From Aberdeen to Australia - Pharmacology students get opportunity to share experience

Thu, 11 Feb 2021 16:19:00 GMT
Shannon (left) and Erin were delighted to play their part in the worldwide event
Shannon (left) and Erin were delighted to play their part in the worldwide event

GCU Pharmacology students have been reflecting on their experience of being part of an online webinar with students from around the world.

Claire Scobbie, Erin Campbell, Ewan MacLeod, Glen Watt, Shannon Alexander and Zane Horrocks – who are all in their final year at GCU - got the chance to link up with students from Aberdeen, Australia, Malaysia and Myanmar.

The event, which was held in November last year, was organised by the British Pharmacological Society (BPS), who were wanting to learn more about student’s learning experience during the pandemic.

Erin explained why it was an easy decision to get involved when she was asked by BSc (Hons) Programme Lead, Dr Yvonne Dempsie.

She said: “The group of students taking part were quite active and vocal during tutorials. We’re happy to have our cameras on and I think Dr Dempsie was confident we would be keen to help out and keen to present.

The idea for the event came from a lecturer up in Aberdeen, who’s a member of the BPS. My placement had been cancelled in summer and opportunities don’t come along too often during a pandemic! I just felt it was a great idea and immediately wanted to get involved along with the other five students.”

Erin added: “It ended up that I didn’t make it to the actual call due to work but I was involved in the preparation and we also had a meeting the week before with the students from the other universities.

This gave us a really good chance to network and create a bit of a relationship through hearing about their experiences before the actual presentation day.”

Shannon was lucky enough to attend on the day, and was delighted to be involved after some initial nerves.

She explained: “I wasn’t really sure about it at first because I’m not someone who’s particularly confident with public speaking or presentations but when I heard about the other universities involved I realised it was such a good opportunity.

It was great to hear about the different learning experiences and online platforms we’ve been using. Some of the students in other countries were actually able to continue learning on campus, which I was really surprised to hear.

In Malaysia, at the time they were isolating because they were going through the second wave of coronavirus, whereas at that point we weren’t so bad. Aberdeen University were getting to do online lab simulations, which I thought was pretty cool and something I’d be keen to try if we remain in lockdown.”

A total of 30 students from six universities were involved on the day and they were also joined by 200 members of the BPS.

Both Erin and Shannon agree that the whole experience was a great opportunity, especially with their time at GCU coming to a close in the next couple of months.

Erin said: “It’s all about networking at this time, to be honest. The more people you can create a relationship with across our area of work, the better it’s going to be for us in future. There’s never going to be a negative from taking part in something like this.

It puts things into perspective and makes you realise that we’re not alone in the fact we won’t be heading back into a lecture hall with 200 other students any time soon.”

Shannon added: “For me, one of the most appealing parts was that it was for the British Pharmacological Society - I think I had it on my CV by the following week!

I’d definitely recommend others get involved if something similar comes up in future. I’m part of the online community with BPS and I’d been networking with this girl from Aberdeen University and she was actually on the webinar, so that was really nice.

All the students involved exchanged emails and I actually gained some Instagram followers from Malaysia – that was definitely an added bonus too!”

By Ross Clark
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