A student whose studies have inspired her to teach others about science has praised Wrexham Glyndwr University’s Open Days for giving her a foothold in academia.
Sandra Monica Ferreira Neves, from Penycae, decided to return to university after being passed over for a job in industry one time too many.
After being turned down for a full-time job as a laboratory technician, she decided to build up her skills to boost her chances in her chosen career – and came to Glyndwr to find out more about its science-based courses at an Open Day.
She enjoyed the experience so much she not only signed up for a degree – but also became a Student Ambassador, inspiring other potential students at Open Days when they visit.
Sandra said: “I was working in a laboratory for a short period a few years back, having got the job with an agency. They had promised me a full time job, but it never seemed to happen – and that is when I started thinking about making a change.
“From that starting point, I wanted come to university to develop my qualifications and improve myself – I decided I had to do it. I went to college and got some GCSEs there – and then came to Glyndwr’s next Open Day to look into coming to university.”
Despite being initially nervous before the day, when she arrived Sandra was made to feel welcome – with her concerns set at ease by friendly staff.
She said: “When I came to the Open Day, because of what I’m interested in, I started off in a room listening to a lecture on chemistry. Then, I remember lots of the other staff on the course came in to talk to us, and it was great to meet them and see they weren’t scary – just a lot of nice people!
“I’m from Portugal, and as someone who isn’t originally from Britain, before the day started, I had a bit of insecurity – I was wondering if people would accept me and if I’d find things difficult. However, everyone at the university was so welcoming and made things really easy – the academics were really helpful.”
Having signed up for a BSc in Chemistry with Green Nanotechnology after her Open Day visit, Sandra is now in her second year. She has credited the university with building both her confidence – and her networks.
She added: “It’s very easy to get involved in things here because the university is so friendly – and all the staff and lecturers know who you are as well. You feel part of a community here – you are not just a number.
“The support you receive is really good right across the university – for instance, as a mature student, I sometimes need some help with new technology – but there are workshops on IT support, so in a short time you can learn what you need to.”
Sandra has now been inspired to consider a new career as a result of her studies – working in science education.
She added: “At the beginning, I wanted to do a lab job once I graduated – like the one I had been after. However, recently I have realised one of my skills is that I like dealing with people and that I’d maybe like to do something like that – using my degree to teach or to work in science education. I want to inspire the next generation!”
As a Student Ambassador, she is also now responsible for greeting potential students at Open Days – and is urging anyone thinking about university to come along and find out for themselves.
She added: “After all, I think Glyndwr has a lot of good selling points – so I want to tell people all about them!”
Sandra will be among the student ambassadors helping prospective students discover the wide range of subject-specific activities, talks and more which are on offer at Wrexham Glyndwr University’s forthcoming March Open Day.
The day – which takes place from 10am on Saturday March 2 across the university’s Wrexham and Flintshire campuses – offers prospective students the chance to find out more about studying at Glyndwr and get a taste of student life.
There are a range of interactive sessions, hands-on experiences, tours and presentations on offer throughout the day covering a wide array of topics, the chance to try out some fascinating technology – and much more.
Lecturers and staff from departments across the University will also be on hand to help provide answers to questions – whether these are about courses, funding, inclusion services or anything else.
To find out more, or to book your place, visit: www.wgu.ac.uk/open.