Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) students in the sciences were the focus of a two-hour takeover show on Ujima Radio on Friday, June 28.
UWE Bristol students Sofia Aftab, Hena Rashid and Sheikh (Umar) Qadir ran the show and were joined by radio DJ Miranda Rae and Dr Emmanuel Adukwu, senior lecturer in Biomedical Science at the university.
Hena and Sofia are recent graduates of Biomedical Science and Umar is a fifth-year student doing a PhD in the same subject. Starting at 2pm, the students spoke about their experiences as BAME students in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) and the lack of diversity within the study area.
Each student had a different experience to bring. Sofia grew up in the UK whereas Hena lived in Bangladesh before moving to the UK for A Levels.
“Diversity is good,” said Hena. “Everyone is good at something. You need to see yourself represented in order to know that, whatever you’re good at.”
Dr Emmanuel Aduwku was able to contrast the contemporary experiences of the students to his own, having begun his UK study journey over 15 years ago, in 2002. “Apart from engineering, the other STEM subjects haven’t really moved on in the UK since I was studying.
“People want to see role models that look like them. BAME people can bring different perspectives to the biomedical sciences too as different ethnicities have different diseases.”
He is also the co-ordinator of UWE Africa Network and Africa Week and spoke about UWE Bristol’s aim to be increasingly inclusive of BAME students, leading the way for other universities across the country to follow, saying that UWE Bristol is “paving the way”.
Miranda Rae, who supported the takeover, asked whether the students found diversity in higher education to still be an issue.
“There’s a lack of role models,” said Umar. “To see someone at your level is inspirational and we don’t always have that.”
Sofia agreed, saying: “People could be missing out on receiving the best treatments due to prejudices in STEM.”
It was revealed the the two-hour takeover was in fact a pilot for a potential collaborative project between Ujima Radio and UWE Bristol. There is hope for the radio takeover to be continued monthly by BAME students who are studying STEM, following the success of Friday’s show.