With the theme From Macro to Micro, the 22 pupils enjoyed a seminar series asking ‘What makes humans different?’ led by Wadham’s Access Assistant Dr Catherine Seed, alongside sessions on cellular and animal biology, lab sessions in Plant Sciences, an immunology session and lectures with Wadham Fellows. Wadham student ambassadors were on hand to support the school students throughout the week.
Aaminah, 17, from a state school in Birmingham, heard about the summer school from her sister who took part last year. She is hoping to study Medicine at University and is doing A levels in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Maths and Further Maths.
“I have really enjoyed the practicals – hands on experience gives a proper taste of what it will be like doing lab work here,” she said. “The environment at Wadham is very encouraging and I have met a lot of like-minded people. I had been scared that I would not fit in but everyone is really nice and the student ambassadors are really approachable. Even just on the summer school we feel at home and by living close together in Wadham student accommodation we can make friends. It is a stimulating environment and there is time to study in depth with people who enjoy the same things as you,” she added.
“I think it is very important to visit – the vibe is not always what you see online and in the publicity. Talking to someone who is doing the subject is very powerful,” said Melissa, 17 from London who is passionate about cell biology and wants to study Biochemistry.
A first-time visitor to Oxford, Melissa is putting a lot of pressure on herself to do well because she feels the tutorial system would be right for her: “In a large group you do not get the same opportunity to ask questions and in a one to one you can push yourself”
The programme included a communications skills workshop and at the end of the five days, participating students made group presentations based on their own research.
Information on the Oxford application process was provided by Wadham’s Access Officer, Hugh Munro. Wadham is extremely grateful to the participating academics Emma Cohen, Nathalie Seddon, Mark Fricker and Janinia Nahler and to the wonderful student ambassadors: Afrose Dor, Catriona Robinson, Catherine Byrne, Eleanor Ayre, Hannah Harrington and Louis Torracinta for their support.
This summer school programme is made possible thanks to the generosity of Wadham alumni.