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Celebrating Exam Success: Women in Science

15th August 2017

Over the next few weeks we will be bringing you stories from Pembroke students who performed particularly well in this year’s exams. Each feature celebrates a particular aspect of life at Pembroke. This week we caught up with scientists Florence Young (Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, 2013) and Cecily Price (Biological Sciences, 2016)…

Florence Young has just completed her Undergraduate Masters course in Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry. She is particularly interested in the function and development of the nervous system and explained, ‘my Part II research project focused on investigating the molecular mechanisms underlying memory formation and learning, using the fruit fly as a model organism.’

Florence decided to apply for biochemistry at Oxford because of ‘the fantastic training and research opportunities provided here…’ she continued, ‘I specifically chose to apply to Pembroke to receive the guidance and tutorship of Professor Andre Furger, whose research in mRNA processing I find fascinating and inspiring!’

‘I consider one of the most important factors in my academic success to be the help and support I received throughout my degree from both my tutor, Andre Furger, and my fellow biochemists at Pembroke College. The fact that I could rely on my friends to help clarify concepts or topics I struggled with, and in turn help them in other areas, has been invaluable and allowed me to further my knowledge and interest in a wide range of topics. Nothing ensures you fully understand a concept like having to explain it to somebody else!’

And what would she say to a prospective Oxford Biochemist? ‘Go for it! I’ve had a fantastic four years studying biochemistry. The course gives you the chance to develop your interest in a range of topics before undertaking a research project in a specific field of your choosing. Studying at Oxford can be challenging at times… don’t afraid to seek support from your peers, your tutor and your college when the going gets tough.’

Florence received the prize for most meritorious project in FHS Part II exam, as well as Book Prize for performance in FHS Part I and FHS Part II exams, in Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry. Congratulations, Florence!

Cecily Price has just completed her first year of Biological Science, and she told us, ‘two aspects of the course which I particularly enjoy are Genetics and Evolution… I chose to do Biology as its relevance and logic has always fascinated me, and in my eyes Oxford provides the best course and teaching for studying Biology.’

She attributes her success in exams to ‘an obsession with wanting to fully understand everything, and always needing to find a full explanation. In terms of teaching, a series of interesting teachers/lecturers throughout school and University has helped to fuel this!’

Cecily’s tip for those considering applying to Oxford for Biological Sciences is ‘to read as much as possible, both course specific but also any wider, vaguely Biological material of interest. Themes and ideas constantly reoccur so the more you know, the more you then understand as things fall into place. Also in terms of the interview, as you read more, links appear between things which at first seem unrelated, which helps with conversation.’

Cecily gained a distinction in her First Public Exams in Trinity Term - many congratulations!

Find out more about Science courses on offer at Pembroke by visiting our subject pages and browsing our Choose Pembroke for Science booklet

Florence Young
Cecily Price