Spotlight on... Ayesha Khan
20 February 2020
Ayesha, who recently launched the new UCLcares platform, is Communications and Projects Adviser at UCL Student Support and Wellbeing. Here, she chats to us about introducing therapy dogs to campus life and being invited to attend Buckingham Palace.
What is your role and what does it involve?
I work in the Development, Communications and Projects team within Student Support and Wellbeing, helping to promote support services and wellbeing events to all students.
I also undertake graphics design for the department and manage UCLcares' social media channels, as well as recruiting student writers and getting content up on our new UCLcares platform!
In my role I’ve also been able to try my hand at some photography, video directing and as a team we organise student enrolment in September and January.
How long have you been at UCL and what was your previous role?
I’ve been in my current role at UCL for just over 18 months, but this would be my third role at UCL since I finished my Master's here in 2017. Previously, I led on research communications and digital media in the NHS, reporting on all the great biomedical research undertaken at UCLH.
What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?
In taking on a short-term secondment project looking at communications across UCL, I was able to see some missing links between communications colleagues and how there was scope to collaborate more effectively to refine student communications.
I have recently been able to get a group of colleagues from across different central teams together, to form the Student Communications Editorial Board.
In meeting regularly, we are able to share messages we’re sending out each month and discuss how we can build more effective campaigns across all UCL channels. Although it’s early days for the group, it seems to be working well!
I also led on getting therapy dogs on campus to relieve stress and anxiety – staff and students love them!
Tell us about a project you are working on now which is top of your to-do list?
I have recently built and just launched the new UCLcares platform, which will host articles, videos and podcasts on how students can look after themselves and others while at university.
Going forward, I’m looking to promote the platform as widely as possible via staff and student channels, as well as getting students on board to write some great content.
The platform allows us to host content in a new way, as each theme is aligned to the NHS ‘five ways of wellbeing’. These themes are evidence-based in gestures towards maintaining and improving general mental health and wellbeing. Presenting information in themes will make it easier for students to navigate.
What is your favourite album, film and novel?
Album: Wild Rivers by Wild Rivers
Film: Seven pounds – get the tissues ready, there will be tears!
Novel: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand – a story of incredible human resilience and survival
Who would be your dream dinner guest/s?
Rajiv Surendra, most famously known as Kevin G from ‘Mean Girls’ – hear me out on this one! In failing to secure a career in the world of acting, Rajiv pursued other hobbies, namely calligraphy. He is now a well-known full-time chalk artist, doing what he loves in New York. His work in incredible to say the least!
What advice would you give your younger self?
For all the paths that lead to failures and successes, you will only ever be where you are meant to be.
What would it surprise people to know about you?
I’ve just completed my Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award and have been invited to attend Buckingham Palace! The Award was 18 months in the making, from trekking a combined total of 180km across Dartmoor and the Peak District to falling in rivers, community volunteering and teaching myself brush calligraphy – safe to say, it’s been quite the adventure!
What is your favourite place?
Nothing beats an afternoon walk along the White Cliffs of Dover with a camera to hand. The amazing landscape and seeing Europe’s busiest ferry port in action just makes it an incredible location.