Diala Al Masri, Barbara Souza and Razia Chowdhry are postgraduates working together at St John’s as Junior Deans, supporting the Senior Dean and Welfare Dean in looking after the well-being of members of College.
Diala Barbara Razia.jpg L to R: Diala Al Masri, Barbara Souza and Razia Chowdhry

From three countries, we met within the Gothic walls of beautiful St John’s College and were housed in Dolphin Quad. We grew to develop a strong friendship that went beyond a sense of camaraderie born out of our role as Junior Deans. We endured the COVID-19 pandemic together, away from our homes and our loved ones for months. We learned how to support, love and understand each other. We remain friends and are grateful for this experience that lit the candle to our friendship and one that we want to see develop and grow with us.

Diala Al Masri 

I am a Lebanese DPhil candidate at the University of Oxford and I study labour and migration economics. St John’s gave me a sense of purpose and community at a time when I needed it the most. Being a student here has enriched my life in a multitude of ways, and the experience of being a Junior Dean has helped me grow as a person and has taught me valuable lessons. 

Barbara Souza 

I left Brazil and embarked to Oxford in 2017 to start my DPhil in Engineering Science where I focused on leveraging nanotechnology to tackle challenges within biomedicine. Jumping from lab to lab, I joined St John’s as a Junior Dean in 2019 and discovered a place in which I could develop strong and lasting friendships and be part of an engaging and supportive community. 

Razia Chowdhry 

I started my Oxford journey at Exeter College in 2017 as a DPhil student researching the use of synthetic cells as delivery tools. I have a Bangladeshi heritage and grew up in London. I began as a Junior Dean at St  John’s College at the beginning of 2019 and the role threw me right into the heart of a buzzing Oxford college life. This position has taught me so much and allowed me to make wonderful, amazing friends.