CNIE offers student research placements

30 August 2015

Shantona Shahid, a student from Eltham High School, undertook at two-week project in the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering at UCL under supervision of Prof Marc-Olivier Coppens’ lab. During her placement she worked on a number of experiments including one to identify pulse frequency effect on pattern formation in pulsed fluidised beds as well as reading articles on packing biological cargoes in mesoporous materials to identify new opportunities for drug delivery and learned how to use a computational analysis programme and created a visual representation of 1 ubq to name but a few activities.

Before undergoing this experience I truly believed that engineering was an industry filled with males. After completing a week of experience at the centre for nature inspired engineering in UCL I understand that this is not necessarily the truth as I shadowed many female PhD students. The experience has given me an amazing insight into what the career could involve and how there are many different pathways which can be taken to reach the end goal, I found this as many of the scientists I spoke to didn’t have a degree in chemical engineering but in many different fields such as chemistry, computer science, physics and many more. I have learnt a lot of methods and analytical techniques, exposure to this is something which wouldn’t have been available without this programme as school and sixth form only give you basic understanding. This experience was very inspiring and led me to finalise my choice to pursue a career in science and it was truly unforgettable, I am very grateful for the opportunity I have and advise many to do the same.” Shantona Shahid, In2Science student

When I heard about the In2ScienceUK programme I immediately accepted to host a student in the EPSRC Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering (CNIE) and the Department of Chemical Engineering, as encouraging young talent and sharing the joys of research and engineering is close to my heart. It is through such placements that students who would otherwise not have access to what a career in chemical engineering could be like, or what research means, could explore this first-hand. Not only do I believe that it is our responsibility as academics to engage with young people and the general public, giving them an insight into what we do, but it is fun for us as well. Another reason is that I firmly believe in the importance of diversity in the workplace and we absolutely need more women and other underrepresented groups in engineering, because diversity increases creativity. In fact, this legacy that our university is so famous for was an important factor in my own decision to work at UCL. I wish Shantona all the best for the future, and hope that the placement in our lab may encourage her to develop her talent in science and engineering further. It was also a great experience for our PhD students and postdoctoral researchers, including our CNIE postdoc, Dr Kasia Maksimiak, who mentored her, to share their research with an In2Science student, and everyone felt Shantona was a delight to have around. We have been very impressed with how much she learnt and her presentation during our research group meeting” Professor Marc-Olivier Coppens, Head of Department, UCL Chemical Engineering

CNIE offers student research placements