A group of science students from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) have been thanked by the head of Bermuda’s government for their work in the community during a #DMUglobal trip to the island.
18 Biomedical Science, Medical Science and Forensic Science students spent a week in Bermuda in November, accompanied by two lecturers, including trip lead Dr Carika Weldon, who is originally from Bermuda.
The trip involved the chance to educate Bermudian children with science workshops, a visit to a hospital laboratory, a forensic science competition and joining a community outreach rally, all delivered in partnership with the Bermuda Principles Foundation Fund, a charity created by Dr Weldon based on the original Bermuda Principles document made during the Human Genome Project.
Second year student Gregory Ambrose was one of 15 Biomedical Science students in Bermuda and he identified both the academic and cultural aspects of the trip as highlights.
He said: “I learnt so much in Bermuda. It has helped me progress in both my education and personal skills. Not only this, but it was great to make an impact to another culture and help educate the next generation of scientist. All of this wouldn’t have been possible for myself without the support of Dr Weldon and Bermuda Principles.
“Being in Bermuda, we are able to explore how the island interacts with biomedical science and what it means in terms of benefitting healthcare for Bermuda’s people.
“We explored Bermuda’s hospital, specifically its laboratories. It was both interesting and valuable to see this in person, it allowed me to expand the horizons in my mind of what I could do with my degree in Biomedical Science.”
A key part of the trip was DMU students having the chance to do presentations to children in Bermudian schools and assist with an island-wide schools competition.
Gregory cited the chance to work with local children as an important opportunity for personal development.
He explained: “A major part of the trip to Bermuda was to educate children of the island more about Biomedical Science and how it’s so important to health care. We did this through presentations and this really allowed me to improve in my speaking and presentation skills. Oh and we had some practical fun too!
“We had the pleasure of sharing laboratory experiments like gel electrophoresis and PCR with students. Lots of schools took part and they all had great fun running their own experiments and getting their own results!”
Biomedical Science lecturer Dr Weldon, who led the visit to her home island, is pleased to have been able to give something back to her native island.
She explained: “I’m from Bermuda and all of my education was funded by Bermuda so I thought it would be good to use a #DMUglobal trip to give back to the community by doing science workshops in schools. I wanted to work with the Ministry of Education to promote science amongst the youth of Bermuda, especially girls.”
Dr Weldon believes that the students will also benefit from the experience, with the practical teaching element enabling them to grow their skills and confidence.
“The main thing for the students was for them to improve their presentation skills,” she said.
“As a scientist you need to be able to communicate your work to a variety of audiences, so the idea is that they go to a new place with people they don’t know and do presentations on biomedical science. By them teaching others it’s going to strengthen and increase their confidence in their own knowledge.”
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The efforts of DMU’s students and staff during their time in Bermuda did not go unnoticed and was recognised in a specific message of thanks from the head of Bermuda’s government during a two-minute speech to parliament on their last day in the territory.
The Premier of Bermuda, the Hon David Burt, JP, MP, praised the work of Dr Weldon and thanked DMU’s students for their work in schools, with a particular focus on their success in helping 394 students, 70% of which were female.
He said: “It is a privilege to congratulate Dr Weldon for the work that she continues to do overseas and it is very gratifying for someone such as herself to make sure that she uses the reach that she has to promote STEM inside of schools and specifically STEM learning regarding the increasing amount of women that are inside those fields.
“Congratulations to a fine young Bermudian doing excellent work, globally recognised in her field, but also doing excellent work to give back to her community locally.”
Posted on Wednesday 24th January 2018