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Celebrating Volunteers’ Week: A discussion with Sonia Beslika, RMetS Student Ambassador

Celebrating Volunteers’ Week: A discussion with Sonia Beslika, RMetS Student Ambassador


03 June 2024

As National Volunteers’ Week begins, the Royal Meteorological Society (RMetS) shines a light on the invaluable contributions of its volunteers. This week, we had the privilege of speaking with Sonia Beslika, one of our dedicated Student Ambassadors, whose passion and commitment to the field of meteorology have made a substantial impact on the Society.

Sonia shares her journey, motivations, and the rewarding experiences that come with volunteering with RMetS. 

“I’m so grateful for that moment of action that got me contacting the Society: from the start I was made to feel so welcome and encouraged and that has meant a lot to me – volunteering with RMetS has been an amazing experience.”

Throughout Volunteers’ Week, we will continue to highlight stories like Sonia’s, celebrating the diverse and dedicated individuals who help drive RMetS’ mission forward. Stay tuned for more inspiring tales of volunteerism, and please join us in expressing our heartfelt gratitude to all RMetS volunteers for their support and enthusiasm.


A discussion with Sonia Beslika, RMetS Student Ambassador.

RMetS: Hi Sonia, great to speak with you! Tell us about yourself, your background and what you do outside of volunteering with RMetS. 

SB: Well, I’m a mature student following an interest in meteorology, which I find fascinating – particularly anything to do with water!  

I got started through an excellent Open University (OU) course ‘Science: The Weather’, which was then developed in partnership with the Royal Meteorological Society. 

That’s how I first came to join the Society, became inspired to work towards a career in weather and climate, and settled on continuing my studies with the OU.  

I am now about to start my third stage modules in my undergraduate Mathematics degree and I’m working towards that goal while on a career break taking care of my young family.  

The world of STEM is a new adventure for me as my first degree was in Classics.  

It was a leap of faith to set out on this path and I’m very glad I did. My studies have opened so many areas of interest to me and I’m excited about what adventures the future might hold. 

RMetS: And how did you come to volunteer with RMetS? 

SB: I first saw a poster for the RMetS Student Ambassador Scheme in the Society’s newsletter last summer. The Open University wasn’t on the list of participating universities but in a moment of inspiration I wrote to ask if the Society would consider including the OU and allow me to apply for it. 

I didn’t expect anything to come of it and I was unsure whether as a mature student I would be eligible to participate. I’m so grateful for that moment of action that got me contacting the Society: from the start I was made to feel so welcome and encouraged and that has meant a lot to me – volunteering with RMetS has been an amazing experience. 

RMetS: What do you do in your capacity as a volunteer?

SB: As an RMetS Student Ambassador, I raise awareness of the Society’s membership and programme of activities amongst OU students. 

It has brought me into contact with so many interesting people both within my own university and further afield. I have found that students are really interested and want to find out more about how to apply their studies in the direction of weather and climate but are not aware of the resources and support available to them at RMetS.  

The Society works so hard to provide excellent student and early careers outreach and I’m really proud to make those opportunities better known at The Open University. 

RMetS: What are some of the highpoints of your volunteering with RMetS so far? What benefits have you seen? 

SB: My volunteering with RMetS has helped me gain in skills and confidence that I hope will stand me in good stead as I return to work.  

As student ambassadors we participate in one career event at our institution representing the Society. My event involved me taking part in an online career panel event called Inclusive STEM Futures, alongside a host of other guests from well-known institutions and companies, and I answered questions and gave a presentation on the benefits of student membership with RMetS.  

I had never done anything like that before, I was really daunted, and I would not have previously imagined myself capable of doing it! But I was able to do it and that was largely due to the amazing support I received: RMetS listened to me practise, gave me feedback and tips on how to improve, and were there on the day to cheer me on 💙  

Another definite highlight this year was setting up a Weather and Climate Club at The Open University. This was an idea that I initially brought to RMetS in my volunteering application, and they encouraged me to give it a try. The club successfully opened in March and we have over 70 members already! It’s a lovely space of support and community, bringing together students from the physical sciences, earth sciences, social sciences, computing and humanities – all walks of life finding mutual support over shared interests in weather and climate.

RMetS: What advice would you give to anyone considering volunteering with RMetS? 

SB: To anyone curious about volunteering with RMetS, don’t hesitate to get in touch and find out more: there are many opportunities to do so, it will help you become connected to the world of weather and climate, meet interesting people and gain a network, as well as skills that are highly valued by employers.

The student ambassador scheme is a brilliant opportunity that I wholeheartedly recommend! The Society’s remit is really broad; they cover industry and academia so it’s a great place to get started if you’re a beginner. Don’t feel you need to be an expert already to get involved. Since they represent all interests in the field, you’ll learn so much yourself while sharing their activities with others.

Being a student ambassador has helped me stay encouraged in my aspirations and I really commend the efforts the Society has made to broaden its definition of early careers to include as many people as possible in its outreach.

3 June 2024

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