Neuroscience student at University of Leeds

Eleanor Sams

Eleanor chose the MBiol Neuroscience course, giving her the chance to work on a Masters-level year-long research project.

Why did you choose the University of Leeds?

I chose the University of Leeds because I loved the atmosphere of the campus and the city when I came to visit. The campus layout which was close to the city centre really attracted me as it felt like a safe but vibrant student hub within close reach of Leeds city centre.

The facilities within the Faculty of Biological Sciences were impressive and the students giving tours and demonstrations were all friendly and enthusiastic.

What have been the highlights of your time at the University of Leeds?

My Masters year has been a real highlight; I’ve been able to spend the majority of my time in the lab working on my year-long project. I felt like I could take real ownership of this project and move it in directions which interested me, and this has inspired me to continue on to PhD level study. I’ve also been accepted to present my work from this project at the British Undergraduate Research Conference which will allow me to showcase my efforts.

How have the facilities (libraries/labs etc.) helped you get the most out of your degree?

The laboratory facilities are great and demonstrators within teaching labs are always really helpful. In first year, we were given sessions from second years in ‘Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS)’, which provided an informal and accessible way to ask for help and get advice on coursework as well as settling into university life. These sessions were so helpful, especially for getting to grips with essay writing and referencing and statistical analysis for lab reports. In second year, I volunteered as a PASS leader myself to help the year below me settle into life within the faculty.

More recently, the FBS careers facilities have been really useful and helped me to decide on my plans for after graduation and how to demonstrate the experience and skills I have gained during my degree in applications and interviews.

Why did you choose to take the integrated Masters?

I heard about the integrated Masters when I came to a visit day at Leeds and thought it was a great opportunity to be able to fund a master’s course, so I applied knowing that there was the option to transfer onto the BSc course at the end of level two if my plans were to change. I really enjoyed years one and two and decided that I did want to continue onto do a master’s, so I would recommend this option to anyone considering a career in science.

Have you joined any student societies/sports clubs at the university? If so how has this enhanced your time at the University?

This year (my fourth year) I have joined Leeds Raise and Give (RAG) which I have thoroughly enjoyed. I am taking part in their ‘Pedal to Prague’ challenge this summer and have made new friends and had a lot of fun taking part in the socials and training events alongside fundraising for a local charity.

I am also a member of the LUU Science magazine, which has given me the opportunity to enhance my CV and improve my scientific writing skills through producing short articles about science topics in the news.

What key aspects of your experience of Leeds would you highlight to students thinking about coming do the same course?

I took up the opportunity to volunteer in an academic lab in the second semester of level one. This is a great idea if you do plan to go on to do a masters or a final year research project as it gives you an insight into the day to day workings of an academic lab, and looks good on your CV when applying to postgraduate study or research roles. I would also really recommend getting involved in clubs and societies both within the faculty and for wider interests.

What are your ambitions for the future? Do you have specific career plans? Has the Faculty (careers centre/lecturers etc.) helped you with these goals in any way?

I am hoping to go on to study a PhD in neuroscience next year. The faculty careers team have been really helpful with checking over CVs and applications and the integrated Masters module which accompanies the research project has provided interview training as well as discussion of possible career paths for biological science graduates, which was really helpful.