Success for Informatics students at the EUSA Student Awards

[2021] The Sense of Belonging Award was presented to undergraduate student Michael Andrejczuk and the University's Women in STEM society, whose president is Informatics student Sarah Lappin.

Michael won the Sense of Belonging Award for his work helping first-year students settle into the School and connect with one another, despite the physical distance between them. His presence in a Discord server created for first-year Informatics students was instrumental to creating a sense of community and providing new students with a way to connect with peers, both in their own year and in higher years. Michael has been very dedicated to welcoming the new students, having been active in the Discord group all year providing advice and support whenever needed.

Despite not being a tutor [Michael] would take time out of his day to explain the harder topics and tell anecdotes of prior years. Despite us not being able to mingle, he really gave us the feeling that we are part of a wider community and we're incredibly grateful for it. 

Extract from Michael's nomination for the Sense of Belonging Award

Michael has provided a wealth of support to first-year Informatics students, from helping them with admin issues to offering anecdotes from his own experiences to providing advice and tips on improving CVs and applying for internships. Although he is not a tutor this year, he has previously been a tutor for the INF1A course and so used this knowledge to run informal tutoring sessions to highlight and explain key concepts for students who were struggling. He gave advice and information on developing study skills, where to find relevant course information, where to go for support and what to expect in the later years of an Informatics degree. Michael also offered support with career development, from tips to boost your CV to advice on applying for itnernships and part-time jobs.

This year has been challenging for all of us, but particularly so for new students, who haven't been able to build the kind of connections they would otherwise.

I'm proud of the community I've helped to build over the last year to ameliorate that: it's been so rewarding to be able to share my knowledge and experience and to see everyone develop both academically and personally.

For me, receiving the Sense of Belonging award really underlines the kind of impact even one person can make, and I hope the students I've helped will go on to help others.

Michael Andrejczuk
Sense of Belonging Award winner

Alongside Michael, Edinburgh University Women in STEM society also won a Sense of Belonging Award at the Student Awards. EU Women in STEM was first established in 2016 with the aim of promoting equality in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. The society hopes to inspire and encourage students through meeting and engaging with a wide variety of successful individuals, allowing for networking and opportunities. Through this engagement members will learn new skills, gain new contacts, discover new career opportunities and make friends with like minded people. The goal of the society is to create a members' network who can share tips and advice, as behind every successful woman there is a team of women who support her.

EU Women in STEM has members from across the University's College of Science and Engineering and beyond, and the School of Informatics well-represented. The current President is fourth-year Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence student Sarah Lappin, and the current secretary is Jenny Lin, also in her fourth year, studying Computer Science and Management Science.

Related links

Full list of EUSA Student Award winners

Edinburgh University Women in STEM