Laura Cheney

Laura Cheney

Mathematics undergraduate Laura Cheney works as a Student Ambassador for the University and as a mentor within her College. She is proud to represent Exeter at residential events where students aged 15-18 gain an understanding of what they can expect if they come to study here. Laura explains: “At 15 I personally benefitted from one of these events at the University of Exeter, and it was probably the first time I'd ever really thought that I actually could go to university, and that it wasn't just something other people got to do. I'm so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with these students and dispel any fears and doubts - but most importantly show them that they can go to university if they want to.”

Choice is an important theme for Laura, who feels that in order for real progress to be achieved, there needs to be equality between the sexes. As she explains: “I’m fortunate to live in a country where choosing to go to university to study maths was exactly that, a choice. We all know this is not the case all over the world, which is not only totally unjust, but from a scientific point of view, it is also completely illogical. The more minds that can be put towards a problem, the quicker it is solved, and so when women have an equal right to education this world will be one big step closer to being a better place.”

Although outgoing in her nature, Laura’s most important influences are close to home. Her mum Sue worked as a midwife for 30 years before retiring in 2008, and in that time Laura says she helped implement “fantastic” support services for women in Plymouth. “She set up and ran Plymouth Latch-on breastfeeding groups, which aimed to provide support to women who wanted to breastfeed, as well as encouraging local businesses to declare that they are breastfeeding friendly,” said Laura.

She adds: “My Mum helped change the way people in the city respond to breastfeeding mums, instead of asking them to move into a bathroom, or leave a restaurant, people can see if a venue is breastfeeding friendly because they have a logo – so mums know they will never be made to feel embarrassed. I'm so grateful to have such a strong and caring role model in my life.”