Amber Williams is a calm, confident young woman who has big plans for her future once she completes her BSc (Hons) Archaeological, Anthropological & Forensic Sciences. She tells us that she’s spent the morning working in the university’s bone labs, before going on to describe her ideal career - working for the UN, or a similar organisation, helping the families and communities in disaster and war zones get back on their feet and find some closure after traumatic experiences.
“I want to have a career where I can make a difference by working for an organisation that goes to countries that have experienced atrocities or disasters. My role would be helping identify human remains and in doing so, helping the victims’ families,” Amber explains.
It’s certainly not a career for the fainthearted, but Amber is well aware of what’s involved and tells us that she has a long-standing interest in forensic science. However, it took a lot of hard work and determination on her part to get a place on the course at BU.
“I had to study for a couple of years after sixth form to try to get the entry requirements for this course,” she says. “I got my A-levels, but none of them were science subjects, so I had to do some more studying.” It took Amber three years to complete her Open University courses in Human Biology and Maths for Science, something she did part-time while working in a full-time job.
She admits that it was hard work, but that it’s all been worth it because this was the place she really wanted to study. “I love it here,” she enthuses. “The facilities are amazing - the bone labs are really good and so are the anthropology labs. They’ve got so many casts and specimens of real skeletons that it’s a brilliant environment to learn in.”
Amber isn’t content to simply work towards her own goals while she’s at BU - she is also keen to inspire others to go into a science-based career. “I’m a PAL (Peer-Assisted Learning) leader for my course, so I help first-year students. We have an hour together once a week where they can come to me with any issues or problems they’ve got, or any lectures they don’t understand.
“I’m also a student ambassador for the university, specifically for the sciences,” Amber continues. “That means I get to go into schools and do activities with school children to try to involve them in the sciences.”
Her passion stretches further than her own subject area though - Amber is keen to make sure all the students at BU have a fantastic experience, something she’s directly involved with as the Health and Wellbeing Officer on the Welfare Council for the Students’ Union.
“It’s a very interesting role that encompasses the whole of the student population. They [students] come to me with their problems, issues, or even good things that they want to keep seeing and I then work between the students, the Students’ Union and the university to keep everyone informed and make sure action is taken when and where it’s needed,” she says with a smile.
The friendly and supportive atmosphere at BU is one of the things that Amber likes the most about studying here, and it’s clearly something that she’s keen to enhance in her own way through her work on the Welfare Council, as well as through her other roles as a student ambassador and PAL leader.
“Being at BU has really developed my personal confidence,” she confides. “Before I came here I wouldn’t even have dreamed of taking part in anything I have done so far, and it’s the support from the tutors and lecturers, as well as the support from the Students’ Union, that’s helped me.”
Amber is also making the most of Bournemouth and the surrounding area, and she offers some tips to anyone new to the town about where to go and what to see: “A real must-see is Bournemouth beach. It’s so lovely and clean and it stretches for miles. A must-do is to go up in the hot air balloon in Bournemouth gardens, that’s really exciting.” She also points out that Bournemouth is great for shopping, and has some wonderful restaurants.
But she’s keen to point out that there’s plenty more to see and do just a short drive out of the town, particularly in terms of archaeological sites. “Christchurch is really good for archaeology,” she enthuses. “It’s a really nice condensed site and there’s Christchurch Priory there too, which is a lovely place to visit.”