Student praises Open Day experience for giving her a foothold in academia


A student whose studies have inspired her to teach others about science has praised Wrexham Glyndwr University’s Open Days for giving her a foothold in academia.

Sandra Monica Ferreira Neves, from Penycae, decided to return to university after being passed over for a job in industry one time too many.

After being turned down for a full-time job as a laboratory technician, she decided to build up her skills to boost her chances in her chosen career – and came to Glyndwr to find out more about its science-based courses at an Open Day.

She enjoyed the experience so much she not only signed up for a degree – but also became a Student Ambassador, inspiring other potential students at Open Days when they visit.

Sandra said: “I was working in a laboratory for a short period a few years back, having got the job with an agency. They had promised me a full-time job, but it never seemed to happen – and that is when I started thinking about making a change.

“From that starting point, I wanted to come to university to develop my qualifications and improve myself – I decided I had to do it. I went to college and got some GCSEs there – and then came to Glyndwr’s next Open Day to look into coming to university.”

Despite being initially nervous before the day, when she arrived Sandra was made to feel welcome – with her concerns set at ease by friendly staff.

She said: “When I came to the Open Day, because of what I’m interested in, I started off in a room listening to a lecture on chemistry. Then, I remember lots of the other staff on the course came in to talk to us, and it was great to meet them and see they weren’t scary – just a lot of nice people!

“I’m from Portugal, and as someone who isn’t originally from Britain, before the day started, I had a bit of insecurity – I was wondering if people would accept me and if I’d find things difficult. However, everyone at the university was so welcoming and made things really easy – the academics were really helpful.”

Having signed up for a BSc in Chemistry with Green Nanotechnology after her Open Day visit, Sandra is now in her second year. She has credited the university with building both her confidence – and her networks.

She added: “It’s very easy to get involved in things here because the university is so friendly – and all the staff and lecturers know who you are as well. You feel part of a community here – you are not just a number.

“The support you receive is really good right across the university – for instance, as a mature student, I sometimes need some help with new technology – but there are workshops on IT support, so in a short time you can learn what you need to.”

Sandra has now been inspired to consider a new career as a result of her studies – working in science education.

She added: “At the beginning, I wanted to do a lab job once I graduated - like the one I had been after. However, recently I have realised one of my skills is that I like dealing with people and that I’d maybe like to do something like that – using my degree to teach or to work in science education. I want to inspire the next generation!”

As a Student Ambassador, she is also now responsible for greeting potential students at Open Days – and is urging anyone thinking about university to come along and find out for themselves.

She added: “After all, I think Glyndwr has a lot of good selling points – so I want to tell people all about them!”

Sandra is among the student ambassadors helping prospective students discover the wide range of subject-specific activities, talks and more which are on offer at Wrexham Glyndwr University’s Open Days.

There are a range of interactive sessions, hands-on experiences, tours and presentations on offer throughout the day covering a wide array of topics, the chance to try out some fascinating technology, and much much more.

Lecturers and staff from departments across the University will also be on hand to help provide answers to questions  - whether these are about courses, funding, inclusion services or anything else.