There have been lots of exciting developments since my last newsletter.
I am particularly excited to be able to tell you that I have been accepted to King’s College London Mathematics School (KCLMS), a specialist state funded sixth form for gifted mathematicians aged 16 to 19 run in partnership with King’s College London. Since I consider myself a mathematician, attending a specialist maths school (one of only two in the country) is a dream come true.
I first stumbled across KCLMS a year before it opened. Searching the web for mathematical challenges, I discovered the school’s weekly maths challenges. I began submitting my solutions and it was not long before I was encouraged to apply. However, I was only 11 and the secondary school I would attend had been set in stone. As I now know, life rarely goes as planned; it meanders and sometimes goes off course. It is in those moments, where you unexpectantly find yourself wondering in unchartered territory, that you are most open to exploring other opportunities and experiences. And so, in a twist of fate, four years later, I found that attending KCLMS was a possibility I was free to explore.
I was fortune to attend a Taster Day at KCLMS. As soon as I stepped into the school I knew it had exceeded my high expectations. The environment was dynamic; promising a challenging and engaging education that breaks boundaries by going above and beyond the confines of the curriculum and content required for examinations. The school empowers students to develop mathematical thinking and problem solving; a philosophy that is even imbued in the design of the building, where pods and inviting walls lined with whiteboards encourage collaboration and teamwork to solve maths challenges. The school also hums with a unique social vibrancy and energy that comes from all its students sharing a genuine passion and love of mathematics. In short, it is a mathematician’s paradise. If you know a young mathematician, I recommend you encourage them to apply. I am happy to answer any questions they may have on the application process or on the school itself.
I am continuing to work as a Peer Outreach Worker (POW) for the Mayor of London. I have gotten to meet and work with many inspiring charities, in particular charities that support young people with learning disabilities and young autistic people, such as United Response and the Camden Society.
I am very excited to tell you that the ethics department has approved the autism research study I proposed. I will shortly begin working with a UCL PhD student at UCL’s Centre for Research in Autism and Education (CRAE) to carry out a research study on perceptual capacity and anxiety in autism. I am really fortunate to be working with an amazing group of people at CRAE who believe it is important to involve the autistic community in autism research so that we can ensure that the research adequately reflects and meets our needs.
As I mentioned in my last newsletter, I am now more committed than ever to ensuring that children and young people like me have positive school experiences, where their uniqueness is recognized and respected, where they are accepted for who they are. As part of this commitment, I am very passionate about tackling bullying in schools, especially bullying of SEN students. I am really proud to announce that I was recently selected to be on the Diana Award National Anti-bullying Youth Board. I am really grateful to have been given a national platform on which to share my experiences and on which to promote the importance of tolerance, inclusion, acceptance and embracing people for who they are. I am really looking forward to working with inspiring students from all over the country to combat bullying so that all students have a happy, rewarding and fulfilling school experience.
Finally, I am really honoured to be giving a speech on inclusion at City Hall on 8 March 2018 in celebration of International Women’s Day. I will be one of 10 speakers who have been asked to celebrate the achievements of women and to motivate the audience to declare bold actions to progress gender parity. I am really excited to have been given this opportunity at a time when I am really hopeful for my future and the future of girls and young women around the world. We are in the midst of an unprecedented global movement for women’s rights, equality and justice. In the blink of an eye, there has been a cosmic shift and monumental leap towards gender equality. The prevalence of sexual harassment, violence and discrimination against women has finally been exposed and acknowledged. In the last few months, I have witnessed a renewed determination for change that promises a brighter future for girls and young women around the world.
Each one of us has the opportunity to transform this momentum into action, to change the landscape and create a new, fairer world – a world that is inclusive not only of women, but of all who have been disenfranchised and have lacked the power to be heard or have lacked the power to change the society they live in. It is time to step out of the shadows and into the light.
No change is too small, because collectively we have the power to change the world. I hope you join me in my mission to ensure we live in a kinder, more tolerate world where people embrace each other for who they are. Whether you have a disability or not, are male or female, we all deserve to feel safe and to be celebrated for the unique qualities that make us who we are.