Bronwen Eastaugh is a Student Engagement Manager for Queen Mary Students' Union.
I graduated from Queen Mary in 2012 with a BA in Global Change: Environment, Economy and Development. As part of my final year dissertation, I did an action research project with Citizens UK, which was great opportunity for me to build further networks outside of QMUL. Citizens UK liked the research I’d done and actually used some of my data and findings in their reports.
After my project finished, they offered me a part-time role and I carried on working with them, alongside my studies, in my third year. This was a really good way to test out whether this was the type of career I wanted – as well as meet more people and get some relevant experience in that sector.
My first job after graduating was with the Notting Hill Housing Trust, where I spent a year working as a Support Assistant. I then moved on to a job with Queen Mary Students’ Union (QMSU), where I initially worked as a Volunteering Assistant before progressing to the role of Volunteering Coordinator. Most recently I’ve been promoted to the Student Engagement Manager role.
100% volunteering! It helped me to discover my strengths and interests, shaped what I decided to do after university and helped me to secure employment (not just for my first job, but every job I’ve had since! Even for my current role I talked about volunteering in my application and at interview). I’d really encourage students to get involved in volunteering – it’s a great way to learn about yourself and others.
My main responsibility is to line manage the Student Engagement team, which has now grown to seven full time staff. This includes helping to coordinate the delivery of our student activities – from societies and student media, to community volunteering, employability and RAG (Raise and Give).
I support the team with the day-to-day operations in their areas of expertise, including organising events and managing projects. I also review our processes to ensure they are compliant with university rules and good governance practices, and monitor and evaluate the impact of our work.
Other than that, it’s mixture of different activities – from meetings with my team and colleagues and seeing students to give advice and guidance, to training students, and planning and delivering events alongside my team.
The thing I love most about my current role is that it is very enabling of others. A key purpose of my role is to help enhance the student experience. I find it really rewarding to know that I’m doing something that I know has a positive impact because I get to talk to the students about it. It’s important to me that I can make a difference to students’ lives.
Get involved in the Students’ Union. We now run a Skills Award for students in leadership positions, where we offer training and support to help you identify and articulate the skills and experiences you’ve gained. If you know other students or staff that are involved, then talk to them. This is another great way to get an insight into what it’s like to work here.
Also… volunteer! I can’t recommend it enough. QMSU Volunteering (www.qmsu.org/volunteering) has all sorts of opportunities – from one off activities to on-going things, to match lots of different interests.
As well as the valuable networks and experience I got through my dissertation project through studying geography at university, I had the opportunity to take lots of different modules which helped me to work out what I wanted to do. Geography helped me develop lots of transferable skills – including analytical thinking, problem solving and communication - which are essential in my current role and useful in all sorts of jobs.
* This interview was undertaken in 2019 and was correct at the time of publication. Please note that the featured individual may no longer be in role, but the profile has been kept for career pathway and informational purposes.
Job title: Student Engagement Manager
Organisation: Queen Mary Students' Union
Location: London, UK
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