A new online access initiative called aim: access, inspire, mobilise has been launched this summer to inspire students from under-represented ethnic backgrounds to apply confidently to the University knowing that Cambridge is a place with people like them. The initiative collates the different experiences of current students from under-represented ethnic backgrounds, alongside a social media campaign with student takeovers and live videos from events across the University.
aim would not have been possible without the leadership, ingenuity and teamwork of Catz undergraduates. Tsemaye Uwejamomere (2018, Engineering) came up with the idea based on her first-hand experience of access programmes: both as a prospective student with questions and concerns, and more recently as a student ambassador working to demystify what it’s like to study at Cambridge.
Tsemaye comments, “Before I applied to Catz, I was academically ambitious but believed that Cambridge wouldn’t provide spaces where I could feel welcome or thrive. I was fortunate that activities run by Target Oxbridge were accessible to me and could allay my fears. However, these activities and others like it can only reach a certain number of prospective students so I wanted to do more to ensure more applicants from under-represented ethnic backgrounds feel inspired to pursue a place at Cambridge.”
As part of her student ambassador responsibilities, Tsemaye found herself often answering the same questions from prospective students. She started to put plans in place for a new website that could provide an approachable and accessible way to share these honest answers all year round.
Tsemaye has brought together a talented group of students from across the College and the wider University, who worked together to successfully launch the initiative. Five other Catz students have volunteered their time: Karujan Jeyaseelan (2019, Engineering), Nikita Kamath (2018, Engineering), Tai Kirby (2017, Engineering), Kazal Oshodi (2019, Engineering) and Danielle Wright (2019, Land Economy).
Danielle adds, “It is great that Tsemaye has involved a mix of perspectives on the team because the range of cultures and experiences represented by students at Cambridge is incredibly diverse and vibrant. We hope to inspire students from under-represented ethnic backgrounds to feel confident applying Cambridge by demystifying what student life is really like here and to encourage others to feel a sense of belonging like we have.”
Dr Holly Canuto, Senior Tutor, comments, “As a community committed to widening participation, I am sure everyone at St Catharine’s will want to join me in congratulating Tsemaye and the wider team on the launch of this impressive access initiative. They have been so thoughtful in how they have gone about creating what I am sure will be an invaluable resource for prospective students. I’d encourage Tutors and Directors of Studies to take a look and recommend the website to any students from under-represented ethnic backgrounds.”
aim has been developed to support prospective students before and during the application process, but Tsemaye and the team hope that the insights on offer will also be helpful for Freshers and enable them to feel more at home in their first term. Future plans for the initiative include activities specifically designed for international students and postgraduate students.
The aim team have appreciated the ongoing support of Kathryn Singleton, the College’s Schools Liaison Officer, throughout the initiative’s development. They also wanted to thank the Inside Uni team and the University of Cambridge’s Admissions team and Office of External Affairs and Communications for all their advice, as well as Chloe Caron, an undergraduate engineer at Trinity College, for providing server access to host the new website.
Find out more
Twitter: aim Cambridge
LinkedIn: aim Cambridge
YouTube: aim Cambridge