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Student Success | 2012

Phil Martin MGeol Geology, Third Year

Helen Morton MGeol Geology, Third year

Rachel Cunningham MSc Psychology

When I applied for and was awarded a Nuffield Foundation Undergraduate Research Bursary in my second year. This award and the 8 weeks of research that came with it allowed me to work and develop skills and knowledge over the summer of 2011 as part of an active research team led by Dr Stephen Grimes. The research I undertook was related to a greenhouse event in Earth’s geological past. The greenhouse event occurred 55 million years ago and I looked at how we can track the event using carbon isotopes in fossil wood. At the end of this research I gave a talk on what I had done and discovered at the Centre for Research in Earth Science (CRES) conference in the 16th November 2011 in front of an audience consisting of visiting academics, PU academics, researchers and students something I could never have done previously.

During the summer of 2011, I was awarded a Nuffield Research Scholarship fund to work on the Macquarie Island Gabbros (South Pacific). This project was proposed by Dr. Arjan Dijkstra who had collected the samples several years earlier and whom I worked alongside. The results were presented at the CRES conference in November 2011 at Plymouth University and I also presented the results to the Volcanics and Magmatics Study Group Conference 2012 in Durham where I received a commendation for my work. The project was a steep learning curve and the Durham conference allowed me to gain some useful contacts that has led to possible work placements and plenty of support and advice from influential people who work in the industry I would like to work in. Attending the conferences has given me confidence to stand up in front of my peers and present findings in a constructive and professional manner.

Across the year I have sat on Parliament as Postgraduate Campaigns Chair, I established and have the position of president of the Gender Equality Society, and currently work as a Research Assistant within the University. As president of the Gender Equality Society I lead an event called ‘Reclaim the Night’ which is a march that is held to take a stand against sexual violence on the streets. Over the past few years I volunteered with Women’s Organisations and Children’s Services.

As a result of being awarded a Nuffield Foundation Undergraduate Research Bursary, of conducting independent research, and giving a well received and accurate talk in front of peers and other academics I have come to the realisation that I not only want a career in research and academia, but I now have the confidence to pursue my goal. The effects the Nuffield Foundation Research Bursary has had on me cannot be measured and I consider myself exceptionally lucky to have won this award and would recommend it to everyone.

My post as Research Assistant where I work part-time alongside my Masters looks at the impact of student volunteering in the community and the barriers to volunteering. I carry out one to one in-depth interviews, questionnaires and collect data for the project. I also co-write the surveys, do the literature review search and matrices, and transcribe the interviews that have been recorded. As part of my role I liaise with external organisations and students to build important links between the University and its community. I have been in post since January. My confidences in my own ability and realisation of my capacity for self-development have flourished. Previously I worked in a customer facing role but aspired to gain employment that would enhance my CV for my future career goals and that I could feel passionate about.


Student Success with Plymouth University  

Plymouth University students are undertaking a number of activities to great success and to celebrate this hosted an event to showcase these...

Student Success with Plymouth University  

Plymouth University students are undertaking a number of activities to great success and to celebrate this hosted an event to showcase these...