UCL Engineering


Meet our UCL Engineering Student Tutors: Sebastian Rudden, Engineering (Biochemical) BEng

8 February 2021

As our UCL Engineering student tutor series continues, we next hear from Biochemical Engineering student Sebastian, who says tutoring involves being "a sort of STEM role model", and has even played the violin during his tutoring sessions!

Sebastian Rudden, UCL Biochemical Engineering student and UCL Engineering student tutor

What does being a UCL Engineering student tutor involve?  

In one sense, meeting with your tutee [from an east London primary or secondary school] once a week for about 90 mins to work on a STEM topic of their choice, but you would have needed to put in about half that time (45 mins) or more, at least a day in advance to prepare. However, it is also about encouraging and inspiring your tutee to be the best they can be - being a sort of STEM role model. 

How has being a student tutor helped you? 

Improved patience, better capacity to adapt and try new methods when one doesn't work, enhanced time management, and a real sense of satisfaction when my tutees finally grasp the topic. 

What's the best thing about being a student tutor? 

The moment when my tutee really understands a concept after struggling with it for a while. 

To be a great tutor you really need to be dedicated to the people you're teaching, and what you're doing, for its own sake." 

How has COVID-19 impacted upon your tutoring? 

Not being able to teach face-to-face has some disadvantages (like not being able to gauge engagement as well) but the increased flexibility in my schedule and the removal of transport time has allowed me to tutor four times the number that I would have been able to do! It's also helped me adapt to new tools (e.g. teaching with a virtual whiteboard). 

What advice would you give to students considering taking part in tutoring/mentoring programmes? 

Ensure that teaching is something you truly love. If you just want some financial improvement or experience for your CV, there are plenty of other opportunities. To be a great tutor you really need to be dedicated to the people you're teaching, and what you're doing, for its own sake. 

Why are such tutoring programmes needed?

I won't go through all the statistics, but there are many disadvantaged students (and this has been exacerbated by the pandemic) that have great potential, but just need some extra support and encouragement. However, they often can't afford/don't think of personal tutoring, and that's where we come in.  

Tell us something funny, unexpected or really special that has happened during your tutoring sessions?  

I played Happy Birthday on violin for one of my tutees' birthday! 

UCL Engineering student tutors are featured on page 6 of the UCL East Engagement Report 2019/20.

With thanks to Dr Elpida Makrygianni and Garance Mourgaud. 



  • Credit: Sebastian Rudden. 

Watch: What is Biochemical Engineering?


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