Your Programme Officers
The Programme Officer team at the CSC Secretariat are the main contact point for Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows both before and while on award.
Sarah is from Devon and graduated from the University of Oxford with a BA in Geography and an MSc in Social Anthropology. She has worked in a number of roles across the HE sector including managing a university scholarship programme.
In her spare time, Sarah likes to be outdoors running and hiking, and she also loves to paint.
James hails from East Anglia and grew up exploring the region’s scenic countryside. He graduated from SOAS, the University of London as a mature student in 2013, with a BA in Arabic and Persian. He has lived in a number of countries – including Jordan, Syria, and Australia – and has many years of experience working with scholarship students.
In his spare time, James likes wandering around the British Museum, trying out new recipes, and collecting vinyl records.
Jim is from East London and is one of the ACU’s Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) level 1 accredited immigration advisers.
He studied history at the University of Salford, which included a one-year Erasmus exchange to Masaryk University in the Czech Republic. After graduating he was twice elected as Vice President of his students’ union and since then has worked in various student support roles for over 10 years, including roles with Chevening scholarships.
Jim is an enthusiastic but limited cricketer having played for the same club since 1995. He is also a keen football fan and season ticket holder at Leyton Orient along with his wife, daughter, and parents. He also loves quizzes, crosswords, and learning Welsh.
Nathan is from Manchester and recently graduated from the University of Manchester with an MSc in International Development: Development Management. He also holds a BA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from the University of York. Prior to his Master’s degree he took a year out from his studies to travel and gain experience volunteering and working for causes he is passionate about.
In his spare time Nathan enjoys indoor climbing, playing piano and guitar, and learning French!
Jasmin is originally from Finland; she moved to the UK to study for a BA in Development Studies and South Asian Studies at SOAS, University of London. After this, she completed a Master’s degree in Sociology of Childhood and Children’s Rights at the UCL Institute of Education (IOE), University of London. Jasmin previously spent an exchange year in the USA, living and studying in Michigan, and has also worked in Norway. She has previously worked for another UK government scholarship programme.
During her free time, Jasmin enjoys travelling, visiting museums, and exploring the countryside.
Maggie Gonçalves is from Brazil and has been in the UK for over 13 years. She studied Contemporary Dance at Trinity Laban in London and started working in the education sector after graduating. She has worked at the University of Oxford and UCL, administering postgraduate courses and events, and with the Weidenfeld-Hoffmann Trust coordinated the organisation of their Leadership Programme for graduates from over 20 countries.
Maggie is interested in international education and providing opportunities to all who wish to learn and develop. She is finishing a Master’s in Education and Social Change, focusing on economic migrants in Higher Education in the UK.
In her spare time, Maggie loves dancing, watching movies, eating great food with friends, and travelling.
Ruth grew up in East London and graduated from Queen Mary, University of London with a BSc in Business Management. As a student, she was involved in student led initiatives and programmes to create better educational experiences for prospective and current students.
Before joining the CSC as a Programme Officer, she worked in the higher education sector within programme administration and careers and employability. She is passionate about helping to create a positive impact and providing opportunities to individuals through education.
In her spare time, Ruth enjoys watching tennis, sightseeing, and spending time with family and friends.
Selcan is from London and grew up in a bilingual family – her family originates from Turkey. She graduated with a BA (Hons) in Airline and Airport Management at Buckinghamshire New University.
Selcan is fascinated by the aviation sector and after graduating spent time working in the field, where she gained a wide knowledge of different cultures. She is a passionate and keen believer in supporting individuals to achieve their dreams and make a difference through higher education.
When she’s not at work, Selcan enjoys spending time with her family and friends, and exploring TV series and movies.
Mariam was born in Tbilisi in Georgia and moved to UK to pursue a Master’s degree in Development Studies at Institute of Development Studies (IDS). During her studies she took on volunteering and teaching roles to improve the educational experiences of her peers.
While working at an international development company in Georgia, Mariam supported various development projects, including improving access to education in remote areas of Georgia. She has also played a role in supporting the Fulbright scholarships as a public affairs intern at the US Embassy and helped to organise seminars and workshops aimed at educating and empowering the younger generation during her BA in International Relations.
In her free time, Mariam enjoys travelling, learning languages, and capturing beautiful moments on camera.
Sanja Dujmovic Potnar
Sanja was born in Bosnia and graduated from the University of Novi Sad, Serbia with a BA in English Language and Literature. Through her work in the not-for-profit and public sector in London she has supported some of the most marginalised groups, including refugees, victims of modern slavery, and ethnic minority women, to access further and higher education and employment opportunities.
Prior to joining the CSC, Sanja supported the Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment (GLOBE), an international network of legislators and parliamentarians working in climate action and climate justice. She has also organised the Schools Climate Summit as part of the Mayor of London’s London Climate Action Week 2021 and 2022, and has facilitated student-MP climate surgeries across London.
In her spare time Sanja loves reading, looking after her two Ragdoll cats, and dancing with her two teenage daughters.
Esther was born in Kampala, Uganda where she spent her first four years before permanently relocating to the UK with her family. With a long career in academic support services, she has always been passionate about education and is inspired by her parents’ 60-year combined career in academia.
Esther studied a BA in Sociology at the University of Westminster with a year abroad at the State University of New York. Returning to the UK to complete a Master’s at City University and a second Master’s at the University of Bristol, both in social sciences.
In her spare time Esther publishes her photography work and engages in neurodiversity advocacy.
Danielle is originally from Jamaica and grew up in South East London. She holds a BSc in Psychology and an MRes in Research Methods in Psychology from the University of Leicester. She is also currently undertaking a DPhil at the University of Oxford.
Although Danielle has experience in primary and secondary education sectors, she has worked in the higher education sector for over eight years. During this time, she has engaged in academic advising, produced research for a UK institution’s framework, and founded an educational support organisation for disadvantaged groups.
Danielle enjoys spending time with loved ones, learning new things, travelling, and supporting next-gen leaders.
Ugbad is a born and raised Londoner. Since graduating in 2013, she has been working in higher education across the biggest universities in London and with a range of departments and students.
She graduated in 2013 with a BA in Film Studies and an MA in Digital Media in 2018. She loves media and technology and has a passionate for education and student welfare. In her spare time, she loves reading, writing, and travelling.
Aryam has recently joined the CSC as Team Assistant.