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Following your dreams

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Postgraduate scholarships are providing the opportunity for students to continue their education and follow their dreams. These are the students who are going to help us solve the world's problems of tomorrow.

Warwick's unique supervisory offer as well as the vision of the Wolfson Foundation in encouraging autonomy, independence and ground-breaking thinking in their PhD scholars, meant that I chose Warwick and the Wolfson Foundation.

In 2012, the Wolfson Foundation, one of the UK’s most generous philanthropic charitable trusts, pledged to support three postgraduate scholars in humanities at Warwick. Ours was one of only nine institutions to be offered such a prestigious award programme, the aim of which is to strengthen the UK’s academic research in humanities in light of major cuts to research in this area.

A further two cohorts have since been offered support from the Wolfson Foundation at Warwick. Here Lara Choksey, one of the 2013 intake of Wolfson Scholars, talks about her research and what it means to be selected to join this prestigious programme.

My PhD thesis examines the significance of epigenetics in Doris Lessing’s Canopus in Argos: Archives series. Epigenetic research looks at how environmental stimuli can affect gene expression during the lifespan of an organism, as well as how these changes might be passed on to subsequent generations. Reading Doris Lessing’s Canopus novels, in which the words ‘genetics’ and ‘evolution’ make frequent appearances, I was struck by how Lessing’s version of genetic alteration and inheritance is both faster and more dependent on interactions between organism and environment than the model of a ‘blueprint’ DNA code, fixed at the point of fertilization, might allow.

After working as a news reporter in Kolkata, India, I chose to return to academic research to look more closely at social and biological understandings of ‘development’ within and across different disciplines. I was offered places by each of the four Russell Group universities I applied to as well as Arts and Humanities Research Council funding.

Warwick’s unique supervisory offer, embedded in both the Departments of English and Comparative Literary Studies and Life Sciences, as well as the vision of the Wolfson Foundation in encouraging autonomy, independence and groundbreaking thinking in their PhD scholars, meant that I chose Warwick and the Wolfson Foundation.

In this, my first term of study, I have commenced a structured programme of research on Lessing’s texts and various models of epigenetic thinking under Dr Francis’s supervision, and am being guided by Dr Barker through research in Life Sciences relevant to my project. I am taking a module on ‘Proteins, Genes and Genetics’, and Warwick has also made provision for me to perfect my French, which is necessary for my work with some of my key theoretical sources.

I hope that this project can develop into postdoctoral work and eventually a career in academia – along with many others in Warwick’s talented postgraduate cohort.

Thanks to our supporters even more scholarships have been awarded this year for the Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme and the Transatlantic Fellowship Programme which enables doctoral students to visit the US to undertake research.

The University has also created a fourth postgraduate scholarship in humanities to supplement the three prestigious scholarships generously funded by the Wolfson Foundation. Further details on the Wolfson programme can be found here. For more information on how you can make a difference, visit warwick.ac.uk/giving

 

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