The responsibilities we held were much greater than would perhaps normally be required of an undergraduate
I believe a large part of my Biochemical Society Undergraduate Recognition Award is acknowledgement of the effort put into my Part II project and contribution to the research group throughout my time there. Joining the group in October, it was newly established during a pandemic and during the first four months of my Part II the lab team consisted of myself and a Part II Chemist. As such, the responsibilities we held were much greater than would perhaps normally be required of an undergraduate and we worked together to establish the lab space, order supplies and any additional equipment we needed and, once introduced to techniques I had not previously used, we were largely independent of supervision at the bench.
The lack of pre-existing protocols meant I quickly gained a lot of skills in designing experiments and the unique position I was in gave me a lot of ownership over my project and the direction in which I wanted it to take. This led to being involved in discussions with visiting speakers at seminars and helping to arrange external collaborations. Now, almost a year later, the lab has over ten members with a mix of visiting students, PhD candidates, post-docs and masters students and I feel very proud of the role I played in shaping and building the foundations and atmosphere of the group, and am very thankful to my supervisors for the opportunity and trust they placed in me.
Mark Roberts, the Department of Biochemistry's Teaching Facilitator STEM ambassador said: "Anna enabled her new supervisor and co-workers to engage with the wider Oxford research community through the collaborations she initiated. Anna required minimal to no supervision to use an exceptionally wide range of techniques to achieve important results and develop a range of methods which she then demonstrated to other PhD students, showing an exceptional level of knowledge transfer for a junior student."