Why did you choose UCLan as a place to undertake your internship?
I got the opportunity to choose a University where I wanted to do my internship and I chose UCLan because of the forensic project that was offered here. In Belgium we do normal biotechnology and coming to UCLan gave me a chance to see another side of that, particularly the forensic side because we don’t have that in Belgium.
How did you find out about UCLan?
I was literally googling for Forensic DNA Investigation courses and UCLan came up as an option. I looked further into what the University offered and I was very happy with what I saw, that’s why I’m here.
I did my internship here in Forensic Genetics.
What is it about that subject that interests you?
In Belgium, I was very interested in Biotechnology including topics such as how you investigate DNA down to the molecule and the techniques that are used to do so. The forensic side was an entirely different take on that - normally we would just analyse the DNA and see what it is but here there is a purpose in doing it, I really like that.
Have you always been interested?
I have to be honest. I began being more interested throughout education, I studied Forensics in Belgium for three years and I’ve seen a little bit of everything in our lab work. Working with DNA was always what interested me the most.
For any international students potentially looking at coming to UCLan, how would you describe it?
It’s a very welcoming atmosphere, I actually had to write for my school in Belgium about whether I would recommend UCLan to others. If students like a nice small city with a calm and easy atmosphere then Preston is perfect. Ultimately, it depends on what you want but UCLan is an amazing option.
What was the subject of your internship?
The subject of my internship was Y-STRs. Throughout my internship I helped someone whose PhD was based on this topic. The aim was to develop something to analyse casework and they needed to sequence the pieces on the Y chromosome of the male, I helped create a method to sequence the Y-STRs. It’s quite novel to be honest. It is new research and the significant thing is that the sequencing is actually the most important part of it, that’s a big thing that I like to do and help with.
What was the main purpose of your internship?
Obviously, I had to help someone with their PhD but other than that, I have had to complete a dissertation for my school back in Belgium in order to graduate. When I go home, I have to defend the things that I have written as well as the research that I have participated in at UCLan. If that all goes well, I will graduate in Belgium.
How much do you believe that being at UCLan has improved your career prospects in the future?
I have been given a lot of chances at UCLan; I was able to go into the lab alone whenever I wanted, I would get given a scenario and was asked how I would plan it so when I wanted to do things alone, my lecturers and tutors would give me all the opportunities to think and learn by myself. Whenever I needed help, however, they were there to help me. I feel that studying at UCLan will really help me in my career as a scientist, and I really appreciate the independence and freedom that you are given. In Belgium, we’ve been trained on planning work and things we would do in the labs, I have had friends from elsewhere telling me about their lecturer or their tutor always being next to them in the lab. Here that was not the case and I really enjoyed that and the freedom of planning your own work. When I needed it, they gave me all the help I needed, but I didn’t always need help and I was able to figure out a lot of things by myself. The immediate contact with lecturers was also really enjoyable because when you’re stuck and you can’t work, it is quite frustrating just sitting there doing nothing. When you send them an email and get an immediate response, it’s great to be able to keep moving. The quality of the support is really high here.
13 June 2018