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Urban Scholars Team

Welcome to our Urban Scholars team page. Below are our team members:

Dr. Antoine Rogers

Dr Antoine Rogers joined the Urban Scholars team in June 2017 and brings a wide range of experience in the areas of research and teaching and learning.  Over 10 years first as a lecturer and eventually as an Associate Professor in Sociology, Antoine delivered a range of modules at the Undergraduate and Post graduate level in politics, sociology, criminology, international social policy and qualitative research methods. As head of Outreach, Antoine gained extensive experience of work with young people in schools (Key Stage 3) and colleges (Key Stage 4 and 5) having designed and delivered a wide range of educational activities to promote widening participation engagement and retention.  He is a trained Social Worker with considerable professional experience of work with Looked After Children both in the UK and previously in his native Chicago.

His inclusive teaching practice and student engagement reflects an understanding of a variety of learning styles. As a Higher Education Academy (HEA) Senior Fellow, his pedagogical approach has been recognised as an effective in raising the aspirations of all students and particularly those from underrepresented groups. Antoine’s research and writing portfolio includes peer reviewed journal articles; book chapters; and edited collections focusing on charity finance management and governance and the broader role played by charities and non government organisations in a civil society. He currently serves on the Board of Trustee for the Campaign for Better Transport. 


Tarek Qureshi

Tarek Qureshi recently joined the Urban Scholars team in November 2023 as a programme officer. With an academic career that spans almost three decades he brings a wealth of experience to this role. His research specialism is in the field of post-colonial studies and social policy. As a lecturer at Birbeck, University of London he taught social geography and sociology at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. His research interests reflect a lived experience of being subjected to racialised practises and discriminatory processes. He has been commissioned to work on research projects that focus on unequal service delivery to underrepresented groups, ranging from social work to policing and from education to health care. He has examined the specific educational challenges faced by Black and Ethnic Minority communities and the impact on attainment deficits. The main conclusion of his research points to the importance of targeting support to groups based on an intersectional measure of social deprivation, racialisation and gender conformity. His work also stresses the need to challenge structural barriers and institutional culture that unwittingly exclude certain groups.


His commitment to social justice issues has led to a lifelong appreciation of anti-racist strategies and the championing of widening participation. He is firmly of the belief that when engaging with students from with the non-traditional backgrounds it is about enabling them to see that accessing HE is achievable. In his experience students from such backgrounds are no less well motivated than any other group of students and a diverse student body can benefit the academic life of the University. He states, ‘that widening access is at its core about myth busting and breaking down institutional barriers’.


He has also contributed to equality, diversity and inclusion work of a number of public bodies including, the Arts Council, the Met Police and the Association of Colleges. He has also worked as UniConnect officer for the Office of Students.


At most weekends Tarek can be found cheering on this beloved local non-league football team, Clapton Community Football Club. This grassroots organisation is involved in several voluntary community projects in East London, including a food bank and a homework club for local school children, he is a keen supporter of this very important work.

Catherine Langley

Catherine has been a part of the Urban Scholars Programme since she was fourteen, when she became an Urban Scholar dating all the way back to 2013. Since then, she finished secondary school, college and went to Brunel University Law School, where she graduated with a LLB in Law.

Whilst at University, she worked as an Ambassador for the Programme for three years. She also published a report dealing with clause 44 of the Domestic Abuse Bill 2022; this was submitted to Parliament and used to assist in parliamentary debate. Due to her academic achievement, dedication, and motivation, she obtained the Queen Mother Scholarship from the Inns of Court. Once she graduated from Brunel, Catherine continued her education at the University of Law, where she obtained her masters degree in family law, and the BPC, which is the bar professional training course, which is the degree needed to qualify as a barrister in England and Wales. In November 2022, she took Call, which means Catherine was called to the Bar of England and Wales, and she now practices civil law.

She is pleased to be re-joining the Programme as a tutor, and she is excited to use her previous experience on the Programme to assist the new generation of scholars. Catherine has experience in conducting workshops dedicated to school-aged children between 11- 17 in her role as a private SATs, GCSEs, and A-level tutor. Through her line of work, she has also developed a sensitive approach to engaging with young people to ensure they are heard and understood. Catherine joined the Urban Scholars team to assist young people in reaching their potential and to provide opportunities and guidance to develop key skills and gain exposure to unique opportunities. 

