Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Science and the Media: Report Published

One of the other Expert Groups have just published their report, which can be found here, along with a summary of the group's actions and recommendations.

Lord Drayson, Minister for Science and Innovation, responded on behalf of BIS, saying:

“I'm very grateful to Fiona and her group for producing this Action Plan. The quality of journalism by the UK's specialist press is excellent, so it's great these actions are targeted at protecting and building on it.

The plan contains a number of initiatives to raise the profile of science journalism and programming and improve their operating environment.

I'm particularly pleased by how many organisations, from the BBC to the Wellcome Trust and RCUK, have committed to actions. Government will now consider the proposed actions and recommendations.”

I'll post more about my group's report after our next meeting (as it's not been published yet, I'm not sure how much I'm meant to share...).

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Where's Holly?

I’ve been getting it in the neck from my family as to why I’ve not been keeping up with this blog and, to be honest, I don’t really know why I never kept up posting after coming back to Scotland. So, lets get back into the swing of things and start writing about what I’ve been getting up to – there’s no time like the present (and I am bored revising for exams…).

Upon returning home from Japan, I had just under two weeks to relax and get over my jet-lag before going back to university for the fourth year of my physics degree. During Freshers’ Week, I popped over to Glasgow one evening for a gathering of all the SaltireFoundation interns. It was really nice to swap stories with everyone.

This year, I signed up for evening classes in Japanese (I’ve just finished the first semester’s worth) as I really hope to go back to Japan one day soon, and having a better grasp of the language would certainly help!

Starting in the final week of September, I have been flying down to London to attend bi-monthly meetings as a member of the Science For Careers Expert Group. We meet to discuss the future of education, careers advice and careers available in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects and then pass our results/findings onto Lord Mandelson for government to act on accordingly. The group (which is chaired by Diana Garnham and funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) wrote a draft report on what we’d been getting up to at the end of December. I’ve got another meeting in a few weeks, so it will be interesting to hear how well it went down…

In November, I almost went to Paris for an Intel ISEF affiliated event but, unfortunately, the week before I was due to go, Intel got fined in excess of £1 billion, which meant they couldn’t afford to send me. Boo hoo. Hopefully I might get to go next year if they aren’t too poor.

I spent most of December filling in ridiculous numbers of application forms and updating my CV to try to bag myself an internship for summer 2010. Currently, I’ve applied for two completely different fields:

1) Particle Physics Research
I thought I’d try my hand at applying to CERN and Fermilab again this year, in the hope that they might say yes if I keep pestering them. On the other hand, if they keep saying no, I’ll take the hint…

2) Finance
I undertook the mammoth task of completing the online application forms for analyst (sales and trading with maybe a bit of structuring thrown in) positions with RBS, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan at their London or New York offices. I’ve got my assessment centre for RBS in London at the end of the month, so wish me luck! After speaking to the careers advisor in St Andrews, I also had my CV passed on to the London office of Promontory Finance, with the aim of working in Risk Management. I heard back from them this morning and, quite amazingly, they have offered me a summer internship! I’ve made plans to go to their office and say ‘hi’ whilst I’m down in London to find out what exactly working with them would entail.

In between all this gallivanting, I have, of course, been studying and trying to end up with a physics degree. I’ve just finished my first semester of fourth year classes (scary stuff, I know…) and am in the middle of revising for my exams that are on Thursday, Saturday and Monday. This semester hasn’t been as enjoyable as previous years’, and I can’t quite put my finger on why… It could be that it was a bit of a come-down getting back to studying after being in Tokyo, or the fact that the labs aren’t as interesting, or that some bits of my modules (non-linear optics & optoelectronics, laser physics, atomic physics) were a bit of a drag, or possibly all of the above. Regardless, I’ll stick it out and see what happens.

And there you have it; a whistle-stop tour of the last 4(ish) months of my life.