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Student engagement

Meet our Student Champions

7 March 2022

Each year, we have a cohort of paid Student Champions, who work with staff on a variety of projects across the University.

If you’re studying with us, you can find out more about the scheme on the intranet.

Meet this year’s Champions:


Aleks Tanaka

My name is Aleksandra and I’m a second year Biomedical Sciences student on the GEM feeder stream. I’m interested in tropical diseases, particularly in primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) and necrotising fasciitis, as well as zoonotic viruses.  

I’m currently working on the “Connectedness in Biosciences” project, which aims to develop and maintain support and social networks between students in the School of Biosciences, focusing on first year students especially. I joined the project as my own first year was spent in isolation and lockdown, so being able to bring my own experience and building it into something tangible for other students like me feels really fulfilling.  Hopefully, as the project continues, I will be able to see my and the team’s contributions develop further and make a real difference to the student experience at Cardiff University! 


Charlotte Boyd

My name is Charlotte and I am a fourth-year biomedical science integrated masters student. I have recently started on a project within my home school, the school of biosciences, to improve student voice and communication. The Top 5 is a weekly email sent to all first-year bioscience students that summarises the essential tasks they need to complete (assignments, flipped lectures, pre-practical tests) ready for the following week. The email is a one stop shop for all vital course related information. We are aiming to revamp the Top 5 email based upon data collected from current first year students to make it more user friendly and ensure that most students utilise the email! As a student champion I hope to improve the university experience of all students. I am dedicated to working as a team and finding ways to improve student experience. This will be achieved through collecting student feedback, analysing the information, and acting on the data collected by creating new solutions which work for students.  


Geena Whiteman

My name is Geena, and I am a first year ESRC funded PhD student at SOCSI, researching youth digital-social entrepreneurship in the Western Balkans. I have an academic background in economics and have worked in research-related roles for the past few years, predominantly focused on entrepreneurship-related research projects for both academic and practitioner purposes. I joined the Student Champion programme in December 2021 to develop my user-experience research skills and engage further with the student community. I am currently involved in a project reviewing the personal tutoring system in the School of English, Communication and Philosophy, where we are designing and disseminating surveys and then conducting more in-depth focus groups with students in the school to determine their expectations and needs of the group personal tutoring system 


Ioana Bold

Hi, I’m Ioana and I’m in my final year studying Medical Engineering. I have joined the Student Champion scheme last year throughout the year I got the chance to work on numerous projects aimed at improving student satisfaction. One of my most recent project is the Learning Communities Project. Here, I get the chance to create interactive resources on various academic skills such as time management, exam revision, essay writing etc to be used by all students at Cardiff University. Additionally, I will get to answer student questions once these resources are promoted. It is great to see the impact as a student and create resources I wish I had in the beginning of my degree. I am hoping the project will help others feel more at ease when completing assignments and exams and make their academic life easier.  


Jessica Evans

My name is Jessica and I am a third year Human Geography student. I took on the ‘Student Champion’ role as I am passionate about the importance of the ‘student voice’ in driving changes surrounding learning and teaching at the university. The job is also providing work experience that will aid me in my post-degree endeavours. 

Currently, I am working on the ‘Student Life’ project, which aims to understand the dynamics of ‘student life’ at Cardiff university in pursuit of informing the University’s decisions surrounding student communications. The project strives to utilise Champion’s opinions and experiences to learn how to better engage with student populations by directly addressing their current concerns, needs and wants. My contributions so far have involved collating and presenting information directly to communications staff, expressing opinions on the issues many students are currently facing at university (such as drink spiking and mental health struggles). I already feel like I am making a change; my job role is allowing me to directly channel student’s invaluable opinions to university staff, who are listening to what we have to say and are in turn immediately acting upon the information they receive to improve communication processes.  


Megan Ching

Hi, I am Megan, a final-year psychology undergraduate! As an international student and with the shift to online learning last year, I have seen its impact within the international student community. Being a student champion empowered me with the voice to help change things. 

I was involved in a project with Student Communications, where I provided insights into student life to increase their reach and engagement with students to ensure that the communications reflect, and address students’ needs and wants.  

Hopefully the fresh perspective that I bring as an international student can help to enhance the student experience so that international students feel well-supported in our new home.  


