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An invaluable privilege: My time as Student Representative – Emma Kinley

Emma Kinley, second year PhD student with the Centre, based at the University of Edinburgh, writes about her experience of being Student Representative 2020 -2021

Headshot of Emma Kinley
Emma Kinley, Student Rep for the Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research 2020-2021

From February 2020 to February 2021, I had the privilege of being the Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research (AUKCAR) student representative. The role of AUKCAR Student Rep includes acting as a line of communication between the Centre and the student team. I attended AUKCAR Centre Management Committee meetings to contribute on behalf of the students and I planned and organised events for the PhD students.

A closer view of how the Centre works

The role of being Student Rep gave me invaluable opportunities and insight into the inner workings of the Centre. The multidisciplinary working of the Centre Management Committee meetings enhanced my understanding of how large research groups work and communicate effectively. I will be taking this forward into my own practice and research. It increased my confidence in putting my opinions forward to the group. I was able to think critically about decisions which will not only benefit myself and my research, but on behalf of the whole student group. The role also provided me with opportunities to meet, work and network with other members of the Centre. Albeit remote and online, these were especially welcomed during the COVID-19 era!

Being the AUKCAR student rep during COVID-19 did not come without its challenges. I’m a very social person so one of the most exciting aspects of the role for me was to organise and plan events for the students. This way, we could get together and share updates on our research. This was particularly challenging during COVID-19 and lockdown. But the student group have remained in contact throughout the pandemic, offering support and advice wherever we can as a team. We hope that the easing of restrictions will soon allow us to make up for lost time!

Monthly Research Seminars

A major positive from my time as Student Rep was the creation and organisation of the AUKCAR Monthly Research Seminars. Working fellow PhD students and the comms team, we established the monthly sessions for Centre members. These gave the PhD students an opportunity to present their research to the AUKCAR network. As well as presenting, the students also have the opportunity to chair and moderate the sessions. These sessions have been well received by the Centre. The students could share their progress and receive positive and constructive feedback on their work at the same time.

An invaluable experience

I thoroughly enjoyed my experience as AUKCAR student representative. It gave me invaluable opportunities to enhance my personal and research skills. I loved working with so many approachable and knowledgeable members. I will take this forward, not only into completing my PhD project, but future roles. The whole process confirmed (what we already knew!) of what an exceptional research group AUKCAR is. I know the students will be in great hands with our new AUKCAR Student Representatives, Jasmine Hine & Mats Stage-Baxter – what a team! And last but not least, a big thank you to Kat Jordan (Deputy Student Rep Feb 2020-Feb 2021)! It has been a pleasure working closely with you this past year!

Emma's profile