This time of the year is very exciting for the thousands of Year 12 students at secondary schools. Numbers of career fairs, University Open Days and educational events are happening throughout the county of Kent. They represent excellent opportunities for the students to get the information they need about the programmes offered by many Universities. It is also a great opportunity for the Universities/schools to reach out to the students directly, interact with them and engage with them in a non-stressful, comfortable environment.
And for the recruitment team of Medway School of Pharmacy (MSoP), it was two busy weeks indeed. The intensive recruitment campaign started on October 5th at Benenden School. Sammi Hall and Dr Vladimir Gubala were invited to the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) conference at Benenden, attended by ~120 Year 10-12 students from more than 10 secondary schools from Kent. The Medway School of Pharmacy and Integrated Technologies Limited had exclusive stands, attracting large numbers of students asking simple questions about the career of a pharmacist or the difference between pharmacy and pharmacology. Both Sammi and Vladimir were very busy, giving out leaflets and information about what MSoP could offer them in their future academic path.
MSoP also had a presence at the first two Open Days organised here at the Medway Campus. On Saturday October 8th – University of Greenwich, on Saturday October 15th – University of Kent.
Open Days are extremely important for MSoP, they are usually attended by large number of students and their parents. Therefore, at least one member of the academic team and one student ambassador spend the whole day engaging with the potential new students.
The Greenwich Open day was attended by Dr Gubala and two final year MPharm students: Max Gilbert and Nour Moteirek. The presence of our students made the conversation very much relaxed, both Max and Nour were absolutely excellent when communicating to the potential future MPharm or BSc students.
The Kent Open day was attended by Dr Andrea Manfrin and Max Gilbert. This event had a very large attendance by students and parents. Andrea and Max were approached by a number of students with various backgrounds but their engagement was absolutely brilliant. Dr Gubala attended part of the day too, he and Max Gilbert gave a talk to a small crowd of 25-30 people. Although unplanned, all of the attendees expressed an interest in a tour of MSoP. Max and Vladimir therefore quickly organised an impromptu tour through Anson, which judging from the interactions we had with the students and their parents was very well received.
The recruitment ‘frenzy week’ continued with two big events on Wednesday October 12. Two important events were scheduled on the same day, reaching out to nearly 300 students in Years 11 and 12. The first event, called ‘West Kent Skillsfest’ was organised at Tunbridge Wells buy EBP. Our school was represented by Dr Simon Scott. Simon was approached by groups of Secondary School students that were interested in science and careers. The feedback from the event was excellent: Of the students evaluated, 100% said that they would recommend that their school attends next year. 93% found the experience to be very informative and 90% found the whole experience to be incredibly enjoyable. 100% of teachers found the experience to be enjoyable and worthwhile for their students.
At the same time, on October 12th, Dr Gubala and two students: Emily Wilkins and Nour Moteirek attended a Dartford Grammar Career Faire. This was a large event, where almost every University that offers science programmes made their presence. MSOP really stood out. They were partially represented by both University of Greenwich and Kent’s recruitment officers but also had their own stand and were the only institution that were represented not just by an academic but by two final year MPharm students. This made a massive difference, the engagement of the Secondary School students with the student ambassadors was said to be amazing. Equally, MSoP had about 35 students attending the ‘Pharmacy’ talk, presented jointly by Dr Gubala and Nour Moteirek.
And finally, the busy weeks were closed with a Nuffield Celebration event on October 13. Dr Gubala, his PhD student Voula Kasapidou and two Nuffield students that Dr Gubala hosted in his laboratory over the summer months gave a scientific demonstration to a crowd of nearly 50 students and their parents. The topic of the presentation was ‘New brain cancer therapy’. In about 40 minutes, Dr Gubala and his team of students explained the challenges related to the treatment of brain cancer and for better illustration, the students performed brain surgery using a doll called Molly. This was very interesting, brain cancer is usually a very serious matter but the short demonstration enabled people to understand the challenges and concept of alternative therapies in detail. MSoP had a very good exposure to many potential students, all in Years 11 and 12.