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Alumna of the month - January 2012

Jessie Aru
Bsc (Hons) Media and Society, 1998

Robert Humphreys

After representing GB competing in the heptathlon and pentathlon, LSBU alumna Jessie Aru has gone on to have a successful career in radio. Starting at the BBC Jessie now produces and presents a show on British Forces Broadcasting Services.

From a young age Jessie had a keen interest and a natural ability in athletics, having been scouted whilst at school she started competing, and going on to represent Great Britain at Junior Level, the same time when Linford Christie was competing in the senior team. Jessie was asked to present a show on South Liverpool Independent Communications show to talk about amongst other things her athletics to that point a huge role model being the first young person in the area to represent GB.

Jessie thoroughly enjoyed her time at the radio station and began thinking what she would like to do in the future. She was sure she wanted to continue in higher education and in a field such as Media she decided the opportunities would be much greater in London. Jessie enrolled at LSBU on a Media and Society course; “The reason I chose LSBU was because I loved the fact it is an ethnically diverse University, and the course sounded amazing. I decided completing a combined honours course would provide me with a broader understanding”.

Before Jessie moved to London she was a contributor at Radio Merseyside’s ‘Upfront’ show. Having carried on with both her position at the station and her athletics whilst studying she decided to  concentrate on one area, which inspired her to complete a postgraduate degree in Journalism.
When in her third year of study Jessie approached the BBC in search of some further work experience. After sending numerous CV’s to organisations she started at BBC London working on the weekend circuit, collating some of the Afro Caribbean stories that had been transmitted that week and put them on a circuit for other station’s to transmit if they chose.

Once she got her foot through the door Jessie had huge potential to grow into a more senior position. Jessie moved onto and became a Broadcast Assistant for BBC London Sport, Five Live Travel Presenter, then presented a BBC children’s show and then went back to Five Live as a producer on the Simon Mayo show and Up All Night. “Working on both shows was exciting as we would research and decide on the content of the show. We would arrive at work five hours before the show started and would have a blank page other than contributors that were appearing on the show that day”.

Jessie has since moved to British Forces Broadcasting Services (BFBS) to present and produce her own show from 7 – 10pm. When she arrives at work Jessie plans her show for that day and prepares for live interviews with guests. The show goes out in 23 different locations around the world, and the radio station has a number of bases one being in Afghanistan where Jessie has lived and presented the breakfast show from. Spending nearly five months in the country.

The show provides Jessie with a lot of satisfaction as she is doing something that she loves and is providing the only contact outside of their base, to many serving in the forces. Jessie will update the forces and their families on current affairs, sports updates and also a slot to play messages to those serving from friends and family members. “BFBS parent company SSVC  includes CSE – Combined Services Entertainments who organise for sports professions, comedians and celebrities to travel and  and spend time on military bases. David Beckham visited whilst I was working in Afghanistan, he was really great, very open down to earth and made a real effort”.

Jessie seems in her element at the moment working in a job she really enjoys, having moved back to London she is happy to stay in the UK for a little longer before making any more moves overseas. “I would like to stay with BFBS, and would love to do some TV presenting”.

We wish Jessie every success in her career and hope to see her on our screens in the future.