Who is Jim McStravick? Three words to best describe you…
Caring, imaginative, and honest.
What life lesson have you learnt from the pandemic?
It is important that we think not only of ourselves but our impact on other people.
How would you explain your work to a young person?
I take pictures of people's brains to help scientists find causes and, hopefully, treatments for diseases.
Tell us something about yourself that would surprise us?
Despite being a pagan I have previously qualified as Christian lay preacher.
What’s your faith background? How did you grow up?
My maternal grandfather was a Presbyterian Minister, but because of my father’s Irish roots I was baptised Roman Catholic. By the time I was in my early teens I was an atheist, until, during my first study for a Master’s degree I experienced a mental collapse. Then I tried to find my spiritual way, became a church Elder, trained as a lay preacher, and supported my local university chaplain.
However, these were only steps on the path. The councils of my church made decisions which I disagreed with in extremis and we parted. Again searching for direction I found I needed to undertake more reflection, and weighed several philosophies. Finally I walked among the polytheistic pagan gods of the Norse, and have found deep spiritual satisfaction with this for 25 years.
How does your faith impact your citizenship of UCL?
I recognise that many people need to find a way to feed their spiritual side. I understand that often their exposure is only to a faith of upbringing. However, particularly for students, university is a place to question, learn, and thus develop. So, although mine is not a proselytising faith, I am always happy to discuss what I have experienced.
What is your highest aspiration for interfaith cooperation at UCL?
If we each share our little bits of the map of faith perhaps we can each adjust our journey through the world to become more fulfilled.