Aisha Jamil

Aisha Jamil

Why did you decide to study at the University of Leeds?

I was intrigued by the University of Leeds for a variety of reasons- the research led teaching and laboratory facilities, for example. The paramount factor for me was the high level of flexibility within the Natural Sciences course.

What has been the best aspect of studying on your course and at the University and why?

The best part of the course is the lack of restrictive scientific learning. Studying Natural Sciences has allowed me to explore a variety of scientific concepts in chemistry, biochemistry and environmental science- many of which are intertwined.

Tell us about some of the exciting projects you have completed so far?

I am eager to begin my research project titled, ‘Exploring the Health Effects of Beetroot’ this summer, as part of my Laidlaw Scholarship. The project focuses on betalains, a group of pigments, which have been associated with the health benefits of beetroot. Currently, there is a lack of evidence to support these claims and the project aims to address this. I am excited to apply and enhance my practical skills in this project, as well as gain a deeper insight in scientific research and food science.

What does Leeds as a city have to offer students?

It’s a large city, with a lot to offer. The city centre itself is full of shopping centres, entertainment and activities so you don’t have to travel very far to find something fun to do.

What are your ambitions for the future?

I am currently in my first year of university so I am keeping my options open, in terms of career choices. My main goal for the near future is to go in to postgraduate research, after completing my Master’s degree. There are a number of different fields I’m considering, such as drug synthesis and atmospheric pollution.

What experiences at Leeds do you think will help you in your future career?

The Natural Sciences course has equipped me with organisational skills, due to the busy nature of the course. I have also improved my interpersonal and communication skills through general university experiences, such as working as a student ambassador and undergraduate representative for the School of Chemistry Athena Swan committee. Athena Swan is a charter committed to promoting gender equality in the STEM sector. I am very passionate about implementing equal opportunities by addressing institutional discrimination and intersectionality.

What would you say to students coming to do the same course?

It is a challenging and rewarding course. I had initially enrolled on to the MChem programme but quickly realised that I wanted to study biochemistry too, which encouraged me to transfer to Natural Sciences.  I was also excited to study a new science, which I hadn’t studied before - environmental science.

Natural Sciences is therefore a great choice for those wanting to explore science on an interdisciplinary level.  The course equips you with a broad range of skills and, thus, there are numerous career opportunities, scientific and non- scientific, associated with Natural Sciences.  Switching to Natural Sciences was definitely the right decision for me!