Reflections on a module

Time has flown by since I started the Bio Enterprise and Employability series on this blog.

It has been an enjoyable module, and I feel it has given my valuable knowledge and experience.

Overall, my favourite talk was the one on puff adder behaviour. I think the most useful workshop was the careers café, and the most enjoyable assignment for me was blogging.

I found how my note-taking style differs between lectures and science talks interesting. For example, my lecture notes tend to be more detailed, whereas my blog post notes are sometimes less detailed and include my thought on the talk.

It was nice to be able to choose which talks to attend and write about, although many have not made it into this blog (so far, at least). This series has also given me an opportunity to see what type of content you, the readers of this blog, like. Hopefully I will be able to use this to inform future content.

I must admit I was initially sceptical about the content and value of the workshops. However, during and after them, I realised that I enjoyed them, and did gain some skills, such as co-writing a business plan and presenting a business plan, that I would not have picked up elsewhere.

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Bats with Catharine Wüster

Bangor University’s Zoological Society’s most recent talk was all about bats, and was given by Catherine Wüster PhD MCIEEM.

She started the talk by looking at the evolutionary history of bats. It turns out the bat order (Chiroptera, or “hand-wings”) is over 50 million years old, and is very diverse. For example, there diets of bats range from nectar to blood. Some are also important pollinators, and one species, the long-nosed bat, is essential for the production of tequila.

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What can you do with a zoology degree?

Is a question I’ve been thinking a lot about recently.

I went into the final Bio Enterprise and Employability workshop, the Careers Café, hoping to gain some answers to this question.

The panel consisted of five Bangor graduates:

  • Bethan Wynne Jones (2014 graduate, completed a masters Wetland Science and Conservation). Ecosystem and Climate Change officer at the Snowdonia National Park.
  • Graham French (completed a Marine Biology degree in 1998, then a PGCSE in Outdoor Activities and Science in 2000). Lecturer in Education at Bangor University.
  • Nia Jones (2003 graduate, completed an MSc in Ecology). The Living Seas manager at the North West Wales Wildlife Trust.
  • Jon Cannon (1998 graduate, studied Marine Zoology). A Process Manager at Dŵr Cymru (Welsh Water).
  • Rhys Morgan (2012 graduate, completed a Masters in Zoology). The animal care technician at Bangor University.

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Business plans for bioscience students

The second assignment in the Bio Enterprise and Employability module was a business plan. For this, I had to build on my experiences from the Dragon’s Den day. It was set and marked by Chris Walker.

For the assignment, we had to use the Simply Do Ideas format, which turned out to be easy to use and understand. It is split into six sections:

  • Concept – explaining your business (e.g. the idea behind it).
  • Contents – what your business will consist of.
  • Customers – who will be interested in buying your product/service.
  • Competitors – companies carrying out similar work to yours.
  • Compatibility – how well suited you are to running the business.
  • Cash – how you will make money and costs of running the business.

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How To Look At Puff Adder Behaviour

Recently, Bangor University’s Herpetological Society hosted a talk by Dr Xavier Glaudas from the University of Witwatersrand. The talk was based on his post-doc research, and data was collected between October 2012 and February 2016.

Overview of the talk 

The talk started with an explanation of how puff adders (Bitis arietans) could be considered a model organism for studying behaviour in the wild. This is due to four main factors: the species’ abundance, limited mobility, its ambush