UCL News


Seven Questions with Sasha Bradshaw

19 March 2019

Sasha is a third-year Biological Sciences student, specialising in Genetics. Last year she was a Transition Mentor, helping new first year students integrate into life at UCL. This year, she is a Senior Mentor, responsible for guiding new Transition Mentors.

Sasha Bradshaw

Why are you interested in Genetics and what do you plan to do in the future?

My main degree is in Biological Sciences, with a speciality pathway in Genetics. In my first year, we had only one introductory module in Genetics, which I remember being the most interesting out of all my first year modules, but also the most challenging. Because of this, I decided to choose the Genetics pathway in my second year, as I have a long history of trying to challenge myself academically.

The reason I love Genetics now though is because I have come to realise that it is relevant to everybody. People are narcissistic at some level, and everyone can find something interesting to them in this field, whether that be genetic diseases, genes that explain the way we look or the way we behave. In essence, this is the study of why we are the way we are, and for this reason there will always be active research prospects in it. I think this is immensely fascinating, and after my MSci I hope to undergo a PhD in an area of genetics. I am unsure as yet in which area, but because I am currently writing my Literature Review Dissertation on breast cancer genetics I might continue along that pathway.

What is the most interesting thing you’ve done, seen or got involved with while at UCL?

One of the best things I have done in my time at UCL is being part of the Transition Mentor Scheme. As a Transition Mentor you have to bridge the gap between giving new students the type of advice they would get from friends and peers, and the advice which you would get from academics such as your Personal Tutor or Head of Department. In addition to helping answer academic questions about modules or tips for revision and exams, you’re also there to help them integrate into life at a university in London!

Studying at a London campus is a lot different to a closed campus somewhere else in the country – the whole city is at your fingertips. This includes all the social aspects, such as the best places to eat in and around campus, what to do for a fun night out, and being able to easily get around the whole city. It was an amazing experience to be able to build up such a positive rapport with my first-year students, with a lot of them knowing that even after the scheme had ended they could still look up to me as a more experienced student to help them. Being a Senior Mentor was extremely rewarding as well, as I could use all the experience I gained from being a Transition Mentor and pass this onto the new mentors this year.

Have you discovered any ‘hidden gems’ during your time at UCL?

This probably isn’t going to be hidden for much longer with the popularity of the new Student Centre, but sitting on the terrace with a coffee in hand makes for some really lovely views of the BT Tower, Cruciform and the Portico. It’s the perfect place to meet a friend for a quick catch-up and a break from your work, and if you go from about 5‒5:30pm this time of year, the colour of the sky won’t disappoint you.

Give us your top three things to do/see/go to in London

One of my favourite things about London is the fact that you can try food from pretty much every continent in the world. Camden Market will always be one of my favourite places for street food, as they always have different and quirky pop-up stalls at different times of the year. Another great thing about London is the endless amount of free stuff you can do! Despite London being notoriously expensive for social life, there are hundreds of free museums to go to (does anyone ever really get sick of a trip to the Natural History Museum?), and Regent’s Park is always very beautiful and a great place to go to in the summer.

If you were Provost for the day, what one thing would you do?

Slash tuition fees and accommodation fees.

Who inspires you and why?

I get inspiration from a lot of different friends in my life. I know many women who provide me with unwavering support and belief in my abilities, and who push me to be the best person I can be. I have friends who get up at 5:30am to go to the gym before work and then work a 12 hour day without complaining, people who show kindness to those that have been less than kind to them in the past, people who spend eight hours a day in the library, are part of sports teams and have mentoring roles but still find time to meet you for a catch-up in their busy schedule. I believe these are the qualities that make you a well-rounded person. One of my dear friends always tells me that “you are the product of the five people you spend most of your time with” and I try to keep that at the back of my mind at all times.

What would it surprise people to know about you?

If you didn’t already know me, it would probably be quite surprising to hear that I have performed martial arts for 13 years, and that I am a third Duan black belt in one style (Tang Sou Dao) and a black stripe in another (TAGB and BSTF Taekwondo). Most people are quite shocked when they hear this, which I can only accept as a compliment as I suppose this means I have a friendly and unassuming demeanour. It is rather nice knowing that I have this somewhat “secret weapon”.

Apply to be a Transition Mentor 

Transition Mentors provide peer support during the autumn term to new first-year undergraduate students in their degree programme. 

If you are interested in applying for this paid role, please view the job description below. If you have been a Transition Mentor in the role previously, you are eligible to become a Senior Mentor.

Applications for the programme open on Monday 25 March and close on Friday 10 May 2019. 

Please use this online application form to apply. 

For more information please visit the Transition mentors page.