Your volunteering stories

Leeds volunteers

Across the world and right back here on campus, alumni give time to support the University of Leeds.

On this page, we celebrate some of our Leeds volunteers. Volunteers who come back to give talks; to discuss their Leeds experience with prospective students; to help students as they start their careers. We appreciate all that our Leeds volunteers do to support our community.

Read their stories below, and find out what it means to be a Leeds volunteer. And if you're interested in becoming a Leeds volunteer, get in touch to find out how.

 

James Story (Cinema & Photography 2012) volunteers as a Leeds mentor

I got involved because...

I wanted to help students bridge the gap between the knowledge they learn at university and the skills and experience that helps them get their first jobs in marketing.

And I love it because...

When you spend many years in an industry, it can be hard to appreciate what questions someone will have when they are at the start of their career. Being able to answer such questions and instil confidence in a student is fantastic.

My advice to anyone thinking about volunteering at Leeds...

Do it in any way you can. No amount of time spent helping university students is too small.

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Michelle Iyalla-Harry (Petroleum Engineering 2012) volunteers as a mentor

I got involved because...

Throughout my education and career I’ve been fortunate to have great mentors (and still do). I realise this is not something a lot of people have access to so I’d like to do my part to help others as well.

And I love it because...

I make a difference by assisting with CV writing and careers advice.

My advice to anyone thinking about volunteering at Leeds...

Give it a go, whatever free time you have, carve a little out of it and help give back. You don’t know whose life you may change.

Alongside my volunteering at Leeds...

I volunteer at Career Ready as a mentor to an S5/S6 Student. I try to act as a guide, a sounding board and critical friend to help the student progress and prosper in their future beyond school. I help them develop soft skills.

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Hussain Jafri (PhD 2015) spoke to prospective students

I got involved because...

I have been doing volunteer work all my life and therefore, I decided to also volunteer for my alma mater

And I love it because...

It made me feel very good.

My advice to anyone thinking about volunteering at Leeds...

All alumni must volunteer some time to the University as all of us can help in making a difference in peoples' lives.

Alongside my volunteering at Leeds...

I am the Secretary General of Alzheimer’s Pakistan, the national association of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias in Pakistan that I founded in 1999 as a result of my experiences as a care giver for my grandfather with Alzheimer’s Disease.

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Deogratius Mkude (MSc Banking and International Finance 2014) offered work experience and spoke at a careers event

I got involved because...

Leeds was an eye opener in my career life. It gave me a purpose in life and showed me that sky is the limit.

And I love it because...

It made me feel fulfilled.

My advice to anyone thinking about volunteering at Leeds...

They should give it a try, you always learn something new.

Alongside my volunteering at Leeds...

I have used my personal time to visit orphanages, to share the little that I have but also to bring happiness to the kids. Why? Because in life we should learn to give back to the community that made us.

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Edidiong Amos (MSc Geographic Information System 2012) volunteered to host a Big Get Together

I got involved because...

As an alumna, I feel obligated to give back to my alma mater. It’s a way of giving back to the University as an appreciation of the knowledge imparted while I was here.

And I love it because...

It made me feel fulfilled.

Alongside my volunteering at Leeds...

I volunteer at Save the Children. I create awareness in protecting and catering for the needs of vulnerable children. I also volunteer at Team7, raising awareness about climate change and the need to save the environment for the future generations.

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David Smith ( Dentistry 1979) spoke to prospective students.

I got involved because...

I was interested in meeting prospective students and helping them in the selection process.

And I love it because...

I found it very enjoyable and rewarding and brought back fond memories of being a student at Leeds and also scary memories of my original interview!

My advice to anyone thinking about volunteering at Leeds...

Reconnect with Leeds and the University, tell others what a great place it is to live and study and imagine you’re young again!

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Maria Ventura (Japanese Business 2012) volunteered as a mentor, offered work experience to students, and spoke at a careers event.

I got involved because...

We need more women in my industry, we need younger people. I made many mistakes in my career. Once I had my goals, I had no idea how to achieve them. Thanks to people who volunteer, this University can actually improve the delicate passage between study and work.I am happy to teach youngsters not to make my mistakes.

