Angelica Orsi completed her Nuffield Research Placement in 2009 in the Department of Chemistry at Cardiff University. She is a 2015-2017 SCI Scholar and a PhD student at the University of St. Andrews.
What was your project about?
The 6 week research project was based on asymmetric catalysis using bisimidazoline ligands and was carried out in the catalysis group of Dr Benjamin Ward at Cardiff University.
What was the highlight/best bit of your placement?
The placement presented my 17 year old self with a first encounter of a university research laboratory, which in hindsight solidified my decision to choose Chemistry as my chosen subject for university applications. During my research placement, I enjoyed learning to use the pieces of equipment and characterisation techniques that I had previously only seen in textbooks. Producing a research poster based on the NRP work and explaining it to an audience at the Wales Regional Nuffield Celebration Event 2009 was exciting and achieving a CREST Gold Award was very rewarding.
What path did you take after finishing your NRP and how has that led you to where you are today?
After my NRP, I completed my A-levels (Maths, Chemistry and Physics) and went on to attain a First Class Masters Degree in Chemistry with Industrial Placement from the University of St Andrews. The laboratory experience that I gained during the NRP greatly aided my undergraduate laboratory sessions, especially since I directly went into 2nd year. I had a good foundation in laboratory report writing, poster presentations and communication of scientific knowledge all from the NRP. Additionally, as the NRP is competitive, winning the placement encouraged me to seek and apply for other opportunities and today I am currently a 2015-2017 SCI Scholar (only 3 are chosen each year in the UK).
If you could give one piece of advice to Nuffield students about to start a placement what would it be?
Firstly, congratulations on being given such a prestigious award! Take every opportunity that you are confronted with, even if it is out of your comfort zone, and do not be afraid of failing or making a mistake. This is all part of a learning curve and is a stepping stone to your future career.
Any other comments?
I would like to thank the Nuffield Foundation for sponsoring me to carry out a research placement back in 2009. It formed the basis of where I am now in Chemistry research and I hope that many other students will continue to have this exceptional experience.