Unit hosts school pupils for another successful STEM placement scheme

Unit hosts school pupils for another successful STEM placement scheme

Photo of a visiting In2scienceUK school pupil working at a lab bench

In2scienceUK student gets involved with neuroanatomy research at the MRC BNDU.

Over the summer and half-term break, the MRC Brain Network Dynamics Unit once again hosted school pupils enrolled on an innovative work-experience placement scheme that was organised in partnership with the charity in2scienceUK.

The placement scheme 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). During their time in the Unit, the pupils worked alongside Unit researchers and were given personalised mentoring to gain a wide variety of practical experiences, from electrical engineering to electron microscopy. The pupils also learned more about key concepts and challenges in neuroscience and medical research. In parallel to Unit-based activities, the pupils received guidance on university applications, wider information about STEM careers, and training in transferable skills from in2scienceUK. The pupils recorded their experiences and progress in blogs, images, and videos.

Unit researcher Dr Polytimi Frangou commented “I really enjoyed spending time with my student mentee and discussing what a researcher's life is like. I was so impressed by her questions and how quickly she picked up on everything we showed her. I would be keen to be a host again in the future, as I can appreciate what the experience means for students - what I wouldn’t have given to have had that opportunity at her age!”

Visiting pupil Nabila Salex commented “Observing neuroscientists and all the amazing staff at the MRC BNDU was an exciting experience. I participated in experiments, including preparing mouse brain sections on a slide and looking at them with a fluorescence microscope. Thanks to the amazing mentor who organised my work, my time at the Unit was jam-packed with engaging activities, and I looked forward to coming in every day. As a bonus, the placement experience helped me stand out in my personal statement, which led to an offer from a leading university. I would definitely recommend everyone to sign up for the programme!”

Based on the feedback from visiting pupils and Unit researchers alike, the placements were clearly great successes. We wish all the pupils the best for their future STEM careers.