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Fernando Conde Nodal Case Study

Fernando Conde Nodal

"My time at Warwick helped me explore who I am, and who I want to be as a researcher"
Chemistry PhD student Fernando Conde Nodal took his first steps into academic research as an undergraduate at Warwick. He shares how this experience inspired him to further study, and how current undergraduates can get involved.

Fernando’s initial steps

Fernando was initially drawn to undergraduate research at Warwick at the end of his second year, aiming to push himself beyond the boundaries of his undergraduate degree’s lab modules.

“I spent six weeks working with Dr Paul Wilson and his group, on the functionalization of arsenic-containing nanoparticles. This was my first proper research experience, and I absolutely loved it! It is a chance to try something new and honestly have some fun whilst doing so,” he explains.

After his first presentation at 2021’s International Conference of Undergraduate Research (ICUR), he returned as Student Director for both 2022’s event and the 2023 WorldCUR-BCUR, a joint venture between World Congress on Undergraduate Research and the British Conference of Undergraduate Research.

“My most enjoyable experience was connecting with people from all over the world and lots of academic backgrounds, who shared the same purpose: to present something they had worked hard for and felt passionate about. Being an early-stage researcher myself, this was inspiring,” he enthuses.

A path to further study

Getting involved in undergraduate research – both in research projects and as Student Director - was pivotal in Fernando’s decision to pursue further study.

“This experience massively influenced my research journey post-graduation, as well as my expectations in pursuing a PhD. My time at Warwick helped me explore and understand who I am, and who I want to be as a researcher. Students can gain so much self-awareness from programmes like these, especially about what they wish to do going forward,” he says.

Since his time at Warwick, Fernando has worked in industry in Portugal and the Netherlands and is now pursuing study at PhD level. Warwick’s undergraduate research support helped inform an interdisciplinary approach to Chemistry, which he is passionate about pursuing.

“It led me to work in very interdisciplinary teams of scientists, and to experience how research communities come together to address the big problems of the world. Today more than ever, interdisciplinarity is at the forefront of innovation - this became both a mindset and a motivation in my endeavours,” he explains.

How can others get involved?

“There is often a tendency to think that presenting and publishing research is exclusively for senior academics, but it's important to deconstruct that misconception” says Fernando. “Undergraduate students deserve the platforms and opportunities to share their work and to feel empowered.

“My best advice for undergraduates wanting to get involved for the first time is - don't overthink it! Don't be scared to try things out, to learn, or even to fail. It is all part of the process – be excited about these opportunities and make the most of them.”