Student Perspectives: Confidence in my Abilities

Student Perspectives: Confidence in my Abilities

In this blog series, we hear from some of the students on the 2020 Diversity Access Programme (the precursor to the 2021 Research Access Programme).  We asked students at the end of their placement to share their thoughts and experiences.

My name is Shaaezmeen and I am Biomedical Sciences BSc student at Brunel University London.  Like most students who reach the end of the second year of their degree, there comes a time where there is an influx of internship applications to complete.  I heard about this particular programme through my university and after reading about all the amazing research being done especially in areas of science I had not encountered before such as epigenetics, I applied for the opportunity to learn even more.  In candour, I did not expect to hear back from a prestigious institute such as Babraham.  This is because I admittedly did not have as much confidence in my abilities as one would like.  However, this all began to change in the five-week programme with the institute.  To disclose, this internship ran online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which was impressive in and of itself and made me feel even more grateful for the experience.

For my project, I worked with Dr Fátima Santos from the epigenetics Reik lab on a project analysing the DNA methylation levels of embryonic stem cell states using immunofluorescence images.  Within the first week of the project, I had delved into new and exciting research literature, and already learned how to use a new image analysis program.  As the project went on, my knowledge and my curiosity increased, and I received the opportunity to use even more programs such as one for statistical analysis.  These are all skills I hope to take with me for the remainder of my degree and beyond.

I had changed and grown in a matter of weeks... I now consider myself a budding scientist

Throughout all of this, my supervisor was completely supportive and was always willing to answer any queries involving the science, advise on STEM careers, and even went as far as to discuss other scientific topics which interest me personally.  When I was not working on my project, I was often attending online seminars and meetings with those in the industry to learn about their career paths and the cutting-edge research being done at the Institute.

By the end of the programme, it was time to present my research and I had felt so encouraged through this whole process that I was able to do it with ease and self-assurance.  Essentially, I realised that I had changed and grown in a matter of weeks!

In society, as many women of colour know, opportunities such as these can feel like they are difficult to get and this can cause us to needlessly doubt our abilities.  However, after completing this programme, I can say with confidence that I consider myself a budding scientist and I am hopeful for my future career endeavours.  So, I say trust in yourself and give yourself a chance, because a programme like this just might be for you!

Applications for our 2021 Research Access Programme are now open and close on Monday 29th March 2021.  For more information, click here.