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SU Officer Elections: Meet the Postgraduate Education Officer Candidates

Voting for next year's SU officer positions opens tomorrow (Tuesday 13th March). Epigram interviewed the candidates running for the various positions. Meet the people you can vote for as Postgradute Education Officer!

Meet the Candidates:

Epigram / Lucy Downer

Position:Postgraduate Education Officer
Year and Course: Health, Law and Society (Masters of Law)

Why are you the best candidate?
I love Bristol University, which makes me really passionate and dedicated to begin with and I would fulfil my pledges because I’ve thought them through. My goals are realistic and current. I know I’d enjoy the nature of this role and therefore I know I’d do a good job for everyone, postgrad and undergrads alike, I want to be inclusive to everybody. Being a student I know what it’s like to be in this position, I would fight for my pledges and make sure they’re implemented.

One thing you want to see changed throughout university
I would like to see better services for education and mental health. I want everybody to feel supported. A recent survey said 59% of students weren’t happy with the feedback they received on their work, I would push for better quality feedback. Mental health is a current issue, in order to tackle this I would implement sessions that might help (such as mindfulness), across all years for undergrads and postgrads. Essentially I want a better overall experience for everyone which is better value for money for the students (with regards to facilities, and making trips free).

Thing you’ve enjoyed most about Bristol
The students and the friends I’ve met. The course I’m on I have really enjoyed as it’s very varied. I’m from Bristol originally and I know this city well.

Favourite Bristol night out?
Florist on Park Street, it’s fresh, current and forward looking.


Name: Shivangi Agrawal
Position: Postgraduate Education Officer
Year and Course: Economics, Finance, and Management masters (1st Year)

Why are you the best candidate?
I am an international student, and I believe that the majority of Postgraduates are international students too, therefore I can relate to them and problems that they have more, so making me the best candidate for this role.

What is one thing you want to see changed throughout the university?
One thing I want to see changed is education to be made a little more affordable for Postgraduate international students by increasing the availability of funds and grants.

What is the thing you’ve enjoyed the most about Bristol?
The thing I have enjoyed most about Bristol is how vibrant the city is and how much it has to offer. I have found it to be a very friendly city, with event always happening, there is something for every mood!

Favourite Bristol night out?
My favourite night out in Bristol would be sitting with some friends, eating good food and chatting in one of Bristol’s many great restaurants.

Epigram / Will Charley

Name: Shubham Singh
Position: Postgraduate Education officer
Year and Course: Masters in Gender and International Relations

Why are you the best candidate?
I believe that I am the best candidate because I have a realistic viewpoint. Unlike others, I will know what is achievable, and I am capable of finding the right balance between what can be done now and what should be done later. Fundamentally, I have a vision that is realistic in what you can achieve in one year. As well as this, I have a good understanding of the university structures, allowing me to know when to provide constructive criticism and on balance, when to stay silent. This means that I can get things done.

One thing you want to see change throughout the university
I would like to bring about more structural change at the university that would increase support for international students. So far this year, I have already generated an increase in the number of international scholarships that are granted by the University from zero places to twenty-six. If I was to win, I would aim to further increase the number of Scholarships from those twenty-six places to fifty, doubling my current work.

Thing you’ve enjoyed most about Bristol
What I have enjoyed most about Bristol is that it is very calm, pleasant, and just generally quite quiet. I am from a country that is the opposite and is very busy and noisy. Being in Bristol is a very significant, but pleasant change from living in India. Bristol is very relaxing.

Favourite Bristol night out
I would have to say that my favourite night out is Lizard Lounge, it’s iconic.

Epigram / Lucy Downer

Name: Conor O’shea
Position: Postgraduate Education Officer
Year and Course:Part-time sociology master student – finish in September

Why are you the best candidate?
I think that there are lot of good candidates, the field looks good. What I think I have are the ideas, attitude and ethos to make better the university better for post graduate and all university students. In terms of ideas, I propose a new strategy for networking students, not a traditional model but an informal social networking approach. In terms of attitude, I am bolshy and not scared of anyone. In terms of ethos, I’m a hard-worker. I have been working hard since my undergraduate 3 years ago. I believe that anyone who does a Masters and research knows its hard work. I am community minded – lots of links e.g. Bristol s labour party, Cosmic soul collective – music and art

One thing you would change at university?
My main idea is to address one of the big problems as postgraduate, especially pg who are parents, carers workers etc. – in terms of how do they experience university and social life?
I want guidance and leadership in place to help them informally network – This is the main thing wanted as 1/3 of postgraduates, especially part-timers, feel that they are not part of the university community. I believe that better communities lead to better mental health.

Think you’ve enjoyed most about Bristol
The staff are really good. In a Masters or PHD you are looking for good staff. The research is inspiring. Also, it’s the people that make it and keep you here and get you through the hard work.

Favourite Bristol Night out?
Either Stokes Croft or Kings Street depending on my mood as they are quite wildly different!

Epigram / Jecca Powell

Name: Lea Hampton-O’Neil
Position: Postgraduate Education Officer
Year and Course: PhD in Cell Biology, 4th Year

Why are you the best candidate?
I’d say because I know the SU really well; I could hit the ground running. I’m also someone who’s really committed to change, and I want to bring in a huge change when it comes to mental health for postgraduates.

On my JCR committee, I introduced a huge overhaul in terms of how mental health was dealt with. People were treated much better and could actually get help and more personalised tutoring.

So I’m committed to change, and I know the SU, and, therefore, I would actually be able to make the changes I wanted.

One thing you want to see changed throughout university
One thing that really bothers me is that you hear so many tales from PhD students who tell you about their horrible supervisors, and how they're being mistreated. And they’ve complained to the school and the school hasn’t done anything about it because they're academics so its hard to do anything.

Students just suffer. And I feel that if you’re paying fees and you’re doing a PhD which is already quite hard, you don't want to be impacted by this terrible supervisor relationship.

I would conduct a review into how each school deals with things like that, in the hope of being able to change it for the better and ensure that students are actually well treated.

Thing you’ve enjoyed most about Bristol
I guess what I love is the fact that there’s such a great city and such a link between the city and the University. There’s always something to do, and it means that you’re never really bored.
I’ve loved my whole 4 years here; I’ve met great people, and I would recommend that everyone moves to Bristol!

Favourite Bristol night out?
Most of the time I go to OMG on a Wednesday student night. But I’d say that some of my best nights have actually been at Lounge (when I’ve randomly ended up there).

The election night results will be celebrated on Friday at 6.30pm in the Balloon Bar.

Feature image credit: Bristol