Dr Julianne Viola, Research Associate, Centre for Higher Education Research and Scholarship

“My research focuses on understanding Imperial students’ sense of belonging, and how that influences their contributions to and participation in social and political life inside and outside of the College.”

My experience as an educator and mentor for secondary school students in the United States inspired me to pursue research that empowers young people.

I realised that my true passion is to conduct and disseminate the research that influences policy and social attitudes. I am most interested in how young people develop and express their own opinions and effect social change, and I completed my doctorate at the University of Oxford earlier this year, before joining Imperial in April.

I enjoy learning from individuals’ lived experiences, and want to make a positive social impact with that knowledge. I believe that my role as a Research Associate at the Centre for Higher Education Research and Scholarship (CHERS) allows me to do just that. My research at CHERS focuses on understanding Imperial students’ sense of belonging and agency, and how that influences their contributions to and participation in social and political life within and outside of the College.

My collaborative and supportive colleagues are the highlight of each day. I am inspired by the diverse perspectives of colleagues in my team and throughout the College, which help me to view and overcome challenges in new ways. I am grateful to share an office with the Postdoc and Fellows Development Centre, and appreciate the training sessions and networking lunches, which help me to develop personally and professionally.

Beyond my research, I enjoy creative pursuits in travel writing and photography, and song writing with my folk band. I am grateful that Imperial encourages a balanced lifestyle, and I am glad I can keep fit at Ethos, delight in fresh air in Kensington Gardens during lunchtime, and develop my photography skills in an evening class at the Centre for Languages, Culture and Communication.

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