School Outreach with SBRC's Dr Andrew Dempster

Careers Talk to English Martyrs' Catholic School, Leicester “Careering into Science” by Dr Andrew Dempster, SBRC Nottingham

I was asked by a former colleague of ours at the SBRC, Nimit Joshi (now assistant head of science at a secondary school in Leicester), to give a 20 minute presentation on my career in science so far. I was to be talking to the whole of Year 9 at English Martyrs’ Catholic School - approximately 160 students in total, split over two sessions.

The talks were conducted on 23 and 25 June 2021 via Teams. I spoke about my unconventional career route from computer science to microbiology and everything in between - pharmacy, semi-professional rugby and more recently covid lab volunteer. I also gave a brief introduction to microbiology – prokaryotes vs eukaryotes and DNA aimed at the level at which they were currently or due to be learning, through pictures and videos of lab techniques to keep it engaging. Relating these concepts to the (non-confidential) activities we perform at the SBRC, I gave a visual example of how we study gene function in bacteria with a motility mutant and plate assay (thanks to Alex for that) and spoke about how we can apply these principles in health and industrial biotechnology. 

As we’ve all learnt over the last year, talking to a screen for 20 minutes, it is quite difficult to judge your audience, but I was told that the Year 9 students were all engaged and responded enthusiastically to the talk – asking even more questions once my session had ended. Overall a very positive and humbling experience talking about science careers and teaching molecular biology to a young and impressionable audience. 

Dr Andrew Dempster

Dr Andrew Dempster