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A photo of Evelyn working in the lab

Evelyn Greeves

A Laidlaw Scholar case study

I’m still fascinated by research, but I’ve realised that I want to help people understand it rather than actually do it.

Evelyn Greeves has always considered herself to be a natural leader. She was a Cub Scout Leader and ran an LGBT society as school. She also enjoys the research side of her Biology degree. So when she saw the Laidlaw Scholarship advertised on Twitter she decided to apply.

“I saw it and thought it was such an amazing programme. You get paid a generous stipend and get to conduct your own research project. I hadn’t seen an opportunity like this for undergraduates anywhere else.”

Evelyn's Laidlaw project was based in a different department to her degree and she found it refreshing to spend the Summer doing something unrelated to her course.

The research project - Biodiversity of the Hidden World – is focused on analysing amoebae present in an 8,000 year-old peat bog. The amoebae shells left in the peat can tell us about changes in climate over this period. Interestingly the research has also discovered the possibility of a new species of amoeba which is still under investigation. Evelyn hopes to spend her second research period in a lab in Switzerland reviewing this further through genetic analysis.

While Evelyn has enjoyed the research side of the project she has realised that the part she enjoys most is talking to people about it. For her placement year she has secured a role in science communications at the Science and Technology Facilities Council in Didcot.

“I am going to be helping staff and the public to better understand the work that is ongoing at the Council. Doing the Scholarship has taught me that I love talking about science so this feels like the perfect fit.”

While Evelyn felt that she had some leadership skills in place before becoming a scholar, she learned during the Leadership part of the programme that she sometimes feels lost if she isn’t ‘the leader’ in a task. Rather than just accepting this is something she struggles with, Evelyn has used the coaching element of the programme to unpick this further.

“Instead of just saying ‘I’m not good at that’ the Scholarship gives you the opportunity to work on areas where you are less strong and that’s been brilliant as you don’t get chance to do that very often. All of the strength-based work we’ve done through the Leadership sessions and as part of the CMI qualification has also prepared me so well for job interviews. I feel that this was a large factor as to why I was so confident at my placement interview and how I managed to successfully secure the role and I can’t wait to get started with it.”