Welcome to the third edition of the NCH Alumni Spotlight, a series where we catch up (virtually) with our alumni to find out where they are now and how studying at NCH helped them!
If you missed our previous Spotlight edition with Alexander Mitchell, click HERE to read.
Today, we’ll be talking to NCH Alumni, Soila Apparicio.
Soila has been busy since graduating, working on current affairs programmes Newsnight and Panorama, flagship technology show Click, and on the hit podcast The Missing Cryptoqueen. Soila also worked for environmental news outlets DeSmog and Climate Home News, freelance for outlets such as FiveThirtyEight and Talking Politics, and as a series producer for award-winning podcast Very Loose Women.
Soila now talks with us to let us know her current destination and observations about her time at NCH.
What is your name and current role?
Where do you work?
How would you explain your role?
I’m a researcher and assistant producer for the World Service on the radio show and podcast The Climate Question, a programme about climate change and all its complexities. I do everything from idea research, write briefs and scripts, organise access for interviews, manage and conduct guest recordings, edit together clips and audio montages, and produce my ideas for the programme. I also work to develop the visual and digital element of the programme for social media, which includes filming and video editing.
What course did you study at NCH and why did you choose this course?
Politics and International Relations with History, 2013-2016. I chose this course as I had grown up with an interest in the stories of the people around me and a desire to answer the question of why the world is the way it is. As I learned about injustices and the status quo at school, that still unanswerable question led me to think the political system could be a way of resolving those things. As a teenager, I was so intrigued by why people’s political opinions could be so vastly different. I wanted to learn more about how politics works at its core, and the opportunity to discover that at NCH, in particular, drew me to Politics and IR.
How would you describe your overall NCH experience?
With complete honesty, my experience at NCH was mixed. I think the standard of education was the highest, and the model of both breadth and depth in learning satisfied my intense worldly curiosity. I feel like I fulfilled some of that drive to understand politics and how it works. I have also fostered some of the brightest friendships with fellow students, and seeing them grow after NCH makes me feel such pride in them. I also struggled at NCH. I took an immense amount of pressure on myself, both in my studies and in my extracurricular activities as the Student Union President and the Editor of the student magazine Anchor. I didn’t give myself the time to breathe while I was a student, and I wish I had.
Tell us about your career journey after NCH.
After NCH I studied a Masters in Investigative Journalism at City University. After graduating, I had a frustrating period struggling to find a job in the industry and so went to work in a shop for almost a year while working on my friend’s podcast in my spare time. That retail job taught me a lot of patience, which is also very important for my role now. I found a job as a reporter in climate change politics and got on a mentorship scheme, which brought me back into journalism. Through the podcast, I developed more practical skills in audio, which turned into more freelance jobs, and with the support of my mentor then came work on the viral BBC Sounds podcast ‘The Missing Cryptoqueen’. Once I had my foot in the door at the BBC I went on to work at BBC News’s Click, where I grew my video production skills, Newsnight as a broadcast journalist, and now the World Service.
How has your time at NCH contributed to your career/current role?
Undoubtedly, I would not be the journalist I am without NCH and the support for my writing that my peers gave me. NCH helped me to City, which led me to all the jobs I had before joining the BBC and I’m sure, beyond. The critical thinking I took from my studies, I use daily as part of my job. Questioning one view over another is an essential part of being a journalist that I developed at NCH. Having a mostly open environment for discussion at NCH has meant that I have sought to foster a similarly expressive one in my workplaces and I have walked away from roles where this was not. I also can’t forget the importance of Anchor magazine and the editorial team. Not only did it help my writing, I learned about layout, editorial decision-making, and promotion. Overall though, my learning in politics and gaining that insight into why the world is the way it is has further guided my passion for telling those stories.
If you had one piece of advice for a prospective NCH student, what would it be?
Your institution, be that NCH is there for you to get the most out of. Use your time to read, study, plan, prepare and then also relax. University is a place for you to foster your own flourishing. Go at your pace. Try new things. Take a breath. Don’t wait until the night before to write your essay, unless you’d like to become a journalist, in which case it’s good practice!
For more information about our alumni destinations or to submit yourself for our NCH Alumni Spotlight feature, contact our Director of Careers – Vaibhav Rustagi: firstname.lastname@example.org