A year in the making, a whole lot of marking: 2014 BSc dissertations

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Thunk!

For weeks now, the Biosciences staff have been seen bustling along corridors with piles of papers to mark. Course work, practical reports, exam papers, and probably the highlight of our marking – the final year dissertations. This is very much the culmination of almost a year’s study on original research projects, the capstone module for Bioscience degrees at UoG. It’s always satisfying for supervisors to see the final result of all this hard work, how the projects (and the students) have developed, and all the neat science that’s been done. As we tidy up the last few loose ends (most of the marks were published earlier today) it’s clear that the overall quality this year is, again, very high, and we look forward to continuing our success in publishing some of this work in scientific journals (a serious CV booster for a career in science).

All this casts our minds back to the Biosciences Research Symposium back in January, when each student presented a poster of the main findings of their dissertation research project up to that point. The symposium was a great success, with a great atmosphere in the Chapel at Francis Close Hall Campus, and it was encouraging to see so many first and second year Bioscience students getting involved (to pick up tips for their dissertations?), along with staff and students from other courses. James Derounian (Principal Lecturer in Community Development and Local Governance) was kind enough to say, “There was a real buzz about the place, it put a shiver down my spine to speak to students who are so enthusiastic and knowledgeable about their research”.

The VC presents the prize for the best poster. Photo: Will Carpenter
The VC presents the prize for the best poster. Photo: Will Carpenter

The Vice-Chancellor, Stephen Marston, joined the guests and spoke to students about their work. Tom Reynolds won the prize for the best poster about his work on designing moth traps for scholls, and said, “I didn’t expect to meet the person who runs the University- he seemed like a really nice guy and was very interested in the research I’d been doing.”

Tom with his prize-winning poster. The use of a bold, clear design and concise writing to convey detailed scientific content were key to its success.
Tom with his prize-winning poster. The use of a bold, clear design and concise writing to convey detailed scientific content were key to its success.

Students gave visitors an insight into an amazing range of projects that covered microbial and molecular biology, to parasitology, population ecology, marine biology, animal behaviour, conservation, environmental biology, citizen science and environmental education.  Research had been conducted in many different areas from the hillsides and gardens of Gloucestershire to other parts of the UK,  Europe,  South Africa, America, the Middle East and Mexico. The event was such a success that a number of other courses are planning to adopt something similar in 2015 – so thanks to everyone who took part, especially Julie Heyden (Faculty Admin), Will Carpenter and Hannah Stubbs (Biosciences techs) for helping with logistics, and Jess Dumoulin and Chloe Dix (Bioscience undergrads) for serving the drinks.

We’d love to hear from students who’d like to write blog posts about their dissertations – just email Matt on mjwood@glos.ac.uk. There’s still time!

The University’s Communications team produced a short video of the event for recruitment of students (featuring one of our final year undergraduate students, Mel Evans).

Matt Wood (Dissertation module tutor, Senior Lecturer in Biosciences) 

Anne Goodenough (Reader in Applied Ecology)

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