Nathalie Podder

Portrait of Nathalie Podder
Deputy President (Welfare)

Hiya! My name is Nathalie and I am continuing on in my second year as your Deputy President (Welfare). 

I was inspired to run for the role because of my student journey, which posed plenty of challenges for my mental and physical health, my sense of belonging and my sense of identity.  In the end, it took me six years to graduate from a 3-year BSc in Physics, and I fought hard to find myself again. In my final year of study,  I was granted a miracle diagnosis of Hashimoto's Disease, which turned out to be the missing piece that allowed me to fully heal and feel like myself again for the first time since leaving high school.

Facing all of these challenges has forced me to shift my priorities from a life based around achievements to a life based around values. My brain was stuck in a fog for 6 years, and as a result I was not able to think as clearly and as well as I used to, at the detriment of my academic metrics. I had no choice but to take a long, hard look at myself and re-evaluate the parts of my life that create meaning. 

This ultimately led me to the realisation that my true purpose in life is to advocate for those who are going through challenges and create spaces for them to be heard. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the students from the liberation networks, campaign groups, and wellbeing reps to achieve this purpose.  I look forward to all the things we can accomplish this year in making the Union and the College a safer and more inclusive place for all Imperial students of all backgrounds. 

What I'm bringing to the role:  

The main thing I offer is a wealth of life experience - overcoming all of my aforementioned challenges has made me into a stronger and more resilient person that sees obstacles as opportunities for growth. Having already been in the role for the past year, I have built a rapport with stakeholders in the College and higher education sector that will help the Officer Trustees achieve our goals as a team. I also keep things light-hearted by baking pastries, sharing photos of my cats, and playing pranks on my fellow Officer Trustees.

My Goals

  • Do a review of student housing and cost of living
  • Make the Union a safer place for survivors of sexual violence
  • Complete the Safety & Security Review that started in the previous academic review
  • Complete the College's review of its student disciplinary procedures
  • Review the Union's member's disciplinary and suspension procedures
  • Form networks with other London and Russel Group Student Unions to lobby more effectively on systemic issues such as housing, cost of living, and road safety 
  • Formulate an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) strategy and action plan for the Union
  • Work with the Deputy President (Clubs & Societies) to review the culture of clubs and societies
  • Work with Student Services to review the mental health and wellbeing provisions at Imperial 

My Hobbies and Interests:

  • I LOVE running. I am competing in cross country and middle-distance track at Thames Valley Harriers, an external running club that caters to all ages, genders and abilities
  • I am partnered with Guildford Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre (RASASC) as a fundraisers; I am signed up to race for them in the London Big Half in September 2022 and have raised over £1000 so far. You can check out my fundraising page here
  • I am an avid baker and have mastered the art of vegan puffed pastries
  • I love Pusheen and have a subscription Pusheen box that arrived 4 times a year with Pusheen-branded merchandise that improves my quality of life
  • I have two tabby cats that are siblings: their names are Nyanya and Tiger. I will admit, they are not the brightest bulbs! 

Read my April report to Scrutiny Committee.

Get in touch

I will be keeping you up to date with my blog, as well as by writing articles for Felix. Do feel free to email me if you would like to have a chat – I’m always down for a meetup over coffee!