Jon Cheek

Jon Cheek is the Founder and Director of UniTasterDays Ltd. Since 2020, he has actively contributed to the Brunel Urban Scholars programme, delivering independent and interactive workshops offering comprehensive guidance on various university-related topics. Jon's expertise includes university applications, supporting option choices, crafting compelling personal statements and ensuring scholars develop a thorough understanding of student finance.

The workshops Jon delivers on the Brunel Urban Scholars programme are designed to facilitate student engagement, drive academic achievement, and emphasise the accessibility of higher education for all. Each session strives to achieve two key objectives: (1) empowering Brunel Urban Scholars to make informed decisions about their future academic paths and (2) fostering an enjoyable learning environment as scholars explore exciting career prospects ahead of them.

Jon also manages the day-today operations of, an online website that connects students, teachers, and parents to university events, offered by universities UK-wide. UniTasterDays also serves as a training provider, offering independent workshops to schools across the United Kingdom, working with thousands of students each year. UniTasterDays is a Careers England Member organisation, an affiliate member of The Careers Development Institute and a collaborative partner of HELOA.

With a career rooted in higher education, Jon's experience spans over two decades, working with three universities before founding UniTasterDays in 2012. He has also served as an Executive Director at the Higher Education External Relations Association and has been published by organisations including Which University, The CDI, and National Careers Week.

Jon is also the editor of the annual Teachers’ Guide to University, Students’ Guide to University and Parents’ Guide to University brochures.

Ali Khan

Ali Khan has worked with the Urban Scholars for two years, taking part in STEM workshops, revision sessions for Biology and Physics, talks and support for the programme. He brings 19 years of experience working with schools, students, and teachers. He is currently the Founder and Director of STEM Innovation, working to promote STEM in schools, colleges, and universities. Ali Khan has used his own experiences and collaborations to produce fun and interactive workshops, to get students thinking, helping to raise aspirations and inspire. He works with a number of organisations such as the Royal Navy, Small Piece Trust, Rolls Royce, Thales, GSK, National Motor Museum, Beaulieu, Frontline, Aspen, Honeywell and charities across Sussex.

Ali aims to inspire and get more girls into engineering. 12 years working as a senior scientist at GSK has given a good foundation for experiments and safety, and 4 years working at Chichester University gave a great understanding on how schools and students work.  In this time Ali was able to obtain a PGCE certificate, and a HR Diploma in HR Management which has helped him run STEM Innovation and become one of the leaders in STEM delivery.  

Kristy Lowdon

Kirsty Lowdon joined the Urban Scholars team around 14 years ago and brings a wide range of experience in the areas of assessment and teaching and learning. She has always worked hard to balance creativity with the essential tools for assessment success in the delivery of her sessions. Kirsty has worked as a Secondary English and Media teacher since 2004 having trained via the Brunel University based SWELTEC PGCE system.

Kirsty currently works within the mainstream school system as an Assistant Headteacher in charge of Teaching and Learning and Professional Development but has spent much time with Pastoral support, Inclusion and Raising Standards. She has spent many years working for examination boards holding Chief Examiner posts and Principal Moderator posts in both English and Media Studies. This role has also included the development of new curriculum policies working alongside OFQUAL in the process.  Despite lots of work with professional bodies, Kirsty’s heart is with the teaching of young people. She has always been keen to actively promote engagement with the unknown and embraces the opportunity to work with The National Film and Television School and The BFI, offering creative opportunities for young people within the production world. Kirsty drives ambition and high achievement in all areas of her work. Her teaching style showcases originality and aims to encourage developing skillsets that optimise success.  


Symon Quy

Symon Quy joined the Urban Scholars team in September 2017 and brings over thirty years’ experience in English, film studies and medical education across the secondary, tertiary and Higher Education sectors. Symon leads the BA English (Secondary with QTS) course at the University of Bedfordshire where he has developed diverse and inclusive provision.

Symon worked as an English teacher and senior leader in west London state schools for over twenty years. This gave him a robust grounding in teaching pedagogies and working with disengaged learners and marginalised communities. He left teaching to take a Principal lectureship at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama where he led the English, Drama and Media PGCE course.  In 2008 he was appointed Assistant Dean at KSS Deanery, University of London, where he served as an educational consultant for medical simulation.

As an author and consultant Symon has written extensively on English, film and medical education. His publications include Teaching Short Film for the British Film Institute and Splice -The Journal of Contemporary Cinema. He continues to work with young film-makers as Project Manager of Film Academy at the National Film and Television School each year, as he believes it is vital to support learners in creative work.

