Published: 17 October 2017

Chemistry undergraduate joins elite group at Roche Continents

Winnie Mac, who is studying for a BSc in Chemistry at Surrey, was one of Europe’s only science undergraduates selected to attend Roche Continents, the annual celebration of science and the arts held in Salzburg.

Winnie is the seventh Surrey student to have attended the prestigious week-long event, which is attended by a hundred carefully selected students – mainly at postgraduate level – from institutions around Europe. The 2017 event took place from 15 to 21 August during the world-renowned Salzburg Festival.

Sponsored by global pharmaceutical company Roche, Roche Continents aims to bring together talented science and arts students to enable them to discover common areas of creativity through talks, concerts and interactive workshops. Attendees get the opportunity to engage with leading scientists, artists and musicians.

Winnie says: “It was a really incredible, jam-packed and intense week during which I met people from all over the world studying all kinds of subjects, from opera singing to neurobiology. It was great to experience a range of talks in both the sciences and arts – something I’m not used to.”

During the event Winnie took part in workshops in subjects such as percussion and photography. Rising to a number of challenges, she worked on a group project with a group of students she had never met before, made a presentation, and even got to perform a percussion piece to Roche’s senior staff including the company’s chairman.

“The experience has definitely made me want to learn more – be it starting to play the violin again (having given it up years ago), brushing up on a language I’ve let slip, or learning some photography skills,” says Winnie.

“As one of only a couple of BSc science students at Roche Continents, I also found it inspiring to meet people studying for their Masters or PhD. They showed so much passion for their research that I am now thinking about continuing in education after my degree.

Having just returned to the University after spending her Professional Training year at advanced materials company FormFormForm Ltd in London, Winnie is now considering applying for a Masters course at the end of her degree programme.

Professor Dulcie Mulholland, Head of the Department of Chemistry, who nominated Winnie for Roche Continents, comments: “We have been very successful in the last few years having our nominees accepted for this highly competitive opportunity, with seven students having attended in recent years. Everyone who goes to Salzburg for the event says it’s a life changing experience. We have a wealth of musical and artistic talent amongst our Chemistry students.”

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