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Quickfire questions with Tom Underwood

From studying abroad in Copenhagen to focusing on the role the NHS has in tackling inactivity, Tom Underwood (BA Language, Culture and Communication, 2019) tells us about his time at Warwick and why he wants to improve the world for people.

Why did you choose Warwick?
The Centre for Applied Linguistics (CAL) looked and sounded completely different to any other department I'd come across, with an impactful area of research with wide applicability and amazing quality teaching.

What are you doing now?
Designing and facilitating change in the health system as a part of the NHS Horizons team. I work a lot on increasing the role the NHS has in tackling inactivity through working closely with Sport England, the Department for Health and Social Care, and many UK charities. I'm also a part-time Master’s student at the Institute of Innovation and Public Purpose at UCL, which is a world-leading centre for thinking differently about the state and innovation.

What motivates you to do what you do?
I believe that change can happen in everything if want it to, and nothing is inevitable. I want to have the biggest impact in improving the world for people and planetary health that I can, and I want to have a fun time doing it. I like helping people from the arts and sciences work together to solve tricky problems.

How has your time at Warwick influenced what you do now?
I use my learning from my Applied Linguistics degree every single day in my work in designing the future of the NHS and Health and Social Care system. The solid grounding in qualitative and quantitative research methods and emphasis on research is extremely useful for the everyday work of strategy and policy. The tools and ideas taught at CAL are starting to become really important in public service, and innovation thinking in governments across the world, so I have always felt ahead of the game. I also found my team, NHS Horizons, through CAL.

Favourite memory?
I loved my year abroad in Copenhagen, which CAL encouraged me to take.

Best thing about the Warwick community?
Some of my closest friends are from Warwick, and they are all people who cared for each other hugely. There was a strong culture of that.

Favourite place on campus?
The Sports Hub!

Tom in a striped shirt in front of a colourful wall