KCLSU's first international student officer named as one of Britain's 100 most outstanding new black graduates
Simi Smith, a recent College graduate in Biomedical Sciences and the first International student to be elected as student officer in KCLSU, has been named as one of Britain’s 100 most outstanding new black graduates by Future Leaders magazine.
Nigerian-born Simi impressed judges with her community work, academia and her position within KCLSU as Vice President of Academic Affairs. She is an emergency responder for the British Red Cross, a volunteer at Trinity Hospice, an ambassador for breast and cervical cancer in Nigeria and a mentor to young girls under the work of a non-governmental organisation.
Simi commented: ‘It’s a great feeling that people see potential in me; they must have noticed a little spark. I came to the UK in 2008 and to see how far I’ve come makes me feel very privileged and humbled.’
The awards were presented at a ceremony on Friday 2 September at City Hall, recognising the talent of graduates with African and African Caribbean roots.
Future Leaders, which is sponsored by Barclays Capital, Google, University of Cambridge and Deloitte, aims to inspire younger generations from ethnic minorities and promote the potential future leaders into business, media, banking, industry and the arts. Simi described her excitement about being exposed to such prestigious employers: ‘Future Leaders has opened up a new pathway for me with more opportunities. Looking past the recent riots, it needs to be emphasised that a majority of young people are focusing on achievement, academia and recognising a future for ourselves.
‘Future Leaders is about inspiration; it is about us being mentors to the younger generations of ethnic minorities. I want to inspire people to do better. I say to girls back in Nigeria: “Don’t say you want to be like me, say you want to be better than me. Don’t stop at where I might stop, go beyond me, go past me, fly way above me.”’
Talking about the future, Simi commented: ‘I would love to be a future leader, to help implement changes and make a difference. I want to keep overstepping boundaries and cause a kind of revolution. Somebody at City Hall said they would like to see me as the next President of Nigeria; they said I looked like a ‘powerful woman’. I think the future is bright, definitely.’
Simi is currently developing arrangements within KCLSU for an integration and welfare scheme for international students, and holds plans for a One World Week in the New Year to celebrate the cultural richness at King’s.
Catherine Eames, from the College’s professional services commented: ‘Simi is a great example of King’s continuing internationalisation and the integration of international students into life at the College. Her recent nomination is testament to her hard work and engagement with student life at the College. We hope Simi’s achievements will encourage international students to get more involved in the King’s community and inspire them to future successes.’
Simi was not the only King’s student to be featured on this prestigious list; also included are Law graduates Bobby Kensah and Cristel Kayibi; Computer Science and Management graduate Abisola Ifasawo; and Christopher Borges-Da-Silva, a graduate in Neuroscience; and Isata Sangarie who studied Pharmacology at the College.
Law graduate Cristel Kayibi said: ‘It is a great honour to be in a room with like-minded people, and also to speak to great women who have gone before me.’ Isata Sangarie, once President of the biomedical society also commented that she was ‘absolutely honoured’ to be chosen as a Future Leader.