Welcome to my blog! This blog is part of an assessment for the Science Scholars program at the University of Auckland, based in New Zealand.
Never heard of Science scholars? This is a group of high-achieving undergraduate students passionate about science. There are about 35 of us as of 2015 (year of the launch of the program), but this number is expected to increase over the years.
Each Monday, the group meets to attend a 2-hour session, where faculty members, and occasionally industry experts, present to us some material about science in general, or about a specific field of science. Apart from this, each individual also has:
- An academic mentor: For me, this is one of the best parts of the program. A senior member of faculty is paired with each student. There are fortnightly meetings where the student and their mentor discuss the student’s progress. Because the mentor has a lot of experience, they can guide the student when the student encounters any kind of hardship. I am grateful for each mentor in the program because they volunteered to be a mentor. Although my mentor has a busy life juggling lots of responsibilities, she still makes time for me (and the other student she mentors!), for which I am very grateful.
- An opportunity to plan their own research project (during year 2), and complete this project (during third year). This is an amazing opportunity, as students outside of this program may only start research projects during their Honours year (year 4). Although the project is likely to be smaller and less independent than a PhD, it does give students a valuable head start. Because the research will take up a large amount of time, the planning and the project itself will both count as 1 paper each, and will likely be graded as one.
- Assessments. In semester 1, assessments included creative writing and a small project on one of the topics from the 12 weeks. In semester 2, the assessments include this blog and a final presentation on one of the topics covered from this semester. I am nervous about this presentation- as I have been in other speeches- but if it is a topic I am passionate about, I should be fine.
I plan on writing a piece every week, after that week’s science scholars session. Depending on the amount of free time, I might add other articles. The topic of each week is as follows:
- What does a real-life scientific controversy look like from the inside?
- Getting it wrong- science communication
- Medical Ethics
- Facebook Fraud
- Climate Change
- Big Science
- Clinical and Forensic Psychology
- Tomorrow’s Table: Food for the Future
- Sugar: it fuels the Earth
Links for each blog post will be added when I have written the article for that week. Also, you might have noticed that some of the weeks are bolded– these are the ones I have particular interest in, so keep an eye out for the articles on these topics.
Thank you for reading this far and be sure to check out the Science Scholars program! (If this link isn’t working correctly, click the top link.)