A little insight into the work done by final year biosciences undergraduates at the University of Kent
A guest post by Stella Bennett, a postgraduate student on the MSc Science, Communication and Society
I was given the chance to talk to final year biosciences students working in the project laboratories as they completed their last week of research. With the end nearly in sight for their final year projects, and for their undergraduate degrees, I asked what they had been working on, and to look back at what had first attracted them to the University of Kent.
The overwhelming impression I got, as an outsider stepping into the project labs, was of a kind of cheerful concentration. The final year bioscientists are a diverse bunch, but universally they were busy, focused, and despite the looming deadline for practical work, they all seemed pretty relaxed. Even those students I spoke to whose projects had been hard work, weeks spent culturing colonies that hadn’t grown as expected, told me that their work was nearly done, and spoke about the applications of their research with enthusiasm, pleased to have someone new to lecture about something they’ve had on their mind for months. Several students seemed perfectly capable of carrying out precision micro-pipette work while simultaneously summarising their research for me and tapping along to the rhythm of Radio 1 with their feet.
I spoke to Elena, a Biomedical Science student who was using computer software to evaluate whether her yeast colonies had formed any bioadaptations to UVC irradiation. When I asked her what had drawn her to the University of Kent in the first place, she told me that she loved the campus, but that she hadn’t visited the university before the first day of Fresher’s Week.
That statement, coming from a final year student who was moving around the laboratories with absolute confidence, struck me as a perfect example of the energy all the project students seemed to share. They had all started their projects with a basic understanding, and over the course of their research, had learnt precision techniques, laboratory skills, and were able to tell me in incredible, energetic detail about their exact area of focus. A few students I spoke to had questions for me about postgraduate studies, but regardless of whether they decide to continue after this year, they’ve all come away with some extraordinary knowledge and abilities. I wish the best of luck to every single one of them.
We will be reporting on some specific projects on the Biosciences blog in the coming weeks!