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Showcasing careers in science

Jenny Hersey, senior clinical scientist at our spoke site at Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, had a stand at the 12th Annual Schools Science Conference in April at Westminster University.

“The theme of the conference this year was ‘Science for Survival’, which links into a variety of topics including sustainability and healthcare, ranging from antibiotic resistance to engineering solutions for water and food.

“Over 280 secondary students from years 9-11 (ages 13-16), attended the conference from schools and colleges across London. They were divided into groups and spent the day rotating around the different talks, workshops and interactive stands available.

“Clinical biochemistry had two interactive stands at this year’s conference, one focusing on diabetes mellitus (Jenny Hersey and Amy Dunne from SWLP) and a screening stand demonstrating urine and faecal screening tests (Amie Thompson from Viapath).

“The aim of the stands was to get the students interested in clinical science by having a go at performing point-of-care blood glucose testing, urine dipsticks and screening for faecal occult blood (all with cleverly mocked-up blood, urine and faecal samples of course!).

We also used the opportunity to educate them on the main differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes – using Halle Berry and Homer Simpson as example cases was well received!

“Thanks to a fantastic donation by Roche® we had a great supply of pens, pencils, post-its and keyrings to give away as prizes when the students explained to us what they knew about diabetes.

“On the whole their knowledge was good with all of them knowing that diabetes was associated with high blood sugar and at least half of the students were able to name insulin as the hormone required for glucose uptake. Differentiating between type 1 and type 2 was less well understood and this is where we focused examples cases.

“The feedback from students and teacher evaluation forms was very positive. The following email was received from one of the schools:

“I just wanted to say thank you
so much for yesterday, the students (and teachers) had a great day. The different stands were fantastic and the students were all talking about how many different scientific fields are available to them”.

“The event continues to be an excellent resource for local schools and I look forward to being involved in the future.”

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