Meet the women working to make your life better at QM

‘I’ll never back down until your views are heard’

Inspirational women do not have to be women from a far away history. Inspirational women are all around us.

She can be the girl next door, the girl across from you in the uni library, the girl next to you at the lecture. She, at some point, has been you. Everyone has done something that, while to you may seem normal – just something you do – to someone else may be captivating. That’s why stories are worth sharing. Your story may not seem inspirational to you (even though it should – be proud girl!) but to others may just be extraordinary.

Here are six stories of some of Queen Mary’s most inspirational women:

Dani Nowokunska, 19, currently the President of the feminist society QMEquality

mumDani is a compassionately feisty political kind of person who embodies it all. Dani does not shy away from the opinions of others, but embraces them. Dani is always adapting and overcoming challenges in order to involve QM students in the events organised by QMEquality.

Dani stands up strong in the face of adversity not just for herself but for the equal rights of every person, with campaigning for the LGBT+ community being especially close to Dani’s heart.

Dani said: “I want to make our society more inclusive, assuring ALL women and non binary persons feel welcome and included in spaces and discussions. I strongly believe there is no feminism without intersectionality and therefore, as president, I will be working hard to reach out to demographics that often feel left out of or overlooked by feminist movements.’

Angelica Hill, 21,  current Editor-in-Chief of CUB magazine

She’s determined, driven and not afraid to shine. If women can be perceived as the underachievers in the ever-patriarchal world of work, then Angelica is a prime example of the contrary.

‘I am 21, loving life, and excited to go into my final year at Queen Mary University. I am currently spending my summer interning with The New York Times, as well as running CUB as Editor-in-Chief from the amazing city that is New York.’

While being a self-starter and proactive about what she wants, Angelica is more than happy to give credit where it is due. She leads her team at Queen Mary’s CUB magazine not with an iron fist but with encouragement and inclusivity.

‘The moment I felt most proud of my contribution to the QM community was when I lead my first team meeting as Editor-in-Chief of CUB. To see all these talented people I had brought together, who were just as excited about CUB as me, and who expressed their gratitude for the opportunity (although it was their talent, not me who got them their roles) was amazing.

‘To give them a bit of happiness and a chance to get their ideas and work into the world, and enable them to further contribute to the QM community themselves made me so happy.’

Miranda Black, 22, current Vice President of Welfare

Miranda proves that women do not have to be strong physically to be empowering, but that mental strength is equally as relevant, especially in the world of the student bubble.

‘I’ve always felt passionately about mental health. This year I led an ‘Elephant In The Room’ campaign which is going Tower Hamlets-wide this October, so I’m really excited about that. Following that, I’ve worked with the QMSU team to find funding for 3 student designed, mental health themed sculptures. I can’t wait to see our students’ work on site, and see the conversation around mental health open up.’

Miranda is excited to hold the role that she has: ‘The best thing about being VP Welfare is getting to know the students we have at Queen Mary. We have dedicated fundraisers, charity starters, active campaigners, talented sportspeople,’ but does admit that it does come with its challenges.

‘The challenge is that the role is so busy – I’d love to do more with these groups and those students I haven’t had the chance to meet yet.’

Carolina Antonia Mantzalos Munoz, 23, current President of the QMSU

Carolina is the all-round girl. As QMSU President she makes sure the well-being of all of us stressed-out zombified students is in tip top shape. She is a beacon that demands change, and thus is the perfect person to demand it on all our behalves from the university.

‘It has been incredible to be able to take student feedback and develop it into action. I have loved representing all students at QMUL and their interests, and have never backed down until their views have been heard.’

However students may have demands, but there is no guarantee that the university will come through. But Carolina tries her hardest to stir up mayhem (in the best possible sense) and rouse the university to the needs of its students.

‘I would say [the most challenging part of being QMSU President] is not having much control over the university resources. There is so much that I wish I could change (e.g. make all libraries 24/7) and have been campaigning to change them.

She takes pride in what she does and wants to continue making the most of her time at QM.

‘I think I have contributed in demonstrating that ‘Students are Partners’ in the University’s decision-making. I lobbied College Council (the University’s Highest Governing Body) to have an additional student member, and they approved it which was a great success.

Her trump card, as well as all these ladies, is inclusivity. Wanting to get as many people involved and friendly with each other. No one should feel unwelcome or out of place.

‘I’ve been carrying out research to find out where we currently do not have representation in order to make sure that we do.I think it’s been a real positive year for this, and I honestly believe that the University recognises the importance in having students as partners.’

Becky Hipkiss, 22, is the former Editor-in-Chief of CUB magazine

becky

Becky Hipkiss pushes herself out of her comfort zone. When all of us first got to uni the excitement was overflowing; there were always new people to meet and modules to try (and drop out of) but eventually, the bubble of enthusiasm bursts as we settle into habitual uni life. Well, Becky does not let herself be stranded in habitual routine, in fact, she breaks out at any given opportunity.

‘I literally threw myself into university life by volunteering for as many things as possible. I was an English student ambassador for 3 years, PASS Coordinator for English for 2 years and a CUB Columnist in my second year before being elected Editor in Chief for my final year. I’m proud that I did that as I’d like to think I gave something back for my three fabulous years QM gave me.

‘Supporting first and second years during their degree was a challenge sometimes – especially with a few 3am panic emails! – but it was always worth it when they came and gave you a big hug at the session for preventing a potential nervous breakdown over Robinson Crusoe!’

Becky takes the tricks of the trade she’s learned at QM and applies them to further herself and her career. She’s inspiring because she ploughed ahead and got down to the nitty-gritty – got involved and wasn’t afraid to stand out – in order to gain valuable experience that has catapulted her into the world of work.

‘I absolutely loved being a part of student media and CUB. It was honestly the best thing I ever did at uni, and it definitely helped land me my graduate job today (they’ve even admitted that it was teaching experience and my role at CUB that secured me the first interview!).’

Giulia Antiga, 22, current Women’s Representative at QM

giulia

Giulia is a team player as well as advocate for women’s rights. She wants to see every woman represented fairly on campus and knows that this cannot be achieved as a one-woman show. She’s collaborative and willing to compromise if that means that she gets to make a difference.

‘I am definitely proud of the way I (and the rest of the committee of QMEquality who have been incredibly creative and tireless and whom I am so glad to have met and have worked with) have contributed to making our Uni’s femsoc much more popular, active and interesting.

Giulia’s hard work does pay off, and while she feels she owes it to the team, her personal efforts are also worthy achievements. She’s not about to shout it about it though, as she takes pride in her society’s successes as a whole, not just personally.

‘We never expected the kind of response we got this year! I remember the first event we hosted, a super chill Icebreaker in the Hub – we bought refreshments for about 10-20 people, more or less the amount of people that joined the society last year. More than 60 people came, it was great (and we were told off by the Student Union staff for the noise, but shh) and slightly overwhelming!’

So the only logical conclusion that can be drawn from this? That QM girls are badass (including you reading this). Stay strong girls, stay inspirational.

We assure that ‘women’ refers to female-read individuals that may not self-identify as women, yet still face the same gender specific issues.

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