Queen Mary Alumni

National Mentoring Day 2021

Today, the 27 October 2021, is National Mentoring Day and this year we have teamed up with our Careers and Enterprise team to recognise and celebrate a handful of alumni and non-alumni who are involved with and have been involved with our QMentoring scheme at Queen Mary. 

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Our alumni are our best ambassadors and they have the power to transform the lives and career trajectories of current students by offering them their time, advice and guidance. Mentoring is also a reciprocal process – our mentors benefit just as much as their mentees and this is evidenced by the below testimonials which we have captured to mark this special day:

Our mentors:

Nadia Al-Refae (Chemistry BSc, 2016) 

“I became a mentor because I wanted to directly impact a student's life for the better. I wanted to encourage and empower them to make decisions and help them gain the confidence and courage that I didn't have when I was in their position.”

Dennis Cox (Mathematics BSc, 1978) 

“I became a mentor because I felt this was the opportunity to give something back and to provide students with the support and guidance to assist them in building their careers.”

Masruba Tasnim (non-alum)

“One of the most rewarding aspects of mentoring is seeing how mentees progress and develop throughout our time together. 

They become more self-aware, more confident and put themselves forward for growth opportunities. Mentoring others is important to me, not only because I had incredible mentors when I was starting out in my career, but it offers a space to share lessons learnt and guidance with the younger generation. I’m dedicated to ensuring that diverse and underrepresented people are offered the valuable skills, social and cultural capital to excel and belong in the workplaces and spaces they wish to go into. 

In a mentoring partnership, both parties are equally learning from one another, in different ways.” 

Michael Loizou (English and European Law LLB, 2008)

“What I love most about being a mentor is witnessing Queen Mary students discover their potential, guiding them through the exciting options they have before them once they have graduated and assisting them in devising a career strategy that works for them.”

Raeesa Mukhtar (Comparative Literature BA, 2015)

“Being a mentor was a great experience. It allowed me to reflect on my own experiences and use it to help guide and support a Queen Mary student. I enjoyed watching my mentee grow and develop and I’m glad to still be in touch with them and look forward to seeing and championing all their achievements.”

Vivian Christogianni (non-alum)  

“I enjoy forming action plans with my mentees, helping them work towards realistic goals and at the end ticking all the boxes with them and celebrating their achievements!”

Paul Dragoslav (Computer Science and Multimedia BSc, 2016)

“My favourite part about being a mentor is sharing insights into the industry (how businesses operate; what roles are available; which technologies are most used) and helping new professionals develop their skills and join the field.”

Graeme Anderson (non-alum)  

“On a personal level, it is always satisfying to help people; from my time mentoring, I also gained an insight into the thought processes, challenges, and aspirations of our future talent pool.”

Samerah Saeed (Biochemistry BSc, 2008; Medicine MBBS, 2013)  

“I found being a mentor very rewarding. I valued being a source of support and guidance for a student who was in a similar position to where I had been when I applied to medical school. I was able to use my own experiences and knowledge to help someone navigate their way through the process and provide an insight into the career and lifestyle of a doctor. Mentoring also enabled me to reflect on my own journey from student to professional.

I am glad to have been able to give something back, especially during such challenging circumstances with the pandemic. It was a great way to connect with someone and share a positive experience.”

Hannah Ballard (English BA, 2015)

“As a woman, with a non-tech background, working in tech start-ups, I had to contend with a lot of imposter syndrome. So one of the reasons I started mentoring was because I really want to try and uplift other folks from underrepresented groups to find their voice and use their skills to have a positive impact in the tech space. I’ve had a great time so far and I would really love to bring more people in.”

Vivek Bhardwaj (Law LLB, 2017)

"I became a mentor because I was fortunate enough to participate in a similar mentoring scheme during my undergraduate degree, resulting in my first professional connection outside academics. In this regard, the opportunity to give back to students in a similar position is immensely rewarding." 

Joe Barlow (History BA, 2013) 

“I became a mentor due to the opportunity to give back. The Careers Department at Queen Mary afforded me such fantastic support and opportunities which gave me an edge when entering the job market for the first time. The internship and coaching I received were invaluable and taught me some valuable lessons. They built my confidence and allowed me to build some fantastic professional relationships. For the first time in a space of “not knowing”, there was real clarity.

It’s this experience that I really wanted to give back. I know I was not alone in my experience of not knowing, and if all it took was for someone to realise my potential and build my confidence, then why couldn’t I be that person for someone else? Everyone has the skills and talent, sometimes it just takes someone saying, “you can achieve this”.

What I enjoy most about being a mentor is seeing someone develop and build their confidence in their ability. What we do isn’t rocket science, and it’s not my job to teach – simply it’s about helping someone realise they can do what they want and helping them to unlock their potential.

It is rewarding seeing people progress and develop, and the idea you may have had the slightest influence in that is more than enough motivation.”   

Samera Siddiqui (Medical Genetics BSc, 2010; Dental Physical Sciences PhD, 2015)

“I joined the QMentoring programme as it was an excellent opportunity to keep connected with Queen Mary, which has played an essential role in shaping my career. Working with my mentee was very rewarding as I was able to encourage and enable their professional and personal development. I thoroughly enjoyed this experience, from which I also developed my own supervisory skills.”

Nyree Basdeo (Genetics and Microbiology BSc, 2001)

“I enjoy being a mentor because I love to inspire, enable and empower my mentee. Seeing their confidence and capabilities grow as they realise their potential along their career journey is so rewarding.”

Louise Ferdjani (non-alum)

What I enjoy most about being a mentor is being able to help someone with the same questions I had when I was at university researching what law firms were looking for in the graduates they recruit and collaborating with my mentee to help them work towards their career goals. It is fulfilling to see my mentee grow in confidence, gain skills and take charge of their own career journey.

Our mentees:

Emily O’Hanlon (Law LLB, 2021) 

“I enjoyed learning from my mentor, as I would often ask them questions regarding CV’s, interviews and training contract applications and they were always happy to give me helpful pieces of advice. I also enjoyed listening to my mentor explain how he has progressed in his career and the work experience he chose to make him stand out from the crowd.”

Riya Mollie Patel (current LLB English and European Law student)

“I decided to become a mentee because I wanted to become more confident about my career choice, in the hope of interacting with someone who could share their own experience and knowledge of navigating the legal sector. 

I loved the QMentoring programme because I felt so well-matched to my mentor. We shared similar interests, had constructive meetings and explored my career pathway.  

The legal sector is extremely competitive, therefore communicating with my mentor on a regular basis made me feel more supported in my decisions and chosen career pathway.  

I made a new connection with a highly articulate, intelligent and friendly person. I have come away from the programme feeling more confident and excited about my career pathway.”

Md Muntasir Sarker - mentee (current MEng Mechanical Engineering student)  

“As a mentee I gained guidance with my career development, insight into the engineering industry, improved confidence and the opportunity to develop my professional network. Maya was an amazing mentor and QMentoring overall was a great experience that all students should take part in if given the chance.”

A special thank you from Louisa Chastney, QMentoring Coordinator:

“Happy National Mentoring Day and thank you to all of the volunteers who support the QMentoring programme. You are all fantastic and we hope you enjoy our National Mentoring Day campaign, which showcases some of the brilliant work that you do!”