Interview with SLO Louis Dexter, who studied HSPS at Emmanuel College.
What attracted you to the SLO role at Fitz?
Coming from a widening participation background, I was really keen to get involved in some of the work that I’d benefitted from as an A-level student – school talks, residentials, etc, and I’m really passionate about demystifying Cambridge Uni life and the application process. I was especially excited to apply for the role at Fitz due to their commitment to widening participation on all levels.
Did you do some access and widening participation work while you were a student?
Yes! I was access officer for Emmanuel College Student Union, and I especially loved meeting prospective students on the Cambridge SU shadowing scheme to show them a few days in the life of a Uni student talk about their subject, student life, etc (you can find out more about this yearly scheme here.
What does your role involve? What have you done so far and what have you got planned?
In non-COVID times, I’d be visiting schools in our link areas of Cumbria, Cheshire, and Hammersmith & Fulham to talk about Uni life and applying to Cambridge. As it is, I’m arranging virtual talks with schools, and working on a really exciting range of online events, including online webinars about applying to Cambridge, and selective taster schemes for BME students and students from our link areas. You can find out about all our upcoming events and schemes here.
What do you enjoy about the role?
I love how varied it is – I’m really excited to travel when I get the chance, and I love being able to talk to students from across the country and see their motivation for higher education.
What are you hoping to achieve during your time here?
I hope to build on some of the amazing work Fitz has done in a range of areas to diversify Cambridge, including encouraging applications from BME students, women in STEM, students from widening participation backgrounds, and students from the north who may be less engaged with Oxbridge. It’s true that Cambridge doesn’t just change students, students change Cambridge, and I’m really excited to be part of long ongoing outreach work diversifying the university in really positive ways that has made it a place for anyone to study, thrive, and reach their full potential.
How do we measure the impact of the schools liaison work we do? E.g. do we monitor application and offer rates in the areas of the country that we cover?
A lot of my role is evaluation. For all of my major events I conduct before and after questionnaires so I can see whether the event has made the student more likely to apply to competitive universities. After students apply to university, we find out how many students from our link areas applied to Fitz, and how many students who attended an event applied to Cambridge.
How are you finding being at Fitz? What do you think of the College?
I'm absolutely loving it! It really deserves its reputation as the 'friendly college' - everyone is so lovely and ready to help with anything!