Volunteer’s Week: What’s it like being a trustee?
— Lara Lalemi, Trustee
All this week, we’ve been celebrating our fabulous volunteers, that help make We The Curious who we are. For the final installment of our Volunteer’s Week blog series, we check in with Lara Lalemi — the newest member of our board and all round scientific badass, to talk about being a trustee.
So, hey there Lara 👋Thanks for joining us for Volunteer’s Week! Kick things off by telling us a bit about yourself, your role and how you got here…
I have always liked Mathematics and Science since I began studying it at home and school. My family work in healthcare, so I have always wanted to make a change to people or the world around me. During my last year of school, I set up my school’s first chemistry society which included lectures from professionals who have studied chemistry and fun experiments to show my fellow students how amazing and broad the subject of chemistry can be. I found studying a Master’s and then a PhD in Chemistry was a natural progression in my career. Throughout my undergrad years, I had various roles, the most challenging being the president of the School of Chemistry undergraduate society, Fusion. Using this as a platform, I was able to organise the University of Bristol’s first Diversity in STEM event, which successfully brought together different minority groups to discuss how we can all begin to improve our work and study spaces for everyone.
It was while I was conducting my studies into Aerosol Science, working in the field of climate change research, that I received the invitation to sit on We The Curious’ board — which felt incredible! Afterwards I officially became a part of the Trustee board. I started in January and have loved it ever since. Meeting various board members including the incredible chiefs, Donna Speed and Anna Starkey, inspired me to get more involved in science communication beyond my university.
You’re a Trustee?! That’s awesome — though it sounds kinda serious and scary! Is it? And what is it that Trustees do?
Becoming a Trustee does sound serious, I must admit but it is anything but. From what I have seen, the Trustee board works very closely with We The Curious members to make sure the organisation is the best that it can be. On the board I am the youth representative, but I also advise on EDI issues — a true passion of mine. However, it is not just about sitting on the board. One of the best things about being a part of We The Curious is how supportive the organisation is of new ideas and perspectives. I have proposed many ideas to my board mentor, some of which are being coming to fruition — It’s beyond exciting and I cannot wait to see what we can do, not only for minority groups but importantly young people within Bristol and beyond.
So, being a trustee is actually a volunteer role — I had no idea! Why did you choose to volunteer your time in this way?
There are many reasons I chose to volunteer for the board. I believe Science education centres play such a vital role in inspiring young people as well as people from all ages and walks of life to become invested in science itself. When I was younger, a visit to the National Science Museum with my family stoked my desire to understand science and art at a deeper level, sparking me to undertaking a postgraduate doctorate. As I work in environmental science, learning about We The Curious’ climate change policies and goals encouraged me to volunteer for such a forward thinking and acting organisation. I feel the organisation is committed to improving not only the lives of the people that enter the building but also the environment in which we all live in. How could I not want to volunteer? The fact that we all have the collective vision of improving the experiences and lives of whoever visits and works with We The Curious has been a catalyst for me becoming even more involved with the Trustee Board.
Why, then, is volunteering so important for our community & city?
Volunteering is important because it creates a better community. It enables communication with people from all over the city and the chance to make a difference to people wherever you can. Volunteering does not require a huge commitment; it only requires a passion for your cause. It is one of the hardest but most rewarding things one could ever do, and I am glad to be doing it with We The Curious.