Posted on October 8th 2019
High Attainers Trips
ST13 Program offered through the Harris Experience. Participants: Taam, Amelia, Oliver and Mali
The ST13 program is a specialized course aimed at year 10 high attaining students as they move into year 11, helping them to expand their knowledge on subjects they have had a previous interest in, to develop their understanding of topics both for their personal interest and to strengthen their A-level applications. So far, we have had two days at King’s College in London Bridge, focusing on three different subjects which we were able to choose. I chose Science, Philosophy and Art History, though other subjects included Mathematics and Humanities. In Science we learnt about the function of the heart, disorders of the heart and treatments of heart disorders, which was deeply fascinating. Philosophy was all about discussing certain questions in a group, such as “Do people only do things for pleasure?” This allowed us to conclude that yes, they do (though this is obviously debatable). Art History was also fascinating; not only did we see the evolution of style in art, but we discussed ethics and morals, especially concerning the narrow diversity of artists before 1900. I most enjoyed the Science lessons, because my favorite subject is Biology. It was an A-level style lesson and I feel very prepared for the idea of sixth form, because I now have an idea of the difficulty of the lessons and how they are structured. This course has made me increasingly determined in my resolve to do well in my GCSE’s, and as a result I’m very much looking forward to my A-level experience.
In the ST13 Program, I found the Philosophy sessions the most inspiring as they showed me how interesting Philosophy can be. This program will assist me by giving me readings on Philosophy, so that I may prepare myself for A-Level and deepen my knowledge of the subject. This has not made me consider my further academic goals, but rather reinforced them, and inspired me to continue to study hard.
The Sutton Trust Programme is designed to challenge us to do independent learning, to give us an edge for when we start applying for top universities in year 13. It began with a summer school on the 24th and the 25th of June at King’s College London (Guy’s Campus). We chose a core subject that our course would be based upon. Over the 2-day trip we took classes linked to the subject we chose and attended seminars. I had a course on Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PETs), which consisted of end-to-end encryption, mix networks, encryption storage, and cryptocurrencies. As interesting as the classes were, I found the seminar on Philosophy very though-provoking. Discussing questions, trying to look at them from different perspectives, and debating about responses to those questions was very enjoyable and fascinating. The classes made me evaluate both efficiency and the ethics of using privacy enhancing technologies, and debate between privacy and security, as well as understanding how they are relevant to our lives. Coding is something that I would more associate with computing, which is not one of my strong suits. However, STEM subjects are an option for me that have always been on the table.
I was a part of the ST13 program, as a part of the Harris Experience. The program consisted of two days at King’s College London, taking part in several advanced master classes focussing on subjects that wouldn’t necessarily be covered in my normal education. One of these was an advanced mathematics course, in which we saw its application in PET’s (Privacy Enhancing Technologies) and in modern E-Currencies, such as Bitcoin. It was interesting to see such advanced mathematics (a subject I am quite passionate about and enjoy) in everyday life, especially due to its surprising appearances in quite mundane parts of our lives like text messaging. The program also consists of a year-long reading list in subjects of my choosing which will look to benefit me greatly during not only my GCSE’s, but also through my A-Levels and university courses. The whole program was quite influential to my thought processes regarding my A-Level options, which have changed since I began the program. I also got to see a variety of the facilities at King’s College, which has caused me to consider it for one of the universities I’d be interested in going to after I've finished my A-Levels. I think the program is great for anyone who wants to expand their knowledge within a considerably niche field of learning.
UNIVERSIFY SUMMER RESIDENTIAL attended by Stephen, Mali and Taam
Universify is a multi-year course which includes two residentials at Oxford University, monthly coaching sessions and lots of support. So far, I have been on the first residential at Jesus College, Oxford, which took place during the summer holidays. We had daily lessons, coaching sessions, evening activities and lectures. These were all entirely captivating, including a neuroscience lesson, robotics lesson and a film history lecture. In the evenings, the activities we participated in were varied, including a cinema trip, punting and a ghost tour. The experience was like nothing else I had done before, and was extremely useful, since I gained lots of key knowledge concerning the requirements of Oxbridge, which I believe will help me in choosing my A-levels and consequently my future university. The most inspiring thing about the course was that it was aimed towards teens of less privileged backgrounds, showing that you don’t need to have had the most expensive education to obtain a place at Oxbridge or Russell Group universities. I believe that this course has helped me greatly in both encouraging me in my academic work and inspiring me to apply for the best universities, because it’s not unachievable. Universify has also helped me to widen my aspirations concerning A-level and university courses; I had previously had my mind set on medicine, though now I’m less fearful of thinking of less vocational courses. This course has undoubtedly been very valuable, and I very much recommend it to anyone who would like to apply.
In Oxford the most inspiring thing for me was talking to all the different volunteers about their university experiences, and the amazing stories that they shared further solidified my aspiration to attend university. This program will assist me as I was assigned a personal Universify coach to mentor me through my GCSEs.
