Student representatives

What are student representatives for?

The SWBio DTP Student Representatives are the voice of the SWBio DTP students across the partnership. Their role is to feedback ideas, issues and concerns on behalf of the students to the host institution, and the partnership.

What are the main roles?

The main roles of the Student Representatives are:

  • To seek out feedback, ideas and any arising issues from their student colleagues.
  • To represent the SWBio DTP student community at the SWBio DTP Implementation Group and External Advisory Group.
  • To inform you of the outcomes of these meetings.
  • To organise the Student-led Retreat.
  • Taught Student Rep: To represent the taught year SWBio DTP student community by meeting with the External Examiner and attending our Taught Year Annual Programme Review meeting.

What sort of things can I approach the student representatives about?

You can approach the student representatives with your views about any aspect of your programme. However, if you are a first year student and it is in relation to your taught first year, please contact the taught year representative.

The student representatives are not expected to deal with personal issues, formal procedures such as appeals, complaints or hearings, or welfare issues such as accommodation, health, employment and finance.  You will need to contact the relevant people within your institution to help you with these queries. Your Student Rep may be able to point you in the direction of these services.

Who are the student representatives?

We have student representatives who represent:

  • students at each of our DTP core partner institutions (Bath, Bristol, Cardiff, Exeter, Rothamsted).  
  • students based with our Associate Partner institutions (MBA, PML, Swansea, UWE). 
  • first year students undertaking the taught year across the partnership.
  • international students across the partnership.  

We also have a dedicated Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Student Champion to represent this important area across the partnership.

*Please note, we will be updating this webpage shortly when we receive details for the remaining student representatives*

Jennika Bates

Nick Cherbanich

Lucie Tkacova

Callum Teeling

Tash Brock

EDI Champion
Raghini Rajaram

International Students
Afsal Ayoob Khan

Taught Year and Associate Partner Students
Selina Diether

EDI Student Support Champions

In addition to our EDI Champions, we also have our EDI Student Support Champions. These students help us support students from diverse backgrounds in a more informal capacity, providing a friendly ear and sharing their experiences with their fellow students. If you identify within one of the following spaces and would like to have a chat with a fellow student, please do reach out using the contact details below.

Marvellous Arabambi

Supporting Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students

My name is Marvellous and my PhD is in the field of computational chemistry, where I am studying the fluctuations and conformational changes of enzymes. I am based in Bristol but grew up in London.

Outside of my PhD, I am a serial hobbyist whose current obsession is crocheting cute gifts for friends and family and keeping up with my 837-day streak on Duolingo. I also have a long-term passion for creating a supportive network and safe spaces for students from Minority Ethnic backgrounds to feel like they can take up space and belong in STEM. My metaphorical door is always open to have a chat.

Ellie Fletcher (she/her)

Supporting students with disabilities

I am a final-year student working in the Life Sciences Building in Bristol. I am a plant scientist, working specifically on the molecular mechanisms behind Golgi movement in cells, and how these mechanisms affect secretion and overall growth.

I have volunteered for the ‘student champion for disability’ role because I am a wheelchair user and understand from a mobility perspective how difficult it can be to work within science, systems and universities which are not accessible. I hope I can offer a friendly ear to any SWBio student who might want to approach me, as making improvements to accessibility is something I’m very passionate about.

Outside of my PhD, I volunteer for a charity in Bristol that carries out access audits for businesses and organisations, in a team alongside others with lived experience of a disability. I also play folk music and enjoy reading.

Natasha Hammond

Supporting mature students

I’m Tasha and I began my PhD in 2021 when I was 35, after a career as a microbiologist that spanned the NHS, commercial contract research and pharmaceuticals. I applied for my project (studying the microbiome and bovine TB in badgers) due to its focus on mycobacteria, as it is my favourite pathogen due to its ability to create diverse disease phenotypes.

Making the transition from an industry professional to a PhD student, and being a little older than the average student, came with a unique set of challenges – many of which I am still navigating! There are lots of things that I wish I had known when I first started this journey, so I applied to be the EDI Student Support Champion for mature students so that I could share what I’ve learned with people in a similar situation.

Dylan Ivory (he/him)

Supporting LGBTQ+ students

I’m a gay trans man in the second year of my PhD. I am based both in Exeter and Bristol, using a mixture of HDX mass spectrometry and molecular dynamics simulations to study conformational dynamics of proteins. Outside of my work I enjoy camping, cooking, gaming, embroidery, and watching cheesy 70s & 80s horror films!

Being LGBTQ+ in research, especially in STEM fields, can be a very lonely experience. In this role, I hope to be a friendly face and an understanding ear for LGBTQ+ students, especially other trans researchers. Exeter is where I both completed my undergraduate studies and started my transition. As such, I have a range of contacts in the southwest and deep familiarity with navigating university systems that I can to share to provide support or expand your LGBTQ+ network. I also hope to support EDI efforts within SWBio by adding a knowledgeable voice to discussions.