Wellcome Trust Biomedical Vacation Scholarship

05 Sep 2017

Heather Eames, a 3rd year Pharmacy student at University College Cork, Ireland was awarded a Wellcome Trust Biomedical Vacation Scholarship to conduct a summer research project with the EHR group at the Department of Non-Communicable Disease Epidemiology, LSHTM under the supervision of Dr Sarah-Jo Sinnott and Associate Professor Ian Douglas. This competitive scholarship is awarded to promising undergraduate students to provide experience of a research environment. Heather’s eight week project was focused on the establishing trends in the utilisation of blood pressure lowering drugs in the UK from 2000-2015. Below is her account of her Scholarship and her time at LSHTM.

Heather’s experience

I found the process of applying for the Wellcome Trust Biomedical Vacation Scholarship tough as I knew how competitive it would be to get selected. Fortunately, after numerous drafts, the hard work paid off and I was chosen for the award.  

I learned so much during my time at LSHTM. Pharmacoepidemiology was a completely new field to me so it was interesting to learn about it and how it contributes to public health. I had previously carried out a literature review as part of my undergrad, however after attending numerous library workshops, I learned masters level techniques which really improved my results. I was also introduced to Stata, a computer package for conducting statistical analyses, which I initially found difficult. As I progressed through my project, I found that my ability to work with Stata improved greatly through both practise and the help of my supervisor Sarah-Jo! Once I had gathered all of my results, I learned how to effectively layout my project in an academic paper format. This is such an important skill that I know will be invaluable to me as I progress with my studies and my career. 

During my time at LSHTM, I made sure to make the most of my free time. I was amazed to see the number of talks and courses available to students at the School. A talk that really stood out to me was when the newly elected director of the World Health Organisation, Tedros Adranom, visited LSHTM. It was wonderful to see such an influential person and listen to all of the work he has done. I also attended a number of PhD upgradings. I found the diversity of PhD projects within one university fantastic and it really opened my eyes to problems I had never heard of before. 

My experience at LSHTM has been invaluable to me. I hope that I will be able to apply all of the skills that I have learned to the rest of my undergraduate degree, especially my final year project. After attending two workshops on managing time effectively and overcoming writers block, I know that I will be able to apply what I’ve learned in my future studies.

Overall, I have found my experience of the Wellcome Trust Biomedical Vacation Scholarship fantastic. After having a glimpse into the world of research, I know now that I am passionate about pursuing a career in research. I hope to one day complete a PhD and to make a contribution to public health.