We find out from the recipients of the IMSE Masters Scholarship how these scholarships have supported their postgraduate studies.
In 2021 IMSE launched two scholarships: the Dr Theo George Wilson Scholarship and the Institute for Molecular Science and Engineering Masters Scholarship. These were designed to reduce barriers to studying on the Molecular Engineering Masters in Research (MRes) programme, and to support equality, diversity, and inclusion. The recipients of the 2021 scholarships were Allison Arber and Dominic Crestani. The students told us about how the scholarship has moulded their studies at Imperial and their futures beyond the MRes programme.
"What really excited me about this Institute was the fact that is interdisciplinary" Allison Arber MRes Student
Before joining Imperial, Allison completed a masters in theoretical chemistry. Her biggest concern about coming to study at Imperial was the move to London and the significance difference between a big city and where she grew up in North Carolina. Alternatively, Dominic, originally form Bath, was concerned about the fees associated with a master’s course. Dominic had previously completely a bachelor’s in applied physics in the Netherlands, where had worked for a year beforehand.
When asked why he choose to study at Imperial, Dominic said that he was drawn to Imperial as a research institute. The world-leading opportunities and facilities centred around STEM solidified his decision to apply to study at Imperial. Similarly, Allison said that she chose to study at Imperial, and
specifically choose the Molecular Engineering MRes course, because “what really excited me about this Institute was the fact that is interdisciplinary and I felt like it was a good opportunity for me to expand my horizon and gain insight into different types of backgrounds, skills and gain exposure to fields that otherwise I wouldn't have any contact with.”
The taught modules are followed by a 6-month long research project in collaboration with industry, including an industrial research placement.
The Molecular Engineering MRes programme is intrinsically cross-disciplinary, providing students with the skills to work in research across the science/engineering boundary, in academia or industry. The taught component starts with an introduction to molecular science and engineering (designing at the molecular level to create better materials, systems and processes). Students then learn about the design, modelling, synthesis, characterisation and manufacturing of molecules and materials, including aspects of machine learning, process modelling, and business. The taught modules are followed by a 6-month long research project in collaboration with industry, including an industrial research placement. Students on the course come from a wide range of backgrounds: chemists and chemical engineers, materials scientists, physicists, bioengineers – even some with first degrees in mechanical or electrical engineering.
"It's not just learning from the academics it's also learning from other students as well." Dominic Crestani MRes Student
Both Allison and Dominic commented that the multidisciplinary nature of the IMSE course was a highlight. They also both spoke on the diversity of the cohort. Dominic mentioned “Everyone can learn from each other and one of the good things about the IMSE course is that it's not just learning from the academics it's also learning from other students as well.” Allison also spoke on how the course is so varied that she now has a more holistic approach to science and engineering.
Allison and Dominic are both working on projects as part of the course, but in very different fields. Allison is currently working with BASF studying the crystallization of paracetamol. In her project she is in the lab growing crystals, and also uses computational models. Dominic’s project is focuses on bio-3D-printing for cancer organoids.
Looking to the future, both students expressed interest in completing PhDs. Allison is interested in materials or process design, where she can combine some theory with some experiments. Dominic talked about how he would want to continue his career in research, either in industry or through a PhD.
“I would not have been able to join this course if there was no financial aid” Dominic Crestani MRes Student
Both students were asked “How has the IMSE scholarship helped you with your studies?” Dominic commented that he would not have been able to join this course if there was no financial aid. The scholarship has helped him continue his research career. Before choosing the course, Allison was debating between the IMSE MRes and a PhD that she wasn’t very confident about taking. She said that “The scholarship gave me more freedom to choose what I thought was right for me.”
“The scholarship gave me more freedom to choose what I thought was right for me.” Allison Arber MRes Student
The IMSE scholarships have given Allison and Dominic the chance to continue their studies and broaden their academic horizons with a diverse cohort of classmates and a multi-disciplinary course. Applications for scholarships are still open for the academic year to help academically excellent students like Dominic and Allison to further their studies.
Find out more about the IMSE MRes Scholarships and how to apply. The closing date for applications is 31st March. The Master’s in Research (MRes) in Molecular Engineering is delivered by the Institute for Molecular Science and Engineering (one of Imperial’s Global Challenge Institutes), and hosted by the Department of Chemical Engineering. Apply now for October 2022 entry.
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