills, especially when getting involved in group tasks.
Being involved as a student ambassador has made me realiseI’m able to achieve so much. I was extremely shy and anxious during my school years, I had no confidence and never felt like I would fit in. Finding what I enjoy, gaining confidence, helping others, and making so many great connections and friends as an ambassador, has enabled me to feel like I belong and that I can do anything I put my mind towards!
Dounia Al-hasiniani - University of Derby student and Student Ambassador
Thanks to being an ambassador, I have had opportunities I never thought I’d get to experience. A prime example is getting the chance to get on stage at one of the Derby exhibitions and answering some Q&A’s in front of a large audience! Opportunities like these really boost your confidence and allow you to see your true potential.
Public speaking was something I never thought I would be able to confidently do especially in front of a large lecture theatre. One of the first-ever shifts I worked on included presenting in front of classrooms full of eager students. I had decided to try it out and was asked by the shift lead of that event if I was comfortable taking over some slides. I decided to agree and chose the slides I would be more comfortable talking about.I gave it a go and honestly surprised myself, once I noticed that the students were genuinely interested in what I was saying, I only grew in confidence. That did not go unnoticed by the event lead as I received the first STAR of the month for my success! Ever since then, speaking in front of any audience, no matter the size is no longer a fear of mine.
I have ignited my passion for becoming a role model to other ethnic minority students similar to me. Showing opportunities like this are out there and helping to build confidence in their own skin, traditions and cultures makes this experience unforgettable.
University of Derby student and Student Ambassador
Utilising the skills I have developed, I have been able to ignite my passion for becoming a role model to other ethnic minority students similar tome. Being able to show them that there are opportunities like this out there and helping to build confidence in their own skin, traditions and cultures makes this experience unforgettable. I am very passionate about allowing students who don’t feel like they belong, to discover theirtrue potential and realise the many opportunities out there for them to look forward to.
In the future, I want to teach. This passion only resurfaced from all the outreach work that I have done.I enjoy sharing my knowledge about universities, different courses, and sixth forms/colleges with students whilst watching them have ‘lightbulb’ moments as they chime in and discover their own ideas. Thanks to outreach work I have been able to work on the skills needed to teach, including classroom management, public speaking, confidence building and many more. I have had a truly rewarding experience and I can't wait to see where it leads me next!