I am taking full advantage of the opportunity to develop the characteristics of a leader.
Demi Daniel originally wanted to study Fine Art at University until pressure from her family to study something ‘more useful’ resulted in her changing her plans:
“I moved to Manchester to train as a youth worker. This involved working with young people every evening. Through simply listening to conversations during my placements I realised that teachers have a huge impact on young people, but that they are not always encouraging. I decided that I wanted to teach so that I could be in a position to highlight the good in each child I came across. But I needed a degree first."
Demi chose to come to the University of York because the teaching course focused more on coursework than exams and this best aligned with her preferred way of learning. She decided to apply for the Laidlaw Scholarship because she is genuinely interested in research and thinks that the leadership activity provides a hands-on opportunity to develop.
Demi’s research project focuses on whether YouTube provides a new pathway to social mobility. Drawing on Pierre Bourdieu's work on the forms of capital in sociology alongside media and culture studies Demi will research if social media can help people access upwards social mobility regardless of class or race. She says:
“I feel that there is a disconnect between research and real people and I want to look at research in relation to what’s important in today’s society. We’ve grown up in a technology-savvy world yet not much research has been done in this area. As well as hopefully publishing my findings I am also going to share what I learn on YouTube to make it accessible to those not in academia.”
Demi has enjoyed the leadership development programme element of the scholarship so far and feels lucky that she is being offered the opportunity to learn these skills at a relatively young age. Whilst Demi is still considering a career in the field of Education she is open to what that may entail:
“I am still interested in teaching but want my career to be fluid. I want to understand what happens on the ground but I am also interested in influencing policy and practice. Whether working as a teacher, social researcher or policy maker, leadership skills are vital in order to manage teams, unite different disciplines and raise the aspirations of young people.
I'm happy knowing that I'll be coming out the other side with a deeper sense of self, a qualification in leadership and management and the characteristics of a future leader. My words of encouragement - which were also given to me by a lecturer in my department - are that there's nothing stopping you from having a fair chance at being selected. For once the application process isn’t about what you look like or how well you can boast about yourself. All that is measured is intellect and passion, which you clearly have as a student at this university. So just go for it!"