Symon has a passion for supporting new entrants to Higher Education and specialises in English, Film and Media Studies, Initial Teacher Education and the observation of learning and teaching. He is a founding member and current Treasurer of the Media Education Association. Symon was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship in recognition of his services to education. 

Francesca Danomole

Francesca Danmole has over 12 years' experience working across the Charity Sector, Public Sector and Private sector to deliver on policy outcomes in the UK, Commonwealth and Middle East. Throughout Francesca’s work, she has created space for underrepresented groups to have a seat in decision making on solutions aimed at helping them breathe easier - especially in the areas of education, health, youth development and gender affairs.

Francesca has worked with young people across the globe for over 17 years as a speaker and facilitator. She is passionate about raising the aspirations of young people and committed to ensuring that where a person is born or lives does not determine how far they can go. As a speaker and facilitator, she focuses on equipping Scholars with the skills to set goals, reflect, use their experiences as resilience and stay motivated on the journey.

Jemar Samuels

She is a co-founder and a co-organiser of the award-winning Halo Code campaign, where they work to build a future without afro-hair discrimination.  Jemmar is also the founder of Collective Punishment, a campaign that exists to raise awareness of, and tackle the impact of, parental imprisonment on families, and in particular children, in the UK.

Jemmar is also a Politics and Sociology graduate from Brunel University London. While there she co -founded the West Indian Society and in her final year was a BME Officer at the Union of Brunel Students. She is an alumna of The Advocacy Academy, a former delegate of the British Youth Council representing GirlGuiding.  She is a 2019 Diana Award Holder for her years of youth campaigning and humanitarian work.

Jemmar is a documentary filmmaker, contributing to four documentaries to date, one about her which won a 2018 Children's BAFTA and a 2020 Little Wings Festival Award. 

Jemmar joined the Urban Scholars team, as social educator facilitator, because she wishes to inspire young people to tap into their true expression of self to achieve their aspirations. Her achievements, both inside education and outside of it was due to guidance she embodies in her sessions. 

Lee Shinkin

Lee Shinkin became an Urban Scholars mentor in 2017 and has enjoyed every moment of it. Lee brings an inspirational approach through his achievements as a Great Britain judo athlete and black belt. During Lee’s judo career he won national, international and commonwealth medals.

After judo Lee worked for the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust mentoring teenagers and young people from disadvantaged background, he brings these skills to the Urban Scholars programme where he runs multiple sessions inspiring through story telling and blending interactive activities with self reflection. Whilst Lee was competing he studied a financial mathematics degree achieving a 2.1 with a first in his dissertation which focused on combinatorial game theory. Lee is now a management consultant working for Atkins Limited as a chartered management consultant. Lee works with clients to help them to improve their organisational maturity through the use of digital transformation.

Patrick Diai

Patrick has been a part of the Urban Scholars Programme since 2008, he worked as an Ambassador for the Programme for four years, then became a tutor in 2013.  He graduated from Brunel University, London, with a 2.1 in Electrical & Electronic Engineering with professional development, whilst competing and winning British University Boxing Championships in 2012.  Prior to that he won the boxing cup Europe's largest amateur boxing event and the London Mayor's Boxing Cup and received an award from the Mayor of London.

Patrick is a qualified England Boxing coach, personal trainer and the founder of AboveBoxing®. For the last decade he has been using his skills and expertise to help and support others to achieve their personal fitness goals, inspiring people of all ages to participate in sporting activities through his sessions, workshops and achievements.

Patrick is extremely passionate about raising young people’s aspirations and expectations, as a result he has delivered over 300 inspirational talks and coached over 50,000 people from underprivileged and disadvantaged backgrounds, promoting and encouraging the importance of keeping positive, aiming high, setting goals & completing higher education or apprenticeship. He has had first-hand experience working as an Engineer at General Motors. Mentoring as a Student Associate in partnership with Imperial College teaching STEM related subjects and teaching GCSE Science as part of TeachFirst through their Graduate Leadership Development Programme.

Patrick has 10+ years experience leading youth projects on the NCS programme, mentoring, delivering accredited training programmes & workshops on Goal Setting, Time Management, Anger Management and Mental Health. He was featured in the Future Leaders Magazine which profiles 100 of the most outstanding black university students in the UK.