President Martin Ward welcomed Dr Julie Reza today as a new member of the Rotary Club of Canterbury.
Julie is a freelance science communications consultant, project manager, writer and editor, specialising in global healthcare and related fields. She predominantly works with NGOs and not-for-profit organizations. Previously she was a senior science editor for TDR at the World Health Organization headquarters in Geneva and prior to that she worked at the Wellcome Trust, UK – one of the world’s biggest funders of medical research and a leader in science communication and the public understanding of science. While there, she managed multimedia educational projects on international health topics, working with experts from WHO, the Gate’s Foundation, DFID, The Global Fund and leading research institutions around the world.
Growing up in Canterbury, Julie attended Barton Court Grammar School before gaining a BSc in biochemistry from King’s College London, a master’s and PhD in immunology from Imperial College (UK) and a specialist postgraduate degree in science communication from the Birkbeck, University of London. Her research areas were on the development of the immune system and the nervous system and on the use of the web for medical information. Julie has several year’s postgraduate teaching experience in both immunology and neuroscience; she also taught summer school youngsters and medical students at UMDS (Guy's) and is keen on encouraging youngsters into STEM careers (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics).
Julie has had close ties with Rotary for many years thanks to relatives who are Rotarians in Bangladesh (from where her family originate). She has seen Rotarians in action with humanitarian work – such as delivering antimalarial mosquito-nets, helping with polio vaccination campaigns, and supporting doctors doing cleft palate surgery. Julie retains close ties to the country and has seen for herself the hardship of the rural poor as well as the entrepreneurship and talent of Bangladeshi youngsters.
Volunteering has long been part of Julie's life – starting as a St John’s Ambulance Brigade nursing cadet as a child and doing ‘duty’ at what was then the ABC Cinema. She has also volunteered at a local children's nursery school and at K&C hospital, and while studying she briefly acted as a mentor for Asian youngsters. Currently she’s a volunteer steering group member for the global health campaign Healthcare Information for All (HIFA) and sits on their Social Media Working Group. She's also an advisor for a small Bangladeshi social business enterprise (a business with profits going to local humanitarian causes). In her spare time Julie enjoys art, illustration, design, calligraphy and cake decorating; she also dabbles in writing short stories/children's rhymes and in photography.