Over this academic year, A level biology students from Uxbridge High School have been specially selected to take part in Young Scientist Days at UCL, at the Arthritis Research UK Centre for Adolescent Rheumatology (http://www.centre-for-adolescent-rheumatology.org/) as pioneered by Miss Ooi, their Biology teacher. This has allowed students the chance to ensure their voice is heard and influence our work, whilst gaining hands-on work experience of medical research at UCL and receive a Young Scientist Award. These days have included:
- An Introduction to Adolescent Rheumatology and Clinical Medical Research environments spanning academia and NHS.
- Involvement in focus group discussions to provide their views and opinions on shaping research projects, to ensure the public perspective is also grounded in our research, to complement our patient views.
- Running appropriate experiments in the laboratory to learn about immunology and laboratory techniques, including demonstration of equipment involved in sample preparation.
- Participating in research by donating blood, completing questionnaires on psychological measures and having cardiovascular measurements taken.
- Interacting with our staff and students about possible career options, going to university or into work, including discussions of good interview technique and things to include in personal statements and CVs.
This has been a fantastic collaboration between UCL and Uxbridge High School. So far 23 students have attended three Young Scientist Days and have greatly helped the Centre for Adolescent Rheumatology with their research, as well as gaining valuable hands-on experience of medical research within the university environment to help with their professional development.