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5 questions with... a student researcher

Fernando is a student researcher. He tells us about facing fears, presenting at international conferences and how you can get into research too!

How did you find out about student research at Warwick?

Student researcher FernandoI was first introduced to research as part of the practical component of my Chemistry course. Additionally, reading about research opportunities in the student newsletters promoted both by my department and the University in general got me really excited about exploring my possibilities as a beginner in the world of research.

What are you researching currently?

My most recent research experience was a six-week research project completed earlier this summer in the Chemistry department, as part of the Undergraduate Research Support Scheme (URSS). I worked in Paul Wilson's research group, in the stabilisation and functionalisation of polymeric arsenic nanoparticles - a contemporary research topic in the field of chemotherapeutics and biomedicine in general. This project is still under development and I hope to remain involved with the team.

What piece of advice would you give to anyone starting out in research?

My best piece of advice is to not fear the challenges you will inevitably face, nor the mistakes you will inevitably make - it is all part of the process! Also, make sure you are having fun and learning as much as you can.

What’s your favourite thing about research?

One of the coolest things I have experienced as an undergraduate researcher was the International Conference of Undergraduate Research (ICUR). I presented at this conference last month, and I have worked as session chair of ICUR for the past two years. This allowed me to witness and interact with state-of-the-art research from undergraduate students worldwide, which was extremely rewarding!

How has research benefited your studies/learning?

As a student aiming to follow a career in research, I have learned so much from my URSS and ICUR projects. Research experience has allowed me to explore my interests from a practical perspective, and to gain a deeper understanding of how high-end scientific investigation is developed, well beyond the scope of undergraduate laboratories. It has made me a more proactive learner and motivated me to keep working hard on my studies.

Five cheeky bonus questions

What would you take to a desert island?

Although there are definitely wiser options, I would just take my saxophone. Music is always great company - it would definitely help me feel less lonely.

What’s your current favourite piece of music?

As the current conductor of the University of Warwick Wind Orchestra, I was asked to choose pieces for the orchestra to play. One of the many pieces I researched was the love theme of the film Cinema Paradiso, an Italian drama written and directed by Giuseppe Tornatore. I found an orchestral arrangement of this beautiful masterpiece, originally composed by the great Ennio Morricone, and have been obsessed since.

What’s your most-used app? 

Probably Instagram - it's the app I use the most to talk to friends, post content and procrastinate when I am not in the mood for studying!

House plants or pets?

As much as I like both, I have to go with pets. I love animals and I really miss my cat who is back in Portugal. His name is Rocko and he is the biggest fluff ball!

Where is your favourite place to study on and off campus?

On campus, I like to rotate between the learning grids and the study desks in the Chemistry/Physics building (I get too lazy if I continuously go to the same space). I really enjoy going to University to study, as I am much more productive than at home. That said, I don't do much studying off campus, but local coffee shops are a great place to meet a friend for a drink and get some work done!

The Undergraduate Research Support Scheme enables undergraduate students to carry out an interdisciplinary summer research/public engagement project.
Fancy trying your hand at research? Find more inspiration at the Student Research Hub, or ask your department for ideas and opportunities.