Name: Elizabeth Featherstone

Course: BSc (Hons) Biology

Did you complete any of the advanced skills workshops in your subject area?

I attended the Futures events: Lab-on-a-chip, Molecular Bacterial Identification Lab: Advanced Skills, Risk Management for Scientists/Engineers, and DNA Virtual Lab and Augmented Reality: Biology Taster. These workshops gave me the opportunity to work “hands-on” with many concepts discussed in lectures, making me feel more equipped to work in a lab environment. This is beneficial towards my career as lab experience and confidence in my work is vital.

Have you attended any interdisciplinary workshops this year?

Drug Design: Computational Insights (Chemistry), NMR: Advanced Analysis Techniques, Drugs of Abuse: Detection and Analysis, Spanish (1-week beginner course). I found that these workshops expanded my knowledge both around my subject area and in general. For example, in Drug Design, we looked at how chemists design drugs using computers. This gave me a lot of insight into what goes on after a biologist has found an interesting compound. In the Spanish course, I learned about Spanish culture as well as the language, thus better preparing me to work as part of an interdisciplinary team.

Which workshops would you recommend?

Army Leadership and Teamwork Training and a Cultural Awareness workshop. Firstly, I recommend the Cultural Awareness workshop provided by Futures because this workshop made me realise that my knowledge about my own culture and other peoples was severely lacking. This workshop made me realise that in order to respect someone and treat them fairly it’s important to know about their culture. This prompted me to start Manchester Met’s Multicultural society. The second workshop I would recommend is the Army Leadership workshop. This workshop is absolutely incredible, it provided you with a new way of thinking and problem solving. It also gets you to evaluate how you perform in a team and what role you are most comfortable in. However, I think the biggest gain from this is confidence, I found that after attending this workshop I was much more comfortable within a leadership role within a team.

Has the Futures programme given you the confidence to try something that you may not have done before?

Over the time I have spent completing the Futures Award my confidence has increased dramatically. Before attending Futures I couldn’t speak in front of small groups or speak on camera. Since completing the Futures programme, I have now found that I can speak in front of large audiences, on camera and I am comfortable teaching my subject area to younger generations. I believe that Futures has given me the confidence and knowledge to be comfortable in many situations that would have previously made me nervous.

What do you think the benefits of taking part in the programme are for students from the Faculty of Science and Engineering?

The benefits are simple, you will increase your knowledge about your subject and other subject areas, and you will increase your confidence. With both of these combined, your academic performance should benefit and also your employability!

Can you describe Futures in one word or sentence?

Futures is crucial when preparing for employment.