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Saba Alhagagi Case Study

Saba Alhagagi 

Biomedical Science student and Students in Public Engagement Learning Circle Chair Saba Alhagagi shares how her passion for public engagement has grown throughout her degree. 

A growing interest in public engagement

“Having benefitted from the Warwick Scholars programme when I applied to university, I was keen to give back to the initiative,” Saba explains. “Helping with peer support initiatives earlier in my degree helped build a passion for outreach.” 

Saba was drawn to the WIE (Warwick Institute of Engagement) by the idea of expanding her outreach activities to include academic engagement with broader audiences. After initially joining WIE as a Student Fellow, she became the Chair of the Students in Public Engagement Learning Circle in her third year and continues to encourage students to upskill and develop their public engagement skills.

“The WIE helps everyone in the University engage with the public, from academics and students to technical and professional services staff. Students play a unique role as a fresh set of eyes, and because of their ability to use extensive online networks for outreach,” she continues. 

Saba also mentions her third year ‘Science Communication’ module as vital in developing the communication skills necessary to engage with wider audiences – skills she has enthusiastically applied to a range of initiatives, including after-school science clubs, women in STEM events and her activities with the Learning Circle.

Paving the way for other students 

Saba’s involvement with WIE has allowed her both to expand her involvement in outreach work and to shape students’ role in public engagement more broadly.  

“The WIE offers a lot of funding for public engagement activities, and I'm on the panel for reviewing funding,” she continues. “It’s fulfilling to see staff and students co-creating and collaborating, whilst ensuring that other Warwick students can access training for valuable skills.” 

Saba sees public engagement as a growing priority for the University and is excited by the prospect of greater international public engagement in future. “It would also be nice to train everyone in using social media for public engagement,” she adds.

Pursuing further research 

After finishing her Integrated Masters, Saba aims to pursue PhD-level study in the microbiology of infectious diseases. Alongside her involvement with the WIE, she credits Warwick’s course structure and approach to teaching for this decision. 

“I have really enjoyed the structure of my modules. My Masters course offers a wide variety of subjects to choose from, and you get more choice and flexibility as you progress through your degree,” she says.  

“It makes all the difference that you are taught by people that are actively researching what they are teaching. Ultimately, the teaching in my department really inspired me to pursue a career in research. If there is something you are interested in after the lecture, you can always approach the academics to discuss it, and my lecturers were also instrumental in helping me find summer internships.”