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By Amber Weir, Grok Magazine.

May Majimbi will be the Postgraduate Student Committee (PSC) President for 2020, her pronouns are She/Her and she is currently completing a PhD in the School of Public Health with a project that’s looking at blood vessel disease in the brain and retina. May loves cooking—especially baking sourdough—and more recently spin classes at the gym. Her goals this year are good nutrition and fitness, and she’s already reaping the benefits with better sleep, increased endorphins and improved structure to her week.

Since enrolling at Curtin for her Doctoral studies, May has been involved in numerous HDR initiatives within the Faculty of Health Sciences and has attended networking events run by the PSC.

What is your favourite campus food?

Can’t go past a ham and cheese croissant with a coffee. The lunch specials at Main Café are also a favourite (butter chicken with naan bread, yum).

What is your biggest whine/peeve about campus?

As someone who only started at Curtin recently, the campus can feel way too big and convoluted.

What would you like to do after you graduate university?

I would love to work in medical research and pursue my interest in understanding brain disease in the ageing context. Neurodegenerative disorders are increasing in Australia, making this work timely and of the utmost importance.

Whilst research seems quite elusive to many people, it is a dynamic and rewarding career path that I’ve grown to appreciate even more ever since I did my Bachelor’s degree. As a science lover, I hope to present research findings to my wider community so others can also gain an appreciation for the amazing work we do at Curtin (and, more broadly, in Australia).

I have goals to continue my tutoring work, so a dual academic and research position would be the dream. I’m especially inspired by my fellow university tutors and science communicators, who’ve taken on the responsibility of teaching science in a way that’s creative and accessible to others.

I hope to always find time to do the fundamental work of challenging myself and engaging with others to build a stronger community. It can be too easy to focus on work aspirations and neglect the other aspects of who we are. My goal is to find balance and fulfilment both at work and in my personal life.

How can the Guild help make university life better?

The Guild can continue supporting postgraduate students, as their voices are often unheard on campus. Postgraduate students often report feeling isolated at university due to their unique/niche fields of study and their rigorous schedules. I would love to see the Guild invest in postgraduate social and professional networking events.

How and why did you get involved in the Guild?

I got involved in the Guild as Research Vice President of the PSC when a friend of mine had to leave the role abruptly. Within two weeks of taking on the position, I received incredible support from PSC President and Secretary and was able to accomplish many of the existing KPIs as well as pursue my own initiatives. I served as a spokesperson on the Retention Taskforce and PSC liaison on the Academic Services Committee. I travelled to Canberra to represent Curtin PSC at the National Special Council Meeting (SCM) hosted by the Council of Australian Postgraduate Association (CAPA). Furthermore, I proposed and facilitated an end-of-semester networking event that connected Curtin postgrads and increased student engagement.

How do you think you can make a difference this year, and what are you hoping to achieve?

The role of PSC President demands excellent leadership and governance skills; it requires the successful applicant to work collaboratively with committee members, Curtin Guild and external stakeholders. My goal for 2020 is to carry on the work of Romana in championing for a safer, more inclusive study environment for postgraduate students. I want to see the rollout of the mental health first aid initiative and Romana has worked tirelessly to increase student accessibility to the Careers Department and promote various industry opportunities.

What is your advice for making the most out of the uni experience—especially for first years?

The best advice I can give is to step out of your comfort zone and engage in the social aspects of university life. Having a network of likeminded people will be an invaluable tool in combating feelings of isolation and overwhelm.

This article is part of a Curtin Student Guild interview series conducted by Grok Magazine.

Email May on psc.president@guild.curtin.edu.au