A Pharmacy student at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) will be raising awareness of Type 2 diabetes this summer.
Volunteering at the Diabetes UK roadshow in Derby this August is just part of Akila Patel's ongoing role as a Community Champion.
Akila has been trained to work in the community to help people manage the potentially deadly condition and is delighted to be making a difference. What's more, her extra-curricular activities have boosted her confidence and communication skills.
She said: "I got involved with this project because the topic is interesting, I've learnt about diabetes on my Pharmacy course and a family member has diabetes.
"The project gives you the opportunity to make a difference and I wanted to raise awareness in my own community, setting up an event at my local pharmacy as a result.
"I used to be quiet and shy, but I am more confident and now enjoy presenting in front of people. I stepped up for the role of being the Royal Pharmaceutical Society student champion this year because of this growth in confidence.
"I have just had my pre-registration interviews and talking about my community work has made me stand out a lot."
Akila is one of a team of students trained as a Community Champion through DMU's Square Mile programme - which utilises the skills of students and staff to benefit the community - in partnership with the charity Diabetes UK.
Her role has seen her head to Louisville, Kentucky, as part of a DMU delegation to launch an international partnership to transform communities in both cities.
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The 21-year-old said: "We visited local organisations that carried out healthcare programmes and got insights to try and improve the project here. It was really exciting.
"The trip gave me a sense of engagement, enabled me to experience a new and diverse culture and will improve my employability prospects."
Having just finished her third year, Akila originally chose to study at DMU because of the location, facilities and course content.
She said: "I came to the Open Day and saw it had all the facilities and support, the lecturers were nice and the course looked interesting."
Her favourite module is Pharmacy Practice, because "we put into practice our knowledge from other modules and make sense of things in terms of real situations with patients", and Akila has also enjoyed her placements.
She said: "In the first year, placements at community pharmacies help you understand what pharmacy is and in the second and third year you have clinical placements in hospitals as well to build up your experience and skills."
Akila will be spending six weeks at a Leicester community pharmacy this summer before coming back to DMU for her final year, where her highlight so far has been meeting lots of people through her course and Square Mile.
She added: "I'm glad I came to DMU, as I've had opportunities you wouldn't get elsewhere."
Posted on Wednesday 22nd June 2016