RARE  RISINGSTARS - The UK’s Top 10 Black Students
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No. 6


James Frater

MBBS Medicine
Kings College London
Academics and Community Service

James Frater

When applying to the Amos Bursary, James wrote that studying Medicine would enable him to ‘inspire other young people who feel like they are at a disadvantage or those who have been deprived of hope and the necessary opportunities required to accomplish their aspirations’. James’ story reflects his dedication to motivating and inspiring those individuals who have gone through similar social and educational experiences to himself. James is proof that, when you give yourself the chance to shine and you put your mind to the targets you set yourself, the sky is the limit.

James was born in London, but moved to a rural part of Jamaica very soon after. He lived there until was around 7 years old before he moved back to the UK. He was born with severe asthma so was in and out of hospital for a long time. When he moved back to the UK, he grew up with his mother and older sister. While at school, James faced several obstacles and it certainly wasn’t a straightforward journey for him. From a young age he was set on studying Medicine and nothing could change his mind.

An example of this dedication can be seen in 2015. During his gap year, James spent three months in The Gambia where he assisted with the PROLIFICA Project. The project’s aim was to show that with effective screening, treatment and prevention of Hepatitis B, the incidence of liver cancer will decrease. During this time, he developed his laboratory and clinical skills, while also teaching Mathematics and English to students in various different orphanages.

Since gaining a place on the Medicine course at King’s College London, teachers at his secondary school regularly ask him to go back and give assembly talks. He is also asked to mentor students at the school; role modelling is an extremely significant part of what James does so well. He has also successfully provided 1-1 support to students applying to Medicine and Russell group universities, including mock interview sessions.

“There were a lot of obstacles – it wasn’t a straightforward journey.”

Identifying as a black Caribbean male, James is very aware of the high exclusion rate that Caribbean males experience at school. Being a role model for black Caribbean boys is pivotal. He highlights that even within the black community, there are minorities and other complex identities. He felt that it was his duty to become the African Caribbean Society President at KCL; he achieved just that.

As President of the KCL’s ACS, he ran ‘Culture Shock’, a charity show held in London which was in support of the African and Caribbean Leukaemia Trust. Throughout the project, he managed and oversaw more than 120 students who helped to put it together. In his role, he also pushed events and discussions relating to mental health and careers within the ACS, since these crucially important topics are occasionally forgotten about within the KCL ACS space.

He recognised the lack of representation of black students at King’s, so founded the ‘Black Men at King’s College London’ and ‘Queens at King’s’ projects. The former highlighted the lack of black male students at King’s, while also showing that they can and do exist in such institutions. The latter showcased the extraordinary things that black female students were doing alongside completing their degrees, in order to inspire prospective and current students. Both have encouraged prospective students to choose King’s as a place to study.

James is a KCL Student Ambassador and an Access to Medicine Ambassador at King’s. His aims are to engage with young people who come from ‘disadvantaged’ backgrounds, especially young black males. As a member of the Amos Bursary since 2013, he wanted to develop a relationship between the charity and King’s. James went on to organise a two-day conference held at King’s which had two main objectives. The first was to get parents involved in the UCAS process and to get them to understand how serious mental health can be at university, specifically for BAME students. This took place on the first day. The second objective was about inspiring the young black boys in attendance, all of which were between Year 11 and Year 13. As a result of the relationship created by James, King’s now provide Amos Bursary scholarships to male students from African and Caribbean descent.

James is also now an Ambassador for the Amos Bursary and is a regular panel member at the annual Reach Society Careers Conference. He is the youth representative on the STEM panel and one of the Amos Bursary team of undergraduates who speaks at their ‘Perfect 10’ workshop. He is the Student Lead for the Amos Bursary’s Year 12 and 13 students and has received the ‘Outstanding Student Award for Personal and Professional Development’ given by the charity.

James has secured an internship with the Widening Participation department at King’s. He will be helping to run summer schools throughout the summer and will be working closely on King’s’ BAME strategy. He received the ‘Be Inspired Youth Award 2017’ from the Association of Jamaican Nationals based in Birmingham for his contribution to the Amos Bursary and youth work. He is a force to be reckoned with, and a face to most certainly remember.

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