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Justyna Urbanczyk

I started my UCLan journey in 2011, as an undergraduate, studying Religion, Culture & Society with Philosophy. Throughout my degree, I worked hard to do what I enjoy and gained new skills and experience working for the university’s Welcome Team and the Green Ladder Project. In my second year, I took advantage of the UCLan Applied Languages programme and earned a certificate in Japanese language and culture, with distinction. Towards the end of my second year, I was already looking for more opportunities to enhance my global experiences. It was thanks to the support of my Personal Tutor that I was later able to go on a year abroad and study at Friedrich-Schiller University in Jena, Germany. While abroad, I chose to study modules from disciplines that went beyond my current programme, including Economics, Language and Literature, and Ecology and Environmental Management. This experience helped me to discover the value of taking a multi-disciplinary approach to the subjects I enjoyed. After coming back from my year abroad, I took on even more roles within the university: working as a Student Ambassador and volunteering as a Peer Mentor and Well-being Buddy to support fellow students. Despite the increased workload and my extra-curricular commitments, I graduated with a First-Class Honours Degree and was also awarded an Inspirational Award by my peers.

Just before my graduation, in 2015, I began working as an Undergraduate Research Intern on a multi-disciplinary project about Sustainability and Well-being (WellSust Project).

Justyna Urbanczyk

It was this summer internship that sparked my interest in health and sustainability, and provided me with opportunities to gain valuable experience in academic research. After completing the internship, I continued as a part-time Graduate Research Assistant for the WellSust project in research on UCLan Students’ Well-being while also working as a Curriculum Support Assistant for students with Special Educational Needs at a Secondary School in Greater Manchester.

In 2016, I was encouraged by my supervisors to undertake a doctoral degree in Sustainable Living with tuition-fees funding from UCLan’s School of Engineering. As a young female, with a background in Arts and Humanities, I felt this was an amazing chance for me to go out of my comfort zone and expand my horizons. Unsurprisingly, my doctoral journey so far has been full of opportunities that allow me to expand my knowledge and gain new skills on both a personal and professional level. I have since presented my research at several conferences within the UK and supported various projects across different departments within and outside of UCLan. Since February 2018, I worked with the Athena Swan Self-Assessment Team in the Faculty of Science and Technology. In March this year, I was also given the opportunity to go to Sri Lanka to conduct data analysis as part of an EU funded project on Capacity Building in Asia for Resilience Education (CABARET). I gladly take advantage of all opportunities that come my way and work hard to achieve my best – I wish to inspire my colleagues and fellow students to discover their potential and cherish their achievements. I have genuinely enjoyed my UCLan experience so far and am grateful for the many ways it has helped me to grow at such a crucial stage of my early-career life.

23 May 2018