The Department of Earth Sciences has been host to a local secondary school student for two weeks through the In2Science scheme. This national scheme encourages sixth formers to consider careers in science by providing internships that offer access to researchers, labs and projects that capture their imagination.
Fatima has just completed Year 12 at Cherwell School, and was interested in the scheme, despite not having any science A-Levels. “I am studying Geography, Economics and English Literature, but I am really interested in Physical Geography, and the opportunity to work in the Department of Earth Sciences was really appealing.”
Fatima’s research host for the fortnight has been Brooke Johnson, a 2nd year postgraduate whose DPhil project had taken him out to Australia. “I recently returned from Australia with samples of rock core from the Northern Territories. There are so many samples, and initially I was just happy to have an extra pair of hands to help me prepare them for analysis. However, Fatima has been far more useful than that. It turns out my samples are way more interesting than anybody had imagined, and Fatima has been helping prepare, analyse and record the results. Her help has been invaluable over the past two weeks!”
During the past fortnight, Fatima has been introduced to a wide range of scientific preparation and analysis techniques, including rock crushing, thin section preparation, optical microscopy, and even scanning electron microscope (SEM) analysis, using a £1M piece of equipment to identify the elemental composition of the samples. Fatima also joined in on a local field trip to a geological Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), and attended talks in the department.
“I have had a great time in the department, and I would definitely encourage other student to apply for the In2Science scheme, even if they don’t have science A-Levels! I’m now thinking about university, and will probably apply to study Geology or Physical Geography. The advice given by everyone in the department has been extremely useful and I really appreciate the time and effort that Brooke has taken out for me to do all this cool stuff!”