International Planning and Sustainable Development MA, 2017
A Commonwealth Scholar, Reasat obtained his MA in International Planning and Sustainable Development (Urban Resilience Pathway) with distinction at the University of Westminster. Following graduation, as a passionate development practitioner, he is combining the knowledge and skills gained at the University to contribute towards reducing urban poverty in Bangladesh. While Reasat’s work spans across many areas, he is focusing on solid waste management and fire prevention mechanisms in informal urban settlements.
As a technical expert on urban development at BRAC (the world’s largest NGO), Reasat noted that fires in urban slums are frequent; low-income communities living in these settlements are at high risk as they lack both knowledge and adequate support to prevent or respond to such disasters. In response, through his programme, he has piloted a fire prevention mechanism that is currently being replicated in 20 cities across Bangladesh. This mechanism involves a holistic approach to tackle fire through co-creating fire prevention solutions through testing different prototypes by introducing innovative technical intervention, training firefighting volunteers among the slum dwellers, developing materials and animated film for instigating fire prevention practices and establishing a strong relationship between the slum dwellers and the government institutions like the Fire Service & Civil Defence. Furthermore, he has helped train 400 volunteers from within these communities. The success of his mechanism was evident when two urban slums stopped the fire from spreading and prevented the loss of more than 1500 households and 5000 dwellers.
At the same time, waste management is a serious challenge in Bangladesh’s informal urban settlements that have insufficient local government financial resources and comes with big costs for public health. Reasat worked on setting up a waste disposal management system that acts as a common platform between low-income communities and local governments to collaborate on waste management. Among other priorities, the system targets better recycling practices, behavioural change and creation of green jobs for low-income communities. Till date, Reasat’s project has helped 50,000 low-income people living in urban slums and is being replicated in five cities across Bangladesh.
Contemporary Media Practice BA Honours, 2016
After graduating in 2016, Alexandra applied to stay in the United Kingdom through the competitive Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa. Upon receiving one of only six visas allotted, Alexandra founded Queerly Beloved, an events organisation hosting film screenings and performances featuring LGBT+ and feminist works, with the aim of creating a safe and engaging space to be challenged and educated through art and community. Between February 2017 and May 2018, Alexandra organised and hosted 10 events across London venues.
Simultaneously, she worked full time for Little Dot Studios, a next-generation media company producing digital content for branded entertainment. In less than two years, Alexandra moved from video editor to a creative management role, overseeing a team of editors and liaising with clients such as Warner Brothers, NBCUniversal, and Mattel. Her work has earned the company multiple 100k and 1m subscriber plaques for various clients.
Alexandra has also been actively involved with the LGBT+ media community, writing occasionally for DIVA magazine, including a full article on found families in the queer community.
Going forward, she’ll continue working with Little Dot’s biggest clients to engage communities in online and digital spaces. While Queerly Beloved events are currently in hiatus, Alexandra is furthering other projects including academic and creative writing, coding, and discovering and optimising new platforms for engagement and storytelling.
Quantity Surveying and Commercial Management BSc, 2017
“Write a dissertation that will go beyond the walls of this University” Anjali was told. She wrote a dissertation to understand the perception the y-generation holds of construction to address the skills and labour shortages. One year on since her first presentation on her dissertation Anjali has become a role model for the industry, working with those at senior levels to bring change. She has become a model alumnus to future students wanting to break barriers in roles not seen as stereotypical to their profiles. The faculty nominated her for the Constructors Prize from the Worshipful Company of Constructors, which she won, gained admission as a Yeoman, now sitting on diversity and youth committees.
Anjali’s passion for educating the industry on her research stemmed from personal experiences as a young Asian female and belief that the growing minority needs to be given a voice – one which she constantly challenges herself to be. The strength of her research became validated when she was asked to write for Construction News and Construction Manager. Furthermore, she has presented her findings and personal experiences at panels across the UK i.e. BIM Region London events, UK Construction Week, London Build Expo & Willmott Dixon (WDC) Supply Chain Workshops. At her tender age she has delivered CPD’s for the CIOB.
Anjali collaborates with other industries, recently working with PwC. Her story is used during school and workforce presentations by organisations such as WDC and Association of Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers to help inspire new entrants with construction. In 2018, Anjali took up the following roles; Women in Construction Ambassador, CIOB Novus Committee Member, Education Ambassador and BAME representative for the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) and Inclusion Role Model for WDC. She was a Highly Commended UK Construction Week 2018 Role Model voted by school children. Anjali took part in NAWIC’s Image of Women in Construction project, where she visually represented her culture and career in a series of portraits to inspire BAME’s.
Helping others comes naturally to Anjali, and she often volunteers on weekends away to help share knowledge with the next generation, an example being teaching Taekwondo. She has taken a step to changing stereotypes of careers not seen to be ‘representative’ of success / ‘for certain genders’, within ethnic minority groups, becoming a role model for young professionals not just in the construction industry.