This year as part of the annual MRC Festival of Medical Research, twenty-five scientists and support staff from across the MRC, including the LMB’s Claudia Bonfio, took part in ‘I’m a scientist, get me out of here!’. This online public engagement event involved participants talking to school students from across the UK, answering students’ questions about medical science, their research, wider interests and much more, and participating in live text-based chats. Students then voted for their favourite scientist who won £500 to spend on further public engagement.
Claudia Bonfio, postdoc in the LMB’s PNAC Division, gained her place in the event after a competitive application process. Claudia’s research focuses on understanding how and where life began on Earth, and whether life is possible elsewhere in the universe. Claudia said,
“It was a great opportunity to get to know more about what students think of science and scientists, as well as answering their curious questions about our daily life and research.
When I meet students at science festivals and events, I always talk about my research, trying to be engaging and sound interesting. What I learnt from participating in ‘I’m a scientist…’ is that young students are also (sometimes mainly) interested in scientists’ daily lives rather than our research work. They often look for models to follow, or someone to communicate with, so sharing our personal choices and experiences would be the best way to connect with them.
Taking part in ‘I’m a scientist…’ was definitely a great experience that I would recommend!”
The event aimed to inspire young people to take an interest in and even consider a career in science by connecting them with scientists and scientific support staff. Reaching over 2000 students at 40 schools from across the UK, the event focused on those schools with a low participation in higher education and STEM engagement.
The MRC Festival of Medical Research takes place in June each year and involves MRC-funded units, centres and institutes showcasing and discussing their work with a wide variety of audiences through events and activities.