Interview with... Hannah Pollard

Interview with... Hannah Pollard

Over the years at Team Up, we have been so lucky to have been supported by lots of lovely people who truly inspire us. We are especially grateful to our volunteer tutors and committee members for all of their hard work and dedication.

We have chosen to profile a former tutor to publicly recognise those who ensure that we can continue changing lives!

This time, we caught up with former tutor and Imperial alumnus Hannah Pollard. During the course of her time with Team Up, Hannah left a considerable mark on those that she tutored and her commitment to our cause made her stand out as an exceptional individual. Hannah tutored with Team Up in 2013-14 at Battersea Park School, and now works as a Cyber Security Analyst at KPMG. 

Posted by David Walker on 11 December 2015

Name: Hannah Pollard

Age: 21

University: Imperial College London 

School tutored at: Battersea Park School

Job title: Cyber Security Analyst at KPMG

What have you been up to since your time with Team Up?

I have started a graduate job at KPMG in Cyber Security as an Analyst and am loving it so far. It’s challenging but I’m enjoying the responsibility.

How and why did you get involved with us?

I first heard about Team Up from an email that told me about what the organisation did and how I could be involved in the programme, and I was hooked from the outset. My main motivation for getting involved was my own experiences of going to a state school and finding myself in a minority once I got to university. The number of people from a similar background to myself was an awful lot lower than I was expecting, and it took me two years to find someone who went to a comprehensive!

My experiences led me to Team Up and I found out some shocking statistics about the negative correlation between being on free school meals and having opportunities to progress in an academic and professional context. This stark injustice was something that Team Up was working hard to fight, and I wanted to help them by volunteering my time to help children reach their potential. It seemed like such a small commitment compared to the huge benefit for everyone involved.

What have you found most rewarding about your experience?

The whole process with Team Up was hugely rewarding, but the thing that stuck out the most was seeing my tutees come along leaps and bounds in both their self-confidence and knowledge. Going through past papers nearer to the end of the programme, I saw firsthand the extent to which what I had taught them had really been going in. The fact that they were genuinely in a better position to sit their exams because of the tuition was so rewarding and inspiring!

Team Up also helped me a lot when it came to interviewing for jobs as it gave me lots of examples of where I’ve shown leadership and taken initiative etc. Team Up also offers great networking opportunities that I’ve found really beneficial.

What was it like to be a volunteer tutor for Team Up?

It was really fun! I really enjoyed sharing my passion for science (specifically Biology) with young people. I’ve loved being part of such an important cause, and having fun while making a difference!

Who is your biggest inspiration?

This might sound strange, but I think Bill Gates is great. I did a degree in Biology and specialised in parasitology. I found that at the end of every lecture on an awful tropical disease affecting millions of people, the lecturer would talk about how the situation was improving solely because of the work that The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was doing. I really admire the efforts of foundations and charities who make it their sole aim to contribute to the betterment of our society, and although the work big foundations do is incredible, I am also really impressed with how smaller charities like Team Up manage to have such a huge impact with such a small but dedicated team at the helm.

How do you think we can improve social mobility?

I think so much of it comes down to confidence. In my personal experience, all my privately educated friends have heaps of confidence in their ability to work and achieve a goal, no matter how out of reach that may be. My experience at school instilled exactly the opposite feeling in me! I was actively encouraged not to apply to Imperial because my teachers thought it would be too challenging for me to cope and in their own words ‘everyone would be much smarter than me.’

Making our society fairer is obviously a hugely complex issue with hundreds of factors but although my suggestion is a simple one, I really think the confidence in yourself and your ability to work hard at something even if it’s challenging is a resilience we are often not instilling in our young people.

Describe Team Up in three words.

Rewarding, inspiring and (so) needed!