Phoebe Bowers

My name is Phoebe, I am an MA English Literature student and I also studied my undergraduate degree at Cardiff. As required for my course I’m an avid reader and lover of the humanities! Anything entailing culture and the arts I love: whether that’s literature, fashion, food, music or film! I have contributed to Quench magazine during my time in Cardiff and my interests within my degree mainly concern critical theory. 

So far under the Student Champion Scheme I am a part of two ongoing projects. These include ‘Student Voice for Academic Leads’ and ‘Improving Assessment and Feedback for ENCAP.’ The former entails conceptualising and collating what an ‘academic lead’ for student voice should be and look like. This project aims to consolidate ‘academic leads’ within all schools which listen to academic issues or suggestions from students. As a student champion on this project I aid my EPO with what I feel this new position should act upon. The latter project is just beginning and looks to improve how assessment feedback is given within ENCAP. Having been an ENCAP student for four years now I felt I had fair judgement on this subject in order to better the school’s feedback! 


Pui Kuan Cheah

My name is Pui Kuan and I’m a final year BA Media and Communications student. Although I joined the Student Champions team later in the academic year, I’ve recently joined a project with the Student Mentoring team, aiming to improve the use of Microsoft Teams in the Student Mentor Scheme. Having identified several areas for improvement, we hope to make the mentoring process more seamless.  

As a past mentor and mentor consultant myself, this project is particularly relevant and personal, and will hopefully allow me to improve the mentoring experience for future mentors. Beyond this, I hope that my time as a Student Champion will allow me to improve various experiences for students across the university. 


Ruth Omenyo

Hello, my name is Ruth and I am a graduate student studying medicine. One task I have been involved in as a Student Champion is representing and documenting the views of my fellow peers about student life. These have included concerns about safety, online learning, and suggestions on how this can improve, in addition innovative library schemes. I hope having shared this document with the Centre of Education Support and Innovation it will create discussion, consideration and implementation or any beneficial adaptations to create an even more conducive learning environment for all students.  


Saffron Corbyn

Saffron

My name is Saffron. I am a fourth year integrated masters student studying Neuroscience. I am currently involved with the ‘Connectedness in Bioscience’ project which aims to help Year 1 Bioscience students interact more with each other to prevent loneliness. Working on this project, I hope to make a positive impact on how students experience year 1. I aim to make students feel more comfortable and confident in approaching new peers and lecturers, and be able to enjoy everything the first year of university has to offer. Being a student champion has given me the opportunity to work towards a goal that’s purpose is to improve the wellbeing of so many. A goal like this is so important right now with the current issues the world is facing. Throughout my time as student champion, I hope my work on tasks and projects make a big difference to the students at Cardiff University.  


Samuel O’Connell

I’m Sam and I am a third year student studying Journalism & Politics. I joined the Student Champions scheme in order to have more of an impact on the student experience for myself and my peers. I believe the scheme provides a great opportunity to enhance the position of the student voice!  

The most recent project I have worked on was with the Academic Study Skills team, helping to develop new and improved online learning communities for students. This has involved analysing the ways in which Cardiff University’s online communities are currently set up and exploring new ways of setting up innovative learning communities with educational resources for students. I hope that these learning communities will allow students to access learning resources a lot easier in the future. 

I believe that the Student Champion’s scheme is extremely impactful, allowing for students to have their voice heard on all matters from student wellbeing to the ways in which us students are taught.  


Sara Williams

My name is Sara, and I’m currently in my final year of university studying Journalism, Media, and Culture which is an undergraduate degree here at Cardiff. I am a Welsh speaker, and I have been very lucky to be chosen as a Student Champion this year. During my time as a Student Champion, the experiences I’ve had working with the Mentoring and Academic Study Skills Communication team at the University bringing the student’s perspective into their marketing decisions, where I have been involved in thinking about creative content ideas that will help the team showcase everything they have got to offer. The team has been very welcoming of my ideas regarding social media, and I am very excited to progress them further in the coming weeks. As a Student Champion, I strongly believe that the impact that I have had has been positive, and as a Welsh speaker, I will be able to aid the team in creating bilingual videos and content for their social media output. I look forward to being a part of this project, and I strongly believe that all the marketing and communication skills I will learn will be valuable for my future career in this industry. 


Shloka Dhareshwar

I am Shloka, a second year Neuroscience student as well as an International student. Currently, I’ve been involved in two projects – 1) Improving student voice in year 1 biosci and 2) Transition to future awards. 

With improving student voice, we’re currently working on student-staff communication emails and how we could make them more collaborative. Bridging the communication gap between students and staff is a very important aspect of learning as it forms the very basis of the relation between the school and students.

