“It feels great to have won, it’s a real honour. It goes to show that you don’t need to be a straight A student to do well in life. I was born in a council house and didn’t come from a wealthy family but when you reach for the stars, anything is possible.”
Those are the words of highly respected BBC Reporter and previous QMC student Sima Kotecha who was awarded a prestigious Gold Award by the Association of Colleges at a ceremony in the House of Commons recently. Representing the important and life-changing work that goes on in sixth form colleges, such as QMC, the award recognises those who have built on their time at college to shape a successful career.
Sima, pictured receiving her award (l) and with her proud parents (r) attended Queen Mary’s College between 1996 and 1998, studying A Levels in Business Studies, Theatre Studies and English Language. It was during this time that Sima fell in love with the English language and its construction and history. Sima also spent a lot of her time in Central Studio, singing, and acting, directing and helping to produce College plays. And after gaining valuable work experience at Basingstoke Hospital radio station her love affair with radio begun.
Sima believes that it is at QMC that she gained more confidence and enjoyed the close intimacy between herself as a performer and the audience. She maintains that she still carries this affinity for the audience with her today when she broadcasts to millions, whether it’s on the radio or TV.
After leaving QMC Sima attended university at Goldsmith’s College and her first job was at BBC Radio Berkshire in 2003 and after a spell with the BBC’s bureau in Brussels she moved back to London in 2012 and switched to Radio 4’s World at One and PM Programme as a reporter. Sima has also been an on-screen correspondent for Newsnight on BBC2, the BBC News Channel, BBC World, Breakfast TV and TV News. She has made regular appearances on the main BBC News TV bulletins and presents the BBC1 TV news at 8pm.
Despite her busy schedule Sima recently returned to QMC to encourage and inspire students. Using examples of her experience at and beyond College she demonstrated that, with hard work and passion, it is possible to get a rewarding and successful career in journalism.