Dr Layla Guscoth came to St John’s to study Medicine in 2010. Now qualified as a doctor, she is also an England netball international and was a member of the England squad that won a bronze medal at the 2019 Netball World Cup.
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When I was initially asked to participate in the ‘Celebrating Diversity’ project for St John’s College, I did not know whether it was something that I felt best placed to do. I remember the conflicting emotions I felt when I got my Oxford acceptance letter and how I was concerned that I would not fit in and would feel ‘other’. I remember seeing the largely white male portraits across the University and I worried that I couldn’t see myself reflected in that space. I went on to really enjoy my time at St John’s, to value the educational and sporting opportunities I received, and to make lifelong friends. 

Along my journey from beginning medical school, getting my first international netball cap until the present day I have had many people doubt my ability to be able to succeed at both medicine and elite netball, as it is unusual or different. By celebrating the success of those who may be under-represented in these spaces, I hope that we can show future students that they have a place, that they do fit, that they should not limit their aspirations, and that they can write their own stories. I hope that these portraits are part of an ongoing commitment from the College to continue to make St John’s and Oxford an inviting place for black students to achieve their potential and their dreams.