A MORAY woman is taking up the top job in the University of the Highlands and Islands’ Students’ Association.
Katrina Paton, 32, from Elgin, has been voted as the president of UHISA, the organisation that represents the 7,500 students in UHI partner colleges and centres across the region.
The mother of two became involved with the partnership in 2007, when she signed up for an HNC in early education and childcare at Moray College UHI. She enjoyed studying so much, she went on to gain a first class honours degree in child and youth studies and to complete a postgraduate certificate in restorative practice.
Katrina volunteered as a class representative throughout her degree and became interested in the Students’ Association following a suggestion from a tutor. She explains: “My youngest child was still at primary school and the nearest place I could do a MSc in social work was Aberdeen. He wasn’t ready for me to commit to a four hour commute, so I thought taking some time out would be the ideal solution. My advisor suggested the role as UHISA vice-president as I had already demonstrated my commitment to ensuring that students’ rights are upheld.”
Following a successful year as vice-president, Katrina stood for the role of president earlier this year. She describes her aspirations for the year ahead as: “Ensuring that all decisions made by the university are in the best interests of students and concentrating on further growth and development of UHISA.”
She also hopes to enter a University of the Highlands and Islands’ team into University Challenge.
Commenting on Katrina’s election, head of student services at the university, Dr Iain Morrison, said: “Katrina is passionate and sincere about her desire to represent the interests of students. Her use of social media, as well as her extensive touring around the Highlands and Islands to meet as many students as she can, means she is a highly visible advocate. I look forward to working closely with her this year.”
After her year in office, Katrina hopes to return to study at the university. She says: “I’m keen to continue my studies at UHI and hopefully gain a PhD in restorative practice or youth justice. Whatever I do, I’ll be looking for work that challenges and enhances me, but in the current climate I think it’s essential to remain flexible and open to new experiences. I’m eternally grateful to UHI for giving me the opportunity to gain a university education where other institutions were inaccessible.”
Photo: Katrina Paton at the recent Inverness College UHI Freshers’ Fayre.