UCL News


Seven Questions with... Shail Bhatt

17 January 2020

This week MSci Cell Biology student Shail Bhatt shares his experience taking part in UCL’s Global Citizenship Programme and as a student quality reviewer where he worked in partnership with staff to improve teaching at UCL.

Shail Bhatt

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

I'm currently studying MSci Cell Biology and I chose it because I find it fascinating that there's so much to explore within us.

It's unlike fields like astronomy, where we don't know what's beyond a certain area. Here, we know what we are, what we do, and that we are finite; yet the reactions and processes in our body are so intricate, they form a universe of their own. We have diseases whose pathologies we don't know. We don't know how they take effect, and it's a gargantuan task trying to find therapies for them.

I am really interested in trying to uncover some of these mechanisms during my MSci and afterwards try and look at the other side to find potential cures with a PhD or on the industrial side with a pharma company.

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

I think being a part of the student politics at UCL is one of the most enriching things I’ve done. From being a lead academic rep to a student communication assistant at the SU, it’s allowed me to meet so many people and help make a change.

I became a Student Quality Reviewer, which meant going into different departments and auditing them, talking to the students, and coming up with ideas in which the department can improve. Doing this was exhilarating, because I was looking at the management from the inside and helping fine-tune the cogs of UCL!

Become a student reviewer of teaching

Apart from this, I think the UCL Global Citizenship Programme was a great opportunity as well, as I got to explore the real world applications of topics that I studied.

Apply for the UCL Global Citizenship Programme

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

There are so many! The SSEES and Chandler House study spaces are definitely some of the most underrated.

Taking part in the psychology researches at UCL, and Birkbeck is a great way to earn money and at the same time have fun playing games.

But more importantly, the tunnel under the Anatomy Building that leads to the Rockefeller Building is a gem that has saved me from facing rain and cold.

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

London is an absolute theme park, and each street has something unique, but my favourite things to do would be:

  1. Go to Camden Market and pig out at the Cheese Wheel or the Cereal Killer Café, and then walk along the Camden Lock all the way to Coal Drops Yard! In the summer, it’s heavenly to chill there on the beanbags.
  2. Go to the top of the Tate Modern! It’s got a great view, and there’s a neat little café up there.
  3. Go to a speakeasy! These are incredible pubs and bars hidden in plain sight. Cahoots is one of them and it’s this 1940s tube station converted to a pub, and the vibe is AWESOME.

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

The first thing I would do is approve any construction for the creation of bigger lecture theatres, and lecture theatres with more charging points and desks. I'd also fund an underground network connecting all the buildings, like IOE or School of Pharmacy or Royal Free, which would be revolutionary #UCLunderground.

Who inspires you and why?

I think inspiration comes from the people around you and who you surround yourself with. My parents and my family are my biggest pillars of strength and the way they've tackled life's hurdles is truly inspiring. My friends allow me to stay passionate about things I love and they motivate me to enjoy the little things.

What would it surprise people to know about you?

I love hip-hop and I write and produce rap songs. I believe everyone needs their own way of catharsis, and to me that's writing lyrics and making beats. I think UCL has allowed me to meet like-minded people with whom I can vibe to and collaborate with, especially the Hip-Hop/R&B society.