Working with experienced staff members to bring change in students life- however small it may be plays a massive role towards showing support. As a student who did the whole of year 1 online, had helped me gain numerous amounts of experience. With these experiences I aim to change things that didn’t work out and push for things that have great potential in helping students.  


Sian Williams

My name is Sian Williams, I’m 21 years old and currently in my fourth year of studying Psychology at Cardiff University. I’m from North Wales and a fluent Welsh speaker, my hobbies include going to the gym, long morning walks, visiting coffee shops and socializing on weekends with my friends. I am still settling into the role as a student champion; however, the experience so far has been invaluable- I have received much support from the team and had the opportunity to be involved in various interesting projects across the University.   

One project I am currently involved in explores the use of Microsoft Teams in student mentoring. In the upcoming weeks I will be co-creating and developing resources for the mentoring scheme, offer my insights and views on the experience, and collect feedback from current and previous mentors. This, in turn, will; hopefully improve the experience for mentors, and also first year mentees as well as mentor consultants and staff involved in the scheme. I am excited to see how the project will develop over time and what this will mean for the scheme going forward in the next academic year.   


Tathan Harding-Lloyd

Hello! My name is Tathan Harding Lloyd, I am a third year Politics and International Relations student. I am from Pembrokeshire in west Wales.   

I am currently working with staff from the Student Mentor Scheme, to improve the scheme generally, but specifically to develop how it operates on Microsoft Teams. I have been a mentor and a mentor consultant and so have first-hand experience of these problems which puts me in an advantageous position. By improving the student mentor scheme, we can make it even more of an beneficial scheme that simultaneously improves the experience of first year students and provides an opportunity for second and third year students to gain vital experience.   


Thanousha Ratnam

Hi there, I’m Thanousha, a third year joint honours student at Cardiff University. This is my first year working with the Student Champion scheme and already I’ve felt very welcomed and well supported within the team. The Student Champions scheme works in partnership with the Learning and Teaching Academy to develop and shape the student experience at Cardiff University. There are a number of projects and tasks to get involved with, enabling you to develop a range of skills and provide your insight towards the ways in which student voice mechanisms and digital learning tools can be improved. I have found this to be highly rewarding as I am able to provide my contributions and inspire change to the Cardiff University learning and teaching community. 

A project I’ve been recently involved in is the Learning Analytics pilot, working alongside the Academy to pilot the use of data dashboards to improve the personal tutor experience. Working with another Student Champion, I run focus groups with first-year students, informing them about the project and gathering reactions, then providing feedback to the team. I have been able to learn lots of information about Learning Analytics, developing my knowledge and skills of this area. 


Umaima Arif

I am Umaima Arif, and I am a second year medical student as well as a Student Champion for the year 2021-2022. 

I am currently involved in the Mentoring and Academic Study Skills project, where we collaborate to improve the outreach, resources and support available to students regarding adjusting to personal and academic aspects of their life at university. This includes brainstorming how we can offer useful advice on specific study skills, encouraging student engagement with online resources, and identifying how we can increase awareness of new opportunities the service offers. Currently, we’re discussing how to involve student mentors in creating and promoting resources for academic study skills so that first year students can become aware of the support available for them.  

Being a Student Champion has enabled me to have a direct impact on aspects of the student experience. It has equipped me with valuable transferable skills that enable me to work with and learn from different students to address challenges they might face. As a Student Champion, I hope that I will be able to use these skills to address student opinions and suggestions, and incorporate these into improvements in resources and support available to them throughout their university life.  


Uzair Ahmed

Hi, my name is Uzair Ahmed and I am a medical student at Cardiff University, in my fourth year of studies. I also work on the student champion scheme. I have been a student champion for 2 years now and have been involved in various projects aimed at improving student life at Cardiff University, from developing the new student app to working with LinkedIn Learning and gathering feedback on postgraduate study options.  

Being a student champion provides me with opportunities to directly address issues that students face and make positive change. 

A recent project that I had the opportunity to be involved in was the development of the new student app. This project involved working with the IT team designing the new app, to provide them with user feedback and an insight into how the new app functions for students. 

As part of the project, I was privileged to have access to a preliminary version of the app. I tested the features of the app and provided suggestions for improvements as well as feedback on what worked well. This experience enabled me to have a direct role in improving the student experience in Cardiff University.