Dilshad Shawki, a PhD student in Atmospheric Physics, started volunteering with Schools Plus in 2012 when he joined Imperial as a MSc student.
As a Schools Plus tutor, he was placed in Bishop Challoner school in Tower Hamlets where he supported underprivileged students with GCSE maths. Whilst the impact that Dilshad and his fellow tutors had on the school pupils was huge (“When students you have tutored are upgraded to be entered for the ‘higher’ GCSE paper, you know that you have made a positive impact.”) he felt that it wasn’t enough.
After talking to the school pupils, Dilshad realised that in order for them to get the most from the tutoring, they first needed to be inspired by the opportunities that could be open to them if they did well in STEM subjects at school.
With support from Imperial Hub, Dilshad successfully partnered with the Alumni department and schools to run 4 events with 12 recent alumni. The alumni talked about the opportunities that could be open to the school pupils if they pursued STEM, as well as the effect that going to university had on their lives. The experience was enormously positive, with 78% of the school pupils saying that the talks made them more interested in working or studying in STEM-related fields. Dilshad is currently working on increasing the impact of the programme, both by increasing the number of Imperial alumni involved, and by sharing the idea with other universities.