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Laura Summers

Alumni Fellow BA Hons International Studies (2006)

Why do you volunteer as an Alumni Fellow?

I volunteer as an Alumni Fellow because my time at Nottingham Trent University was so valuable but I have no doubt that it would have been further enriched by having a scheme like the Alumni and Industry Fellowship Progamme. I find the time I spend volunteering incredibly rewarding and I learn something new every time I take part. The opportunity to hear about and attend events such the Distinguished Lecture Series and performances is of course an added bonus. I am very proud be an NTU alumnus and so to keep the connection through this programme is great.

What volunteering activities have you been involved with as an Alumni Fellow?

Since becoming a Fellow in October 2019, I have taken part in mock interviews and assessment centres with students at various stages of their academic careers. I hope that when some of my other commits come to an end, I will be able to act as a mentor to students, especially those looking to take up a career in the heritage sector.

What do you enjoy and find most rewarding most about being an Alumni Fellow?

I enjoy meeting students from all over the world whose drive and knowledge amazes me every time; I only wish I had that at 21! I enjoy the events which are a great opportunity to meet new people and network. I find that much of the time I am able to offer insight to students based on my knowledge and experience and I find this very worthwhile.

Do you have any advice for someone thinking about volunteering as an Alumni Fellow?

Do not worry about time commitment - there are plenty of opportunities to get involved and if you aren’t available on one date, another will be along soon.

Give a little or a lot - there are many opportunities to get involved, and at varying levels. You can commit as much time as you can spare.

Embrace the learning opportunity - I have been astounded by the calibre of students at NTU and at each session I have attended I have taken something useful or interesting away. There is also the opportunity to attend lectures and seminars to support your own professional development.

Creates a sense of giving - just think of how brilliant it would have been to have a future version of you to talk to during your academic career at NTU. It also gives you that warm fuzzy feeling to know that you may have helped shape someone’s future.

What do you do when you’re not volunteering?

I have worked in the heritage sector for almost 18 years and I am currently employed as a Heritage Consultant. In short, my role involves working with art galleries, museums, historic houses and heritage centres to support them in writing funding applications, feasibility studies, options appraisal, funding strategies, business plans and audience development plans.

When I am not working, I am Chair of Trustees for Stonebridge City Farm in St Ann’s in Nottingham. The City Farm is a visitor attraction but is also a hub for volunteers (many with learning disabilities or mental health issues), a training centre and educational resource.

I am also a Trustee for a newly formed charity, the City of Nottingham Historic Building Trust. The aim of this organisation is to save historic buildings at risk in Nottingham through finding new uses.

Have you undertaken any other volunteering as a result of Covid-19?

During the Covid-19 pandemic I have become a registered volunteer with Nottingham City Council to help local people with collecting prescriptions, shopping and walking dogs.

I have also been delivering Sunday dinners provided by two local charities to those most in need.

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