Speaker Profile: Laura


Name: Laura Maxwell
Course (and Year): Psychology BSc (2nd year)
Presentation Topic: The Ukuthemba Project

Tell us a little bit more about your presentation.
The presentation outlines the project and takes the audience through the journey that the project has come on and my role within it.

Why did you choose to take part in this project / take on this role?
I decided to become part of the project as I am a rape survivor myself and wanted to be part of such an important project which would be taking real steps to end rape. I took on the role of project coordinator as I know the project really intimately and have relationships with our contacts in South Africa.

What has been the best part of your student engagement experience so far?
Going to South Africa has been the best experience of my life, let alone my student engagement experience. It was such an enlightening few weeks and an incredible country.

What would you say is the most important thing you have learned?
The most important thing I’ve learned is that projects take a lot of time and it’s really important to talk to your beneficiaries to ensure that you are not inflicting your personal view on them. It is important to challenge your assumptions as they’re not always true.

How have co-/extra-curricular opportunities enriched and broadened your degree?
The project has really allowed me to broadened my understanding of people within different context, and why they have their differing opinions. Additionally, it’s allowed me to conduct real life research which is obviously useful experience for a psychology degree.

How has getting involved in co-/extra-curricular activities at university helped you with future career goals?
I aspire to work within and eventually set up my charity or social enterprise. I now have real world experience which sets me above many other people who want to work in charities. Also, I understand the issues with finance that many charities face and have create solutions to deal with this, which is fundamental for the sustainability for NGOs.

Why is the University of Leeds such a good choice for student engagement?
There are over 250 societies at Leeds offering many different things. Within volunteering there are countless opportunities. RAG is huge at Leeds offering many different local and international projects. If someone is looking to set up their own, more sustainable project, Enactus offers many options for volunteering.

Why should every student get engaged at Leeds?
As we’re told so often, a degree isn’t enough anymore and it’s important to have experience in other areas. Also it’s really nice to do something outside of your degree just to add some variety in your life. It’s also fantastic to have an impact in the world around through different projects and experiences.


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