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Student mentor profiles

Read the profiles of current and previous Student Mentors to learn more about the scheme, how they support new students and benefit from the experience too. 

Sarah Gaunt

The University of Exeter, Penryn Campus is really environmentally orientated, which allows you to meet like-minded people.  The location was a huge draw for me, being originally from the Channel Islands I was used to being by the sea, and when I visited Falmouth it completely made up my mind. The vibe on campus is always really friendly and relaxed, especially when it’s sunny and everyone is just outside and hanging out with friends in between lectures. 

The best aspect of the Biosciences department, in which I study, is probably the field trips; in the first year they are local, around Cornwall, but in your second year you get the chance to go to Cyprus and Scotland, and then in the final year you can choose to go to Africa or Spain, both of which are amazing opportunities. 

While being at university in Cornwall I have completed the Exeter Award, worked as a volunteer on several local initiatives such as the Helford River Clean Up and also been a Student Mentor in my third year. I hope this will show future employers that I am able to work with others as well as lead other people. 

I decided to become a Student Mentor as a way to help new students get to know the campus, and get the most out of what the University has to offer. As a first year student I never signed up for a Student Mentor, unlike a lot of my friends, who really appreciated having someone to ask the silly questions you think of when worrying about moving away from home!

After graduating I hope to gain some experience volunteering in conservation, before hopefully moving towards ecotourism, and tying it more closely with active conservation. 

I have really enjoyed the time I have spent at the University of Exeter, the University staff and FXU have made it an incredible three years, and I would definitely recommend the Penryn Campus to prospective Bioscience students. 

Sarah Gaunt, BSc Conservation Biology and Ecology, Penryn Campus

Sam Kendray

For me coming to the University of Exeter, Penryn Campus was a change from the Midlands and city life, a chance to live by the coast and take up new hobbies. The location was a huge selling point, if you like the coast, and want to get away from the city it’s the place to be.

The lecturers are great and the numerous local fieldtrips are fantastic, but without doubt the highlight of my programme, is the second year fieldtrip to California!

I decided to become a Student Mentor as I know that the first few weeks at university can be stressful, and I believe I can help others with any problems they may have. The experience has made me realise that most students have the same worries which are easily resolved within the first few weeks.

Best years I have had, don’t want it to end.

Sam Kendray, BSc Geography, Penryn Campus

Emma Gerrard

I am from a village near a small town in Staffordshire and I wasn’t drawn to living and studying in a big city. Cornwall is still able to offer all the extra curriculum activities in addition to hosting a great educational institution. The location of the campus makes it easily accessible and it benefits from excellent transport links and ties with the community which I feel makes the campus more inviting and homely.

MEng Renewable Energy was the only course of its kind in the country, which offered me the opportunity to work towards an engineering qualification in addition to helping to provide sustainable resources that will reduce the impact on the planet, in a successful, well known university. I felt this was enabled me to keep my options open and maximise my employability.

I feel there is value for money due to the amount of contact hours we get in addition to the support and resources provided by lecturers. The advantage of having lecturers who are leaders in their fields and responsible for developing new renewable technologies is key to the success of the programme.

It was great to be able to contact a Student Mentor and ask questions about the programme and university life before I moved here. Although I soon found my feet, it was fantastic to have someone there just in case I needed to ask a question.

I volunteered as a Student Mentor which was a rewarding experience, and which enhanced my previous experience mentoring students at school. It has enabled me to develop confidence in working with a range of different people. I was grateful for the help I had received in my first year and wanted to pass on the benefits of my experience to other students. I know how much I benefited.

I am currently undertaking the Exeter Award and have found this a really rewarding opportunity to improve my employability. Through the Award I have gained experience in a wealth of areas outside my programme.

After I graduate I hope to work in the sustainable building and construction industry before becoming a teacher in Design Technology or Mathematics. I hope my degree will set the groundings I need to provide me with the confidence and skills for working in a developing industry.

Emma Gerrard, MEng Renewable Energy, Penryn Campus