The Universify program is a program that shows students the day to day lifestyle of a college/university student. The summer residential was held at Jesus College, Oxford, where we essentially lived for a week which meant we had to be independent as there was no one pushing you to be where you needed to be on time. We were exposed to several courses such as Politics, Game Theory, Film History, History, Mathematics, Business & Entrepreneurship, Philosophy, Biology, Robotics & A.I. and group work. We also participated in sports and activities such as rugby, punting, cinema, eating lots of ice cream, a ghost tour and visiting Blackwells Bookstore to name a few.
We ate three times a day in the hall/diner and were expected to be punctual and responsible if we wanted to keep our privileges. I found the volunteers the most inspiring as they were only a few years older than us and easy to talk/relate to. They all studied different things and shared different past experiences that were just inspiring to listen to. Before going on this trip, I was very unsure of what path I wanted to take but it has really helped in just getting an idea of what is out there. I definitely think that I am going to university, but this has given me an opportunity to focus more on what I would like to do and the path I need to take to reach my goal.
PARTICLE PHYSICS RESIDENTIAL COURSE – ST. PAUL’S SCHOOL attended by Shah, Taam and Mali
This course took place at St Paul's School in Hammersmith and was structured with lectures and workshops about Particle Physics. We focused on the development of human knowledge regarding Particle Physics and its uses. We analysed real data collected at CERN, before we had a Skype convocation with the control room at the Large Hadron Collider, Geneva. We met other likeminded future scientists among the teens and made friends who we will me meeting up with later this month. The sheer amount of knowledge that was made accessible to us during these lectures and workshops was amazing. Every single lesson, we were given new knowledge which allowed us to make connections to other aspects of science, which was wonderful. The most inspiring aspect of this course for me was probably the professors, and their incredible intellectual abilities. I am now able to put this on my CV, which will help my applications to Sixth Form Colleges and university. It has also helped me in my GCSE’s, because I now have a more detailed understanding of the topics we are learning, meaning that I will be able to apply my knowledge and understand the content, instead of simply memorising content to score marks. I recommend this course to anyone who wants to apply to it, because it is very useful and enjoyable.
In St Paul’s I found that the most inspiring thing was the interview with CERN, as I got an insight into what Particle Physicists really do. This program has assisted me by giving me more knowledge in a field that I am very interested in, and also introducing me to new peers of my own ability and age that I can confer with about my studies.
I attended the Particle Physics Summer School and enjoyed the experience there as I found the lectures fascinating as well as the tasks we were set. What inspired me the most about the Particle Physics Summer School was the masterclasses where we were able to analyse real data from particle accelerators to identify which particles we could see. I have learnt a lot of information about Particle Physics such as particle accelerators and their functions, the Higgs Boson and neutrinos. I believe that the knowledge I have gained will be useful as I want to study A-level Physics and hopefully when I come back to this area of study it will all be familiar. Dr Ben Still was a very interesting person to be tutored by because one of the things he lectured us about was the theory of the ‘big bang’ and he used a creative analogy in lego to give us a better understanding.
MAGIC OF MATERIALS RESIDENTIAL COURSE – ST. PAUL’S SCHOOL attended by Amelia and Yunus
The Magic of Materials Summer School was a free 3 day residential from the 8th to the 10th of July that was run in partnership with St Paul’s School and the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3). The course focussed on Materials Science, a subject spanning Physics, Chemistry and Engineering. We stayed at the school’s on-site boarding houses and over the course of the day we attended talks, lectures, question and answer sessions, and hands on experiments. Some of the practicals that I enjoyed the most were scanning electron microscopy, metals-annealing and hardening, ceramics and glasses practical, and polymers practical, all of which I have never done and may probably never do in school. The evenings were more informal, where we all participated in fun challenges which explored the use of materials and the application of different designs of structures. Not only were the activities incredibly fun, incorporating things that I have never done before, but the residential also provided me with new friendships. For someone who is initially quite shy, that was something special. The entire experience was fantastic, and I think it all comes down to the people that made up the experience: the other students and the course organisers like Dr Ben Still and Dr Diane Aston. I sincerely feel that it was the best trip I have been on in years. The practicals have given me an insight into the nature of some materials and technologies that I wouldn’t really have known about otherwise from a hands-on experience. This residential gave me that opportunity because St Paul’s has more advanced equipment. I was already quite invested in subjects like Physics and Engineering but attending this summer school has given me a new and interesting outlook on Materials Science and Physics, and it has made me more excited to learn more about it in the future. Furthermore, I think I have learnt a lot about materials and how they are used in our day to day life, and I hope to carry on with this as an option for my A Levels. I am still not one hundred percent sure about what exactly I am going to do but I think it is also important that I got a taste of what it is like to live with other people, away from home and in a school environment, which I think will better prepare me for later life.