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Meet the Team: Yara Alagha

I am a Research Development Assistant at the University of Sheffield Research Services Department. I am also a YCEDE project administrator working with YCEDE colleagues on developing and supporting projects that improve the on-course experiences of postgraduate students in academia.

Formerly a parliamentary researcher for a group of independent Senators in the Irish Senate (Seanad Éireann). I worked on the cross-party parliamentary committees including policy areas relating to higher education, youth, justice and equality.

A current board member for Amal Association, an all-womens led Muslim NGO working to improve the lives of migrant Muslim women in Ireland. Formerly a board member for Women for Election, an NGO working on increasing female participation in Irish politics. I completed my MA in 2019 in Public Affairs and Political Communication where I completed my research on the Muslim community and their attitudes toward political engagement in Ireland.

What do you love about your job?

The best thing about my job as a project administrator in YCEDE is that I not only get to be a tiny part of a researcher’s educational journey but also, we get to witness that progression. It’s an honour to see students engage and contribute to research fields that they are passionate about, particularly when that work relates to improving the lives of underrepresented groups.

It is also just as lovely getting to know the students and following their journeys. YCEDE is not just a consortium or association, it has developed a community of like-minded staff and students to work and tackle inequalities in academia collectively. Our partnership between the five institutions means that we are not only introduced to academic units we otherwise would not have access to, but it also means we learn from each other, all of us working in different roles and capacities but unified on our passion for equality.

Learnings from YCEDE

As someone who is new to UK higher institutions after relocating, it was interesting to learn just the number of resources and opportunities that exists for PGRs but due to the inaccessibility of that information, it is unequally distributed. Access to information is just as important as the resource available. It is simply not enough for us to develop services for students when that service is inaccessible as you inevitably further breed the same inequity that hinders educational progression. This is why access to information and tackling information inequality is considered at every point of YCEDE project planning and management.


Challenges for me perhaps have more to do with my introduction to HE institutions in the UK as someone who has resided and worked in Ireland. Developing an awareness of the internal dynamics of the YCEDE partnered institutions and how those bureaucracies can perpetuate inequality and marginalization through differential treatment by race, ethnicity, gender, and class.