A teenage Ben Metcalfe probably couldn’t have imagined his future self, addressing a packed room of University supporters at the House of Lords in 2016, reducing many to tears. Since then, Ben has channelled his talent and tenacity to grow from the “imposter” he described that day into someone who embodies Bath at its very best.
Two scholarships set Ben on the road to becoming Dr Metcalfe. Their support meant that he could come to Bath and thrive here: he’s now ensuring that others can too.
On top of teaching engineering undergraduates and pushing the boundaries of his research into treating people with spinal cord injuries, Ben also volunteers his time as a Gold Mentor to our Gold Scholars. Like him, they’ve come from backgrounds where university wasn’t encouraged.
“Having support when you’re a student, whether that’s financial, mentoring or social support, from someone who you’ve never met before, is a unique experience." says Ben. "Initially it can be quite daunting. Who is this person? What do they want in return? But you learn very quickly that it can be an incredibly powerful and supportive relationship".
"That person is investing in you, they care about you and your success, and they’ll do everything they can to see you grow and support you.”
Ben’s own PhD sponsor, fellow electronic engineer Dr Brian Nicholson, joined Ben as a Gold Mentor this year. He explains why:
“I was the first generation in my family to go to university, so I really needed somebody who was able to help me fill in the gaps. I’ve received a number of scholarships to enable me to get where I am today. There’s no doubt in my mind that, without that assistance, I wouldn’t have been able to fulfil my potential, so I personally understand what a significant difference scholarships can make.”
Ben has achieved extraordinary things in his time at Bath, and there are many students like him whose potential has been nurtured through scholarships. Thank you to all of you whose gifts, large or small, have made an impact on the lives of so many.
As if teaching, research and mentoring scholars wasn’t enough, Ben is also part of Team Bath Racing Electric (TBRe). Alumni donations have helped the team take top spot at the UK Formula Student competition two years running, and in 2018 TBRe became the first British team to compete at the equivalent contest in China.
Supporter and honorary graduate Sir CK Chow met the team at an alumni reception in Hong Kong. He said:
“We are all deeply impressed by the passion and competence of members of Team Bath Racing Electric; they are great ambassadors.”