On Thursday 20 June Mr Barrett, ably assisted by Mrs Halls took 14 of our brightest and best young female scientists to Bournemouth University for a laboratory experience morning.  The intent of this was to give some of our young people some insight into what life might be like if they were to go to university to study one of the sciences.

After some initial issues with unlocking the correct minibus and swapping from one with a capacity of 12 to a second with a capacity of 14 (thanks to Mr Law), we were on our way.  Upon arrival, we were met by Magda and some of the other demonstrators that work at the university.  These are employees of the university whose role is to set up and support all the practical work students complete throughout their academic career.

Magda led us to Christchurch House, the home of Biosciences at BU.  Firstly, the students were able to see some of the forensic rooms that have been set up as crime scenes for evidence gathering by forensic science students (one of the most popular courses BU offers). There were bodies, bottles, bloodstains and broken glass abounds!  We then went upstairs to the forensic anthropology lab where students could view a wide variety of reconstructed and recovered human and animal bones.  We then went further up to see some of the specialist spectroscopy equipment before entering the primary teaching lab.   This was large enough to accommodate 120 students and stocked with an impressive range of equipment.  Here, the students were able to suit up and carry out an electrophoresis practical to separate the components of different food dyes.  This involved them using micropipettes to transfer 20μl of each dye into a tiny well in a colourless gel submerged in a sodium bicarbonate buffer solution. It sounds a lot easier than it is but each student ably demonstrated the deft touch required to do this. While the gels ran, students were able to hear the from two female post-graduate scientists (who are both going on to complete Masters degrees) about their time at university, their struggles and successes and their hopes for the future. After reviewing the separation of the dyes, we then retired to the state-of-the-art Fusion building for lunch before making it back to Magna in time for period 5.

Our students were once again a credit to themselves and the academy and a couple of them really seemed to have had their eyes open to a possibility in research science in the future.

Please keep an eye on your inboxes for more STEM opportunities incoming in 2024-25.

Mr Barrett
Deputy Academic Director of Science & STEM coordinator

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