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Profile: Isabel Sebode

Smiling brunette woman wearing striped jumper and beige trench coat

Isabel Sebode, Alumni and Donor Relations Officer

Isabel joined Univ in July last year after doing her master’s degree in early modern English literature at the University of Oxford. Here she discusses her favourite moments at Univ so far, recent reads, and seeing the University in a new light. 

How did you come to work at Univ?
I started at working at Univ in July 2023, having just finished my master’s here at Oxford in early modern English literature. It was actually my former dissertation supervisor, who suggested to me that Development is a great entry-level job at the university, and moreover, one that would make me being an alumna myself into an asset. It took me just 2 weeks to go from student to university employee, which was quite the big change! Univ has been a great place to make that transition in, and I felt very welcome from the beginning. Moreover, I have really enjoyed working in higher education philanthropy, which has introduced me into the world of charity work more widely.

What does being Alumni and Donor Relations Officer entail?
As Alumni and Donor Relations Officer, I am a part of many different projects. I work with the comms team on some publications, such as Univ Futures, our Donor Impact Report, and I run the LinkedIn account. I also help to plan trips for our fundraisers, and work with our events officers to put together different exciting events for our Old Members and friends. Otherwise, I manage relations with our Old Members, such as by helping them with any requests, or through staying in touch via mailings, such as our recent Season’s Greetings Card. Sometimes, I also help with certain bursaries and studentships, such as the Mallinson Bursary. Evidently, I find myself doing something different every day!

Do you have any favourite or funny moments so far from working at Univ?
A few! One of the benefits of my job is that I get to attend some events, one of which was the most recent Gaudy for classes 1997-2000. I sat next to a very fun Old Member, and we had a great chat about his time at Univ 25 years ago. More recently, we received wonderful feedback about our Season’s Greetings Card, which made me very proud as I spent a lot of my time on putting this together.

What do you do outside your work?
As an English lit grad, I still do a lot of reading, although I’ve branched out from fiction to non-fiction as well now. Some of my favourites are all of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s books, and more recently Christian Madsbjerg’s writing on human perception and the humanities. I also spend a lot of time travelling, as my partner lives in Denmark. I think my colleagues know by now that they’ll find me in Denmark if I am not in the office.

What have you learned through your job?
Going from being a student to working at a College has taught me just how little you know as a student about how the University works. I never knew how essential alumni support is to the finances of a college, and that most financial support for students is a product of alumni philanthropy. It has been very fulfilling that my work contributes towards the well-being and success of students.

What’s your favourite part of Univ?
Of course its people, whether that be students, Old Members, academic staff, or our administrative staff. I also love having lunch in the beautiful hall and walking through the grounds – it is a lovely place!

Describe Univ in three words.
Passionate, innovative, welcoming.

Published: 8 January 2024

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