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Supporting the CONNECTED network team

CONNECTED was delighted to host 16 year-old UK work experience student Zoe Anderson, who recently completed her GCSE studies and is hoping to undertake A level study later in the summer.

At the end of a busy week, Zoe wrote a report on her activities which, in thanking her for her hard work, we are pleased to share with CONNECTED members:

Work experience studentThis past week at CONNECTED doing my work experience has been truly incredible, it has given me an insight into this field of work that I never expected to have.

Before going, I had hoped to just get a general feel of the world of work and to talk to everyone so I could try to get a glimpse of the array of fantastic jobs there are in this area of science, and to possibly hear about all the different career routes that everyone had taken so that I could use all of this to help me going forward. Luckily, I have certainly achieved all that and more!

Throughout the week, I have been given a range of different tasks to do, the first was spreadsheet analysis that I was shown how to do by Dr Nina Ockendon-Powell (Network Manager) and Dr Diane Hird (Network Manager) which I then continued to do by myself and managed to create a few sheets on Excel from my work.

After, they gave me a list of the main crops in Africa and I found the main diseases that affect them, the viruses that cause the diseases and vectors that transmit the virus for each crop.

This meant I also learnt a lot about these diseases, which will definitely be useful for Biology A-level and to find all this information I used Google Scholar which I didn’t know how to do before. This will really help me find any science research I need to do for school in future much more easily.

On top of that, I found logos of some institutions the network members come from, gathered emails of different news media in several countries in Africa, and helped create a poster presentation by making a timeline of several projects that CONNECTED does.

There has always been something to do which really kept this whole experience interesting and everyone was very willing to help me when I needed it.

It has been amazing to see all the different facilities in life sciences, like the teaching labs there are, which I even got to spend some time in and helped with making sure that a practical was ready for students.

There were many PhD students that worked in labs that I managed to talk to, they told me about the different diseases they had been working on and what they aim to do every day. From these talks I learnt about how these diseases have a massive impact on people’s lives because it was their source of food and of income, also that the scale of the issue is massive, which I had no idea about before. It was really great hearing that the work they were doing was having a big positive impact on so many people.

From learning that a lot of motivation comes from knowing that what you are doing actually has a really important impact on lots of people, I now know that that would be something which could motivate me in the future when in a job (and it helps me to look at what sort of job I would like to do).

As well as this, many people didn’t know what they wanted to do and ended up finding their job because it was something they discovered going further through education that they didn’t know existed before, and this gave me great comfort, that I will find new things that interests me as I go through the different stages of education myself.

As a whole, this experience has given me a lot to take further on into life; a great sense of a working environment, the different types of jobs there are, lots of new skills and also just an amazing week!

Zoe Anderson

The CONNECTED network team is hugely grateful to Zoe for all her work, and wishes her well with her future studies.