Undergraduate Student & President of the Alison Brading Circle
Medicine (Undergraduate entry), Year 2
Tell us a bit about your Background
I grew up curious, empathetic and bright, with an open mind as to what my future career could be. Though I excelled academically since an early age, teaching myself Maths GCSE a year early, attaining a double academic scholarship to sixth form and 4 A* grades at A-level, I held my extracurricular commitments close. This saw me represent my county in 5 sports, compete in national debating competitions and choreograph for high-end awards evenings. This helped me balance my work and develop skills such as clear communication, manual dexterity and perseverance: all of which are extremely important in medicine.
Whilst growing up in a good household, I would always want to use my academia to help students who struggled or had difficult socioeconomic backgrounds. I would stay after school and at lunchtimes to tutor these students, even though my GCSEs and A-levels. My passion to use my intellect to benefit others stemmed from here and became my main reason for studying Medicine. I would design free online resources and learn coding techniques, which grew my interest in AI. I further earnt a Gold CREST Award in science and engineering. Though women remain a minority in most STEM careers, I have only let this motivate me. I remember the words spoken to me by a professor at my brothers’ school “Only 8% of Physics A-level students are girls, so you’ll probably drop it before year 13…” I did not drop A-level Physics. I achieved an A*.
My family has always encouraged and supported me through my education, both school and university. The school I attended had very little experience in Oxbridge applications and even less success. This, combined with the low Oxford admissions intake for mixed-race students with Black African heritage made the prospect seem daunting. However, I am extremely grateful I applied as it has been an amazing experience so far. I enjoy the academic challenge, and to have world-class tutors teach, inspire and genuinely believe in you is surreal.
My advice to upcoming students would be to never be afraid to ask questions. Often, we can feel as if questioning makes us seem less intelligent and unsure, but this is not true. Questions are how we learn, how we analyse, how we improve. We have our current knowledge because people before us dared to question and go deeper. So, as you learn, ask “How do we know this? What is the significance?” This will give you a more thorough understanding of the topic and content you learn and help you apply it to meaningful scenarios.
I am particularly interested in chronic diseases such as osteoarthritis and diabetes and could see myself going into clinical practice relating to such. I also have a growing interest in how AI can further advance healthcare and research and would love to assist its integration into our field.
What is the most meaningful or most interesting part of your studies?
One of the most interesting parts of my studies is the Patient-Doctor course which gives us experience at a local GP surgery. This module has shown me the complexity of the role and taught me skills such as taking a comprehensive patient history and building a good rapport with patients where they feel able to disclose sensitive information to me. The breadth of knowledge expected of General Practitioners and the diversity of patient diseases makes this profession both challenging and interesting. I was particularly fascinated by how the recent pandemic had changed the daily structure of the surgery, relying more on technology and video consultations where appropriate. This provoked new considerations, such as concerns with confidentiality during home meetings, and the importance of checking-in on vulnerable patients.
I found this module very meaningful as it showed how my Medical studies directly translate into clinical practice.
Can you tell us about something you've done, contributed to that you're most proud of?
I am currently the President of the Alison Brading Circle, a society of medical students, tutors and associates. We meet to discuss medical advancements, learn from research pioneers and experienced clinicians, and build community.
Alison (1939–2011), former tutor and fellow of Lady Margaret Hall, was an inspirational woman who majorly shaped our understanding of smooth muscle physiology and pharmacology. Despite never fully recovering from polio, Alison persevered to become a leading female scientist of her day. She led international research and discovered the fundamental mechanisms underlying smooth muscle excitation.
Alison exemplified the importance of community within the Medical Sciences and spurring each other on in knowledge. I am privileged to continue this legacy through my work leading the society and bridging the gap between generations of fantastic scientists.
What changes would you most like to see in the Medical Sciences in the next 100 years?
I would love to see greater representation of BME people in higher levels of clinical practice and studies, particularly holding positions on executive boards which make decisions about the next generation of Medical studies. I would also like to see greater incorporation of technology within Medicine, whether that be enhancing molecular imaging techniques to further research, or apps to help patients better manage their health.