Two of Surrey’s chemistry students recently took part in the Roche Continents Programme, after gaining places to attend the prestigious drama and music Salzburg Festival in Austria.
Undergraduates Hannah Whitmore (studying Medicinal Chemistry MChem), and Nnamdi Uche (studying Chemistry with Forensic Investigation MChem), were selected by leading pharmaceutical company Roche to participate in the festival which aims to promote the ‘common grounds of arts and sciences’ creativity and innovation’.
The competition called for 20-30 year-olds with a keen musical interest or ability to play a musical instrument.
“Every year I’m requested by L’Oreal to nominate students from the Department of Chemistry for this wonderful award,” explains Head of Surrey’s Department of Chemistry, Professor Dulcie Mulholland. “We’re been very successful in the past, and students who have attended have labelled it a life-changing experience. The response rate was really high this year and it was hard to choose three to nominate from our talented students! I’m thrilled that Hannah and Nnamdi were able to attend this festival, and I’m keen to continue supporting such cultural activities for our Chemistry students.”
"We participated in wonderful, contemporary and controversial performances at the Salzburg Festival that included lectures, performances and creative group work as well as the chance to explore Salzburg and make new friends"
- Hannah Whitmore
Hannah Whitmore said, “At the Roche Continents Programme, we got to experience a week of new, modern thinking, meeting over 100 students in the arts and sciences fields from all over Europe. We participated in wonderful, contemporary and controversial performances at the Salzburg Festival that included lectures, performances and creative group work as well as the chance to explore Salzburg and make new friends.
“Lectures ranged from an introduction to Roche through Nature vs Nurture, to David Glowacki’s Danceroom Spectroscopy (dS) and all the sessions were informative, interesting and fun. The opportunities offered through Roche Continents to speak with the composers, performers and members of the festival’s board were welcomed by all participants and offered a fascinating insight into the artists’ intentions.”
“Going to Salzburg was an experience of a life time, and it wasn't really about winning but about the exposure, knowledge sharing and the effort of team work and making life-long friendships to make our generation more effective"
- Nnamdi Uche
Nnamdi Uche said, “It was such a great honour to be a representative of the University of Surrey and to have been selected from around 500 applicants. We felt like we were representing the UK and for me, personally, my home country Nigeria. Participants came from everywhere around Europe; from reputable universities in Spain, Estonia, Portugal, Germany, Romania, Denmark, Italy, Poland to mention a few, and also students from Cambridge, Oxford, Leeds, Manchester and St. Andrews.
“We created short movies, motion pictures, plays, music and talks / discussions around topics relating to the future of science and art in our generation, and also had lectures on dance room spectroscopy, the human DNA and the major research Roche was investing in at the moment. Roche also sponsors the Salzburg Festival so we got front row seats to the major shows at the festival, we sat amongst the crème de la crème of Austria and I met so many new people whilst watching these shows. One of the shows was an actual movie, but acted in real time, and being on the front row was a good opportunity to spot the tricks of movie making.
“Going to Salzburg was an experience of a life time, and it wasn't really about winning but about the exposure, knowledge sharing and the effort of team work and making life-long friendships to make our generation more effective. I made many friends with whom I still keep in contact, and have been visited already by one. I hope I can see the others again when I travel to their different countries.”
Past Surrey students who won this award include Jennifer Handsel, Emily James and Laura Sayers.
Graduate employment for Chemistry at the University of Surrey is currently ranked in seventh position against all other UK universities, according to graduate employment analysis for STEM subjects.