And I love it because...

I feel like I can help someone who, like me when I was their age, is a bit lost, but has ambition and big dreams.

My advice to anyone thinking about volunteering at Leeds...

If you have the time, and if you feel you have something to give, you should do it. The idea that some people are entering your own industry thanks to your help, is really a beautiful feeling.

Alongside my volunteering at Leeds...

I have always mentored boys and girls trying to enter the media industry.

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Andy Horne (Politics 2001) volunteers as a mentor.

I got involved because...

As a graduate I was keen to help students take their first steps. I’m passionate about investing in people and identifying the next generation of leaders.

And I love it because...

It’s rewarding and enlightening. It’s interesting to see what Gen Z expect from employers, and how it differs from my own expectation.

My advice to anyone thinking about volunteering at Leeds...

Go for it. You get to help others take their first steps, and learn loads about how to better support younger colleagues. Great future proofing.

Alongside my volunteering at Leeds...

I volunteer at The College of Policing – it’s rewarding to support others and recognise great work.

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Zubair Ashraf (Global Supply Chain Management 2017) spoke at a careers event.

I got involved because...

The University of Leeds is an amazing academic institution, I spent an amazing academic year with the University and wanted to highlight its significance to potential students.

And I love it because...

It made me feel excellent.

My advice to anyone thinking about volunteering at Leeds...

It’s very important to volunteer for the betterment of future students.

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Joey Kong (MBA 2014) spoke to prospective students and attended a networking event.

I got involved because...

I have been volunteering since I have graduated and am happy to continue.

And I love it because...

I like to give back.

My advice to anyone thinking about volunteering at Leeds...

Be open, be honesty and be brutal. Don’t be afraid of telling the truth and being questioned.

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Sandeep Kinge (Environmental Engineering and Project Management 2006) volunteers as a mentor.

I got involved because...

I can help the upcoming graduates to choose right path, something I feel I had struggled with when I had graduated 15 years ago.

And I love it because...

It helps me to feel content.

My advice to anyone thinking about volunteering at Leeds...

Learn, unlearn, and relearn from the students.

Alongside my volunteering at Leeds...

I keep on volunteering with many organisations such as TCV, EWB, Jacobs initiatives.

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Puteri Paramita (MSc.Transport Planning 2010) volunteers as a mentor and organised two Big Get Togethers.

I got involved because...

I want to share my knowledge and skills as well as meeting new graduate students and learning from them. I also organize the Leeds Big Get Together in Brisbane – an in-person event of happy hour drinks.

And I love it because...

I enjoy organize a gathering and meeting new people, it is good for my mental health and I am passionate about it.

My advice to anyone thinking about volunteering at Leeds...

Give it a go! Nothing much to lose.

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Ben Waites (French and Italian 2000) spoke at a careers event.

I got involved because...

This type of mentoring feels more democratic and egalitarian than students relying on their personal networks.

And I love it because...

It felt like a situation where a little bit of knowledge and advice could go a long way.

My advice to anyone thinking about volunteering at Leeds...

You should sign up for mentoring because it is a relatively easy way to help the next generation of students. The Alumni Team takes care of the administration so it is hassle-free for the alumni.

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Liza Kellett (Spanish & Portuguese 1988; MA 1998) offered work experience and spoke to prospective students.

I got involved because...

Both times I studied at Leeds I was surrounded by staff and people who inspired me and supported me. They were my cheerleaders when things got tough and were allies in getting me through my degrees. So I wanted to emulate that for today's students.

And I love it because...

I always feel so impressed by the students I work with – in awe of them really. And energised.

My advice to anyone thinking about volunteering at Leeds...

There are so many ways to get involved, you can find a role which works for you, around your commitments, and for others.

Alongside my volunteering at Leeds...

I've been a Trustee of several charities including Opera North, Emmaus Leeds, Wales Council for Voluntary Action, Sherman Theatre, and a Governor of Rosebank Primary School and Park Lane College (now Leeds City College).

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Sneha Bose (International Business 2014) volunteers as a mentor, spoke at a careers event, attended a networking event and spoke to prospective students.

I got involved because...

I feel proud being a part of Leeds and I want everyone else to experience the Leeds environment too.

And I love it because...

It makes me feel very content.

My advice to anyone thinking about volunteering at Leeds...

It is a great opportunity and you feel connected to your alma mater even after the graduation.

Alongside my volunteering at Leeds...

I spoke at my friend's NGO on career prospects and mental endurance.

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Sean Maloney (French and Management Studies 1976) volunteers as a mentor.

I got involved because...

I wanted to help pay the finest University in the world back for the great time that I had and how it shaped my life and career. I wanted to help today’s students to have a great life.

And I love it because...

I love the University and want our students to enjoy the happiness and success that I have enjoyed. I focus much on people skills that are so valuable in achieving happiness and success. I am thankful to be part of a great initiative, and proud to be able to pay something back.

My advice to anyone thinking about volunteering at Leeds...

Stop thinking. Do it. Everybody wins.

Alongside my volunteering at Leeds...

I visit hospitals. One of my core values is to be grateful and to pay back.

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Yui Bowling volunteered as an Intercultural Ambassador

I got involved because...

Students at Leeds Uni are from all over the world, but some of the students struggle with fitting into a culture that they’re not used to. So I wanted to help those students in some way.

And I love it because...

We investigated intercultural skills and held events to share our research results to be able to facilitate intercultural exchange between students.

My advice to anyone thinking about volunteering at Leeds...

Through the intercultural ambassador program, I learnt a lot of things and the experience made me grow. Also, I made new friends who share the same values. If you’re thinking about participating in volunteering even little bit, you should definitely try it out.

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Sarang Mahajan (Transport Planning and Engineering 2019) volunteers as a mentor.

I got involved because...

I feel a connection to the Uni.

And I love it because...

It’s always interesting and I’m happy to help.

My advice to anyone thinking about volunteering at Leeds...

Go for it!

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Alexandra Mather (Civil Engineering 2018) volunteers as a Leeds mentor

I got involved because...

I was lucky enough to have an external mentor throughout my studies and saw how much it helped me and boosted my confidence – I wanted to make sure current students have this opportunity. I wanted to make a positive use of the knowledge I've gained within the three years I have been working in industry.

And I love it because...

It’s an incredible feeling to know you're helping others and giving back to the Leeds community. I mentor current students to prepare them for the working world by providing advice, guidance and support on topics such as interview tips, CV writing and the graduate job application process.

My advice to anyone thinking about volunteering at Leeds...

Definitely go for it – it's also been an amazing learning curve and networking opportunity for myself!

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Jack Johnson (Politics 2016) volunteers as a mentor

I got involved because...

Now that I am older and more attuned to the world of work, I wanted to provide my insight to undergraduates likely to be experiencing the same uncertainties about employment I did when studying as an undergraduate. Hopefully I can provide helpful advice that could sow optimism about the future.

And I love it because...

I can provide mentoring and careers advice to current undergraduates.

My advice to anyone thinking about volunteering at Leeds...

It's important for alumni to provide insight into how they went about acquiring a role many others are keen to consider for their future. So many people only require a small degree of encouragement to propel themselves into realising their full potential. You never know the true influence you may have on someone by simply uttering a few words of genuine encouragement.

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Yang Xu (MSc Accounting & Finance 2015) volunteers at networking events in Beijing

I got involved because...

I gained lots of good memories during my study in Leeds. Although I've left the University, I still want to contribute as much as I can to help develop our global alumni network.

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Lynette Akong (Geographical information systems 2011) volunteers as a Leeds mentor.

I got involved because...

I wanted to return some of the value I received during my time at Leeds. During my time at Leeds, I received tremendous support from my peers, there is a lot of value in reaching out to professionals for support. The Mentor Mentee relationship allows both the established professionals and developing professionals to learn from each other's experiences. Leeds is a leading research university and a great platform for cross fertilisation of ideas that can have tremendous impact on our developing world.

And I love it because...

It made me feel humbled and valued.

My advice to anyone thinking about volunteering at Leeds...

Step up, you have a lot to offer.

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