Nikita Myannik, Neuroscience, Undergraduate degree, international student

Nikita Myannik

Why did you choose the University of Leeds?

I choose the University of Leeds, because it was important to me to choose a university in which there is a strong sense of community. When I came to Leeds for an open day I saw how people interacted with each other. They resembled a unity unlike in any other university. This combined with University of Leeds high university ranking, created a perfect image for me – a positive community where people study and share their experience with their friends.

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

I took discovery modules in Italian and Parasitology and it was a great part of my course. Discovery modules make university feel more personal and allows for a unique experience like no other course. The University of Leeds understands well how to accommodate the needs of students to be adventurous and desire to try out new things. Implementing these two modules into my degree has proved me with an experience unlike others and allowed me to make friends with students from different courses.

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

Labs are my favourite part of the course. I feel like a real scientist during labs, because you can finally transfer your theoretical knowledge into practice. I currently working in the area of neuroscience which has emerged only in the last 20 years - perineuronal nets. With a limited amount of literature about this topic, making the research about it both challenging and exciting. I am given a lot of independence in terms of time and project management which allows me to balance my study and free time.

Why did you choose to take the integrated Masters? (if applicable)

Researchers and lecturers at the University of Leeds inspired me to do so. With knowledge, they have transferred their passion for their subject of the research. I want to do the same, to experience such love and deep understanding of neuroscience.

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

I started my own Leeds University Union society the Bioethics Debating Society at the University of Leeds. As President, I spend my free time taking on a leadership position and studying controversial topics such as Human Cloning and Animal Experimentation. In society, I have created a platform for students to share their opinion, learn and make contributions towards desirable changes in the "system". I think it is important for a scientist to not only know the facts and theories but also be aware of moral and social views on scientific topics. When I came to the University of Leeds, there was no platform for student to share their views and opinions on important scientific ethical topics. But, what I have learned about the University of Leeds, is that my university supports students’ ideas, wants us to develop into mature members of society and become successful in life. Therefore, I have created now my own society, thanks to the University of Leeds Union, which supplied me with the necessary information and guidance on how to run a society.

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

I really enjoyed that my passion for neuroscience is shared here. I enjoy how there is no indifferent to relevant neuroscience news and that I can discuss it with my peers. Lectures are interactive which allows the material to stick better and for longer. I love that tutors here, really care for you not only in terms of getting a good grade but also your mental well-being, employment and social life. The best part of the University of Leeds experience so far was close interaction with the scientific world here in Leeds. Nearly all lecturers do research and this means I always get up to date material about the topic. 

My favourite module is my dissertation. I love that I get to choose the topic I am interested in and study in depth and also get tons of help from my dissertation tutor Dr Jessica Kwok and PhD students.

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?

My plan for the future is to pursue my neuroscience career further into a research area. I have not quite chosen which topic I want to study exactly, but I am sure I will find it out soon enough.

Faculty of Biological Sciences has provided me with a great job opportunity. In my first year, I became a Faculty of Biological Sciences Ambassador. Only this job provided training, including flexible working hours and high pay, but also gave me great work experience. I would recommend everyone to apply for this position, since there you will learn how to communicate with a big group, definitely improve your leadership and presentation skills.