Senel Hazal is a student from Chadwell Heath Academy in Essex. She spent her summer working with Ali Thomas and Dr Erica McAlister in the Entomology Department of the Natural History Museum.
"I know science is for me now"
What’s it like working with real scientists?
Every Nuffield student has a mentor and mine is a great enthusiast for flies and insects! She’s so passionate about it and working with her is great and she helps us a lot with what we’re doing and what we need to know. She answers all our little questions and is fun and a great mentor.
Did you feel anxious about coming here?
I was very nervous! Chucked in the deep end with all these scientists that have PhDs and all the rest and you’re just an AS student! But they’re really supportive, take you under their wing and don’t expect you to know everything when you start. You ask questions and they help you understand. It’s as simple as that. It’s not like an exam or anything.
The expenses cost a lot every day travelling on the tube, but we do get paid every week which is great as otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to come here.
Has it changed your ideas of what scientists do?
We learn as we go along which is great. 9-5 every day, science is our job. Being there in the laboratory makes you think ‘you know what, I’d love to do that’.
I used to come here as a child, but little did I know there’s this massive department of scientists working through all these things. Scientists work really hard to get everything ready to present to the public. It’s like a once in a lifetime opportunity to come behind the scenes – not many people get the chance to do that.
How is it different to school?
In school you’re limited by time and resources. There's more to science than just a little experiment at school. I had no idea there was so much to learn about flies!