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During the summer we took on board a couple of students, to give them some work experience in a lab environment. Below is a blog post from Darnell, who gives an overview of himself and his time with us:

“Hello, my name is Darnell and I’m currently a year 13 student at a local college in Plymouth. I started studying my A-Levels two years ago when I picked Biology; Business Studies and Geography, however, after a while I realised I had a passion for science and decided that I wanted to do an A-Level in Chemistry. Therefore, I finished my A-Level in Geography and Biology and started studying Chemistry this year, I also plan on staying on an extra year to finishing the Chemistry A-Level.

As I’m not going to university next year, I thought it would be in my best interest to gain some experience in the research side of science. Thanks to my school, I found a fantastic project from Nuffield that enabled me to do exactly this! The project composed of 4 weeks of research at a science lab. After the placement I would have to complete a report of what I done and present it in front of various people. After a few weeks of emailing various labs a-cross Plymouth, thankfully, Biovault agreed to take me on.

Since my time studying here, I have not only done some significant research in the exiting field of stem cells, but I have met some fantastic people who share the same passion and interest for science as I do. I have learnt to use some very technical equipment, like the Flow Cytometer which is only taught at the latter stages of science degrees! I have also been taught how to operate appropriately in aseptic labs; being careful not to contaminate any samples. This would help me enormously for my application to university as I can guarantee that the majority of students applying for a science course would not have anything like the experience that I have gained at my time here! Furthermore, I have had a lot of help from experienced staff that have published their own reports and research, including the use of statistics, which has showed me how to structure a report.

I have enjoyed my time here at Biovault mainly because the staff have been so welcoming and polite. They gave me my own locker and access key which really made me feel like a part of the staff. Moreover, they’ve given me the exact experience I wished for. They gave me the support I needed in my report and clear instructions on what my research was about and what I was going to achieve from my time there. So I am now leaving this fantastic facility with not only a huge amount of new knowledge, that will prepare me for university but also the confidence of presenting a good report. ”

We wish Darnell all the best in his future academic and professional career.