Tuesday 26th November 2019 was the second annual World Access to Higher Education Day. In the College of Medical and Dental Sciences we took the opportunity to mark the day by celebrating the success of our staff and students and to raise the profile of our outreach and widening participation activities.
We invited members of staff who were in the first generation in their family to go university to share their experiences and to let us know what access to higher education has meant to them. Francesca Yates senior trial coordinated said “University meant everything to me, it meant that I could pursue science and academia and I’ve ended up with the best job in the world – I now work in cancer research!”
Professor Prem Kumar, Director of the Institute of Clinical Sciences shared that “Going to university as the first in my family enabled me to achieve things that I didn’t even know were things to achieve when I set out on the journey from my comprehensive school in Felixstowe to where I am today. One of the main ‘things’ I wasn’t aware of was the ability that a university education would give for me to make a difference to people other than myself.”
Dee Lai, Medical Laboratory Assistant said “My parents were not educated in their countries of origin (China & Hong Kong), so they were unable to tell me what it would be like to get into University. I felt a huge sense of pride to know that all the hours spent studying at 6th Form College paid off – I was offered a place at Warwick University! The 3 years that followed were like lessons in both life and learning, with triumphs and tribulations along the way. All I can say it felt like a foundation to even greater opportunities in both personal and professional development.”
Many staff and students came to our stand in the foyer of the Medical School to find out more about our activities and to sign-up as a volunteer to help with future events. Staff and students who were in the first generation in their family to go to university were presented with a limited edition #1stGen badge and it has been fantastic to see them wearing them with pride ever since. With the on-going success of our outreach and widening participation programmes we hope that our celebration of World Access to Higher Education Day will get bigger and bigger each year.