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QM Student: Ambika Kumar

Thursday 3 April 2014

Ambika Kumar with Principal Professor Simon Gaskell

Ambika, who won Course Rep of the Year at the Education Awards 2014, is a third year BSc Biomedicine student. She tells us about what the position of Course Rep has taught her about the student experience and explains why this role has helped to shape her future.

Why did you decide to be a Course Rep?
I decided to become a course rep due to the significant differences that the scheme enables you to make. Watching the previous course reps of my module in action (Deren, Utkarsh and Samuel) really motivated me to get involved. In the first two years of my degree I thoroughly enjoyed helping out other fellow students in both course work and exam revision. Because of this, in second year, I decided to become an SBCS PASS mentor, which I also carried on in third year. In the final year of my degree, I realised that I could make bigger and broader changes through being a course rep and Vice President of the biomedics society. All of these roles have influenced my future decisions greatly through the skills and knowledge I gained.

What has the role involved?
This was my first year being a course rep for biomedical sciences so the experience was both new and exciting for me. Having had great course reps before, I had a lot to live up to and thus took on the role with 100% motivation and commitment. The role has included me liaising with a variety of members of staff in order to bring about specific changes to the module. This meant listening to student problems and working with the staff to better the student experience. This included changes to course work, changing module specifics, and availability of resources. Being able to make all these differences gave me great appreciation of how one small change can better a student’s life.

What has been the best part of being a Course Rep?
The most enjoyable experience for me has been the variety of changes that I was able to implement in direct relation to what the students wanted. Being able to bring the exact problems of the students to the SSLC meetings (Student Staff Liason Committee) and watching them get implemented into direct changes to modules was a very rewarding experience!

What was the most difficult part?
The worst part was definitely when big changes that the students wanted to make were not plausible. This was frustrating but it made me appreciate the changes I could make.

How do feel about winning Course Rep of the Year?
Having got so much out of the role of Course Rep already, winning the award was an added bonus. I was both shocked and privileged to get such an esteemed award. The Education Awards evening was a great night where I was able to reminisce with my fellow Course Reps about the year we have had and also make new friends. It was my first time in Drapers Hall so being in such a great location of London left me astonished! Finding out about the relationship between the Drapers Company and Queen Mary was a great experience.

What are your plans for the future?
Now, after spending three years doing Biomedical Sciences, I have decided to do a PhD in Microbiology which in Queen Mary, in Dr Shane Wilkinson’s lab. Being a Course Rep has given me the opportunity to get involved a lot more in QM by making me realise that there is so much more I want to give back. Because of this, I decided that remaining in the university for postgraduate education would be the best choice for me. I am excited and motivated to see what the next three years have in store for me!

Course Reps
Want to become a Course Rep and help you and the students on your course get your voice heard, and make real changes? There are still some positions available so visit the Students’ Union website to find out more.

Education Awards 2014
Read about the recent Education Awards.

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