Two Peter Symonds students, Samantha Cooper and Felicity Pelling, were among just 10 students shortlisted for the prestigious Peter Watson International Scholarship (PWIS), a national award open to all students undertaking a science related Extended Project Qualification.
The Peter Watson International Scholarship is a great opportunity for anyone considering science, technology, medicine or engineering as a career to experience the cutting edge of research and technology and gain an international perspective. Students were invited to Queens’ College Cambridge to present their work before a judging panel and attend a dinner.
With only 10 students invited to present their work just to be shortlisted is an incredible achievement.
Samantha’s project investigated whether the use of adrenaline should be continued in cases of cardiac arrest while Felicity’s project focused on research into the controversial drug Avastin, initially quickly approved to treat breast cancer but later found to have possible serious side effects.
Commenting on the experience, Felicity said “It was an incredible experience to present to such an esteemed panel and to have the opportunity for an academic discussion at such a high level. It certainly helped create momentum for my project.” Samantha said “The panel didn’t know that adrenaline was introduced before clinical trials were common so it was great to teach them something new. It was inspiring to see different generations getting together to discuss scientific research.”
Julian Foster, biology tutor at Peter Symonds, said “It is an incredible achievement for both Samantha and Felicity to be shortlisted for the PWIS. Both students worked extremely hard and produced projects of exceptional quality exploring significant issues, reflected by the comments of the judging panel.”
The Extended Project (EPQ) is an additional qualification equivalent to half an A level. It is a flexible award allowing students to work to their strengths, by giving them the opportunity to choose to either produce a dissertation, an investigation report, a performance, an event, a design, or an object.
Undertaking an Extended Project improves students’ skills in time management, academic writing, referencing and critical analysis. In previous years, over 80% of Peter Symonds students have achieved A*, A or B grades in their Extended Project. Students often choose a project topic related to their future studies at university or their career aspirations and the qualification is valued by universities and employers.