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Julia Kenny

Candidate for Academic Affairs Officer

What do you want to achieve during your term?

I want to make sure that opportunities for socialisation and self-development are constantly growing with the support of the Graduate Union. Additionally, as graduate students, we are based all over the city. The aim is to make the GU feel like a home away from home, with study space regularly available to those who need it.

What experience do you bring to the role?

I have come straight into MPhil from my undergraduate degree at York. Whilst I was there, I was Course Representative for History for two years (after being re-elected). Therefore, I have experience sitting on various committees and ensuring that students’ suggestions and concerns are voiced to the right people.

How would you like to collaborate with Academic Affairs Officers in the MCRs?

Since teaching is not college-based at graduate level, the focus should be extra-curricular, rooted in creating extra training and guidance initiatives for the graduate community. I would be happy to work with MCR Academic Officers in any capacity, whether it is through attending the same meetings, or, for colleges that are not officially represented on the GU, keeping in regular contact with the relevant officers.

How can the GU better engage with communities of graduates who are more connected to their faculty than their college or MCR?

We’re all here to study, and it is to be expected that we spend most of our time in our respective faculty. However, people do not need to be confined to one support network. By utilising social media and e-mail as a platform to advertise events, there can be opportunities for graduates of all disciplines to socialise, visit one another’s colleges and integrate further into the Cambridge community.

What ideas do you have for campaigns and events in this coming year?

I want to be more than just a signpost to the right office. Firstly, I would like for the spaces in the Graduate Union to be more open for students to come in and study, or make themselves comfortable. Being near the Mill Lane lecture theatres, the GU is a great base to relax that would save you from having to walk back over to your college or site. Secondly, for lots of people, Cambridge is new. It’s exciting to document your arrival, particularly in such a beautiful city, which is why I propose that we have a MyCambridge video competition, where students have the opportunity to share their newly found experiences and perceptions of the city. Being Academic Affairs Officer, you can expect a book voucher or similar as a prize, haha! Furthermore, as graduates, peer review and presentations are so important, and different faculties have different ways to encourage the development of this skillset. I would like to create an informal, low-pressure environment where people can present their ideas in the GU over free hot beverages. Another idea I had was to do book swaps so we can all benefit from each other’s reading experiences in a financially efficient way! In short, I have many ideas. I just need the means to make them come to fruition.