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Over the first two weeks of August, the MRC Brain Network Dynamics Unit (MRC BNDU) hosted school pupils enrolled on an innovative work-experience placement scheme that was organised in partnership with the charity in2scienceUK.

The placement scheme hosted at the MRC BNDU was a first for Oxford, and was tailored for pupils from local state-funded schools to support their progress into university degrees and careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

In2Science student at microscopeDuring their time at the MRC BNDU, the pupils worked alongside Unit scientists and received personalised mentoring to gain a wide variety of practical experiences and learn more about key concepts and challenges in neuroscience and medical research. In a series of integrated workshops with in2scienceUK, the pupils also received guidance on university applications, wider information about STEM careers, and training in transferable skills. The pupils recorded their experiences and progress in blogs and images.

MRC BDNU Deputy Director Professor Peter Magill commented: “We are delighted with the many successes of this inaugural scheme. When opportunities for practical work in top labs are combined with expert guidance on how to successfully progress in STEM, the results are fantastic and set an exciting precedent for high-impact engagement. Over the fortnight of activities, it was inspiring to see the enthusiasm and enjoyment of the pupils, their mentors, and the Unit as a whole.”

In2science studentsMRC BNDU Director Professor Peter Brown commented: “Engaging local school pupils continues to be a priority for the MRC BNDU’s thriving Outreach Programme. We are focusing our activities on local pupils who would benefit most from the special opportunities the Unit can offer. We were keen to partner with in2scienceUK because of their outstanding track record in supporting secondary-school pupils from more challenging socioeconomic backgrounds. It has been a real pleasure and privilege for the Unit to take this lead on widening access and participation in STEM.”

Related Links: 

MRC Brain Network Dynamics Unit (MRC BNDU)

 in2scienceUK 

Unit and In2scienceUK deliver STEM placements to local school pupils

Excerpts from the blogs written by placement students

“The entire placement was educational, inspiring and, most of all, fun.”

“I found many experts of varying fields, all working in collaboration with each other.”

“Brilliant opportunity and look forward to the challenges to come in becoming a scientist myself.”

 - Yusuf, in2scienceUK placement student at the MRC BNDU

 

“I walked into the lab and felt like something exciting was going to happen, I learned something everyday.”

“This is where my practical skills were developed and used, it opened my mind at what type of skills are required and the potential of gaining these before starting my studies.”

 – Abhay, in2scienceUK placement student at the MRC BNDU

 

“The past two weeks have not only been eye-opening for a new career path and a wonderful experience to learn new skills, but I genuinely feel it has been such a privilege to work with some of the world’s top scientists!”

“My aspirations have been transformed through this placement and I look forward to what the future holds for me.”

 – Shakera, in2scienceUK placement student at the MRC BNDU

 

“This opportunity gave me a great insight into what life would be like as a researcher; a career that I am looking to pursue in the future. It has been a pleasure to take part in this amazing experience”

“Importantly, I learnt that research doesn’t always work first time and that you have to be patient and persevere to achieve the best result.”

– Hazera, in2scienceUK placement student at the MRC BNDU

 

“This placement has been beneficial in many ways, as it has not only given me a real sense and understanding of a research laboratory but has also helped me identify my own skills and highlight areas that I need to work on.”

“By experiencing a 'real' laboratory I will be more aware of what to expect at degree level.”

- Zara, in2scienceUK placement student at the MRC BNDU

Excerpts from the written feedback of a mentor

“Among the most enjoyable aspects were those “a-ha” moments, when my mentee’s face lit up as she grasped a new concept or learned something unexpected.”

“I wished I would have had the chance to have such an experience as a teenager. Seeing how much of an impact it would have on my own mentee was very rewarding.”

- Petra Fischer, D.Phil. student and in2scienceUK placement mentor at the MRC BNDU