Supporting inclusion through School internship

by Liana Ahmed

Last summer I was given the incredible opportunity to intern with the School of Physics and  Astronomy’s Equality and Diversity (E&D) team to develop their new website and wiki.

As this was my first ever job as a developer, I came into it not really knowing what to expect. Being a bisexual woman of colour, however, I understood the sheer importance of having a strong E&D presence in any institution, especially when it involves a field that has traditionally lacked diversity. Therefore, it was truly refreshing to see how much the School’s team were taking direct responsibility to change this fact.

So, after the first day my end goal was clear – I was to create an invaluable resource for all staff and students; which reflected the strong passion and care of the School’s E&D team. I wanted to make sure that it was somewhere that not only gave you important information about the University’s services and policies regarding E&D, but also somewhere that you can learn more about the subject. I wanted to make sure that every single person who visited the website felt welcomed, safe and acknowledged.

The process for achieving this goal ended up being a welcome challenge. While actually developing the website was fairly straightforward, I had never had the experience of properly planning and documenting a project myself before. Having this much independence was something I was not used to, but gave me a crucial sense of confidence in my work that I had previously lacked. However, when I did require help I had access to incredible supervisors who were able to support me in every way I needed. At no point did I feel like an intern, but more like a valued and equal member of the team.

Being able to speak to others first hand through communities such as the Disabled Students Association, and those I met during usability testing gave me a deeper understanding of how essential these services can be for those with protected characteristics. Hearing from a variety of School staff and students that this was a service they could see themselves using and sharing with others, helped confirm that I was able to achieve what I had set out to do. In the end, I felt incredibly proud of the work I had done.

If you are considering applying for a 2020 Employ.ed E&D internship the School of Physics and Astronomy, I could not recommend it more. It is a great opportunity to be doing the type of work that can really help make a difference for the people around you.

Liana is currently study for a BSc in Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science.

The deadline for the University’s Employ.ed on Campus internships is 23 February 2020.

Check out the School’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion webpages.

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