An interview with James Mullins, a recent recipient of a Student Development Scholarship and Undergraduate Research Experience Bursary, who describes his experience of the Student Development Scholarship scheme and the travel project it will help to fund.
What award did you receive?
"I received the Student Development Scholarship and the Undergraduate Research Experience Bursary."
Where did you hear about the Student Development Scholarships and how they can help you?
"It was more on the University website and also on Web CT, there was quite a lot of information about it and it was very easily accessible if you were to find it."
How did you find the application process?
"It's two 500 word essay-style questions and then the list of academic personal references that you need to supply. It was made very very easy, there was lots of people that could help you if you wanted to be helped and there was lots of, it was very easy to contact people if you had any problem with the application processes and there was infrastructure in place just in case anything went wrong - you could send your application form via email if you had any problem uploading it for the deadline so it was very very very very easy really."
What project will you be doing this summer?
"I will be spending 11 weeks in the Karoo basin in South Africa studying sill emplacement. I'll be working alongside a well known researcher in this field and I will then undertake subsequent lab analysis at NMMU in Port Elizabeth and the University of Birmingham where I have instigated a collaboration between the two universities which hopefully can continue for a few years to come."
How will the scholarship make a difference?
"It will make a very big difference in terms of some of the running costs - obviously as I'm going to South Africa the costs to get there are quite expensive so flights, petrol, obviously I need to air-freight loads of my samples back which all adds up so basically I'm very very grateful that I've been awarded this scholarship and it will greatly help me to achieve what I want to achieve when I'm there."
How will the project contribute to your personal or academic development?
"Well personally I'm going to be spending a lot of time in South Africa - almost the entire summer in South Africa - and I'll just be immersed in their culture and their way of life. I'll be working alongside a South African in the field so obviously I hope he can give me insight into, you know, the way of the country really, just how everything's done and obviously it will be an amazing experience for myself, something I've never done before, and hopefully it'll help me stand out from the rest of the crowd. In terms of academia, I'll be working alongside a world renowned researcher so obviously there's lots of kudos involved with that and also I'll be in South Africa which is quite a very large market for the skill sector that I'm in, and obviously it would just help me to decide whether I can actually live there and deal with South African people and, you know, potentially go back there and get a job when I graduate."