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Postdoctoral researcher shares his outreach expertise with Romania conference delegates

Since 2016, the Oxford for Romania charity has been delivering a week-long summer school here in Oxford. They offer an enriching educational experience for Romanian students with great academic potential and limited financial means.

Photo courtesy of: LSRS

The charity is staffed entirely by volunteers, including postgraduate researcher Cristian Roman, based in the Institute of Biomedical Engineering.

This month, Cristian attended the Annual Conference of Romanian Students, Professors and Researchers in the UK (CSPCR), where he was invited to speak at a panel on Media and Civic Initiatives. Amongst the attendees were the Romanian Ambassador to the UK, the Ambassador of the Permanent Mission of Romania to the UN, and the Chief Executive of the Council of the British Chambers of Commerce in Europe.

“We were asked to give a talk on the experience accumulated by the team of volunteers since the creation of the Oxford for Romania charity summer school in 2016,” he says. “The multi-disciplinary school is designed to enable a growth mindset, to instil the spirit of community engagement, and to inspire students to lead by example.

“Aside from presenting the concept, statistics and examples of the Summer School’s impact, one of the main messages was that we are willing to share our experience with other academic communities in the UK or around the world that would be interested in implementing and developing similar educational programmes."

The 2018 Oxford for Romania Summer School welcomed 24 young people, with more than 30 academics and professionals from across Oxford and London volunteering their time. The attendees took part in workshops, activities and lectures inspired by the Oxford teaching style, delivered in a variety of Oxford colleges and schools. It included classes in everything from Robotics and Astronomy to Photography and Linguistics, providing an overview of what a university like Oxford can offer.

Photo courtesy of: LSRS

Of the young people who took part in the 2017 Summer School, two participants were admitted to Oxford, and four others to universities around the UK. One student went on to start an after-school programme for disadvantaged children in their hometown of Craiova, while another, in Iasi, launched summer courses for young people aged 11-14.

Cristian says: “Events like these provide a great opportunity to meet inspiring professionals and hear about success stories in different domains. They create an important bond between students and the professional community.”