Life as a Student Rep

Today we have a guest writer for our blog, BSc(hons) Chemistry student Sophie Wain. Sophie has been the student year rep for two years running now and is heavily involved with ChemSoc, our chemistry student social group, having become vice-president this year. She is just about to embark on a year placement with BMW but has given us an insight into her role as a student rep before she goes.

sophie

I opted for the post of Course Representative in first year, feeling that there were changes I could make to my environment at the university and wanting to have an active role in doing so. Through working as a conduit between the staff and students, I brought about changes particularly in increasing interpersonal activities between the students – changes that could be seen the following year in the new freshman cohort, in which there was a much friendlier and close-knit relationship between the students.

Taking this role of responsibility gave me a taste for making a difference and through it I became much more confident in my leadership abilities. I took on another leadership role when the Chemistry Society was rekindled midway through my first year, and by second year I held the position of Vice President. I continued as Course Representative into second year and intend to resume my role again in third year after I have completed my placement year as an analytical chemist with luxury car manufacturer BMW, a position I believe that my active role in university helped me gain the skills to achieve.

We hope she enjoys her placement year and look forward to hearing more about it once she’s settled in.

 

Salters’ Festival of Chemistry

This week we once again played host to the Salters Festival of Chemistry. This is an annual event which brings together schools from all over East and West Sussex and some in Surrey and Kent as well.

They had an entertaining day starting with an introduction to chemistry and Brighton and where chemistry can take you. Then it was on to the first practical activity, The Salters’ Challenge. This was a murder mystery where the pupils used our laboratories and equipment to idenitfy some unknown substances and nail the suspect. Some great forensic sleuthing from all involved!

After lunch was the University Challenge (not the quiz show!). This involved identifying functional groups and testing chemicals to produce a spectrum of colour. Then both pupils and their teachers were treated to a Chemical Magic show from our very own Professor Hal Sosabowski.

Final part of the day was the prizegiving. All of the schools performed very well and there were some tough decsions for the judges. Final results were:

Salters’ Challenge University Challenge
1st Farlington School, Horsham Brighton College, Brighton
2nd The Hawthorns School, Bletchingley Christ’s Hospital School, Horsham
3rd Priory School, Lewes Lavant House, Chichester

We hope everyone that came enjoyed their day and saw how exciting university chemistry can be. Thanks to all of our staff involved with the day and for the schools for being so keen and enthusiastic. We’ll see you next year!

Student successes

Royal Society of Chemistry Undergraduate Research Bursary

One of our MChem students has successfully gained a bursary to undertake some research at the university with Dr Irina Savina and Professor Sergey Mikhalovsky during the summer. Lorraine will spend 7 weeks within the research laboratories at the University of Brighton developing novel macroporous gels based on lignin. Lignin is currently attracting attention for its low cost and eco-friendly properties and is produced as a by-product of the wood and paper industry. Lorraine will be synthesising and characterising polymers made from lignin taking advantage of the adsorption ability to remove metals from water.

 

Salter’s Graduate prize shortlist

Congratulations also go to one of our final year chemists, Lois, who was nominated by us to compete for the Salter’s graduate prize for chemistry and chemical engineering. Whilst not quite gaining the final prize we are very pleased that she was shortlisted for interview. The prizes are awarded based on assessment of the candidate to occupy leading positions in public life and we are certain that Lois will do will in her career once she graduates.

work, work, work

The Royal Society of Chemistry is putting on its third Chemistry World Jobs Live event in London on the 25th Novemeber. Ideal for any of you final year students looking for possible graduate entry career paths, second years thinking of placements or anyone just to give you an idea of what sorts of jobs are available for you after you graduate. Held at the home of the RSC at Burlington house it is a really easy trip from Brighton. Definitely worth going. Follow the link to find out more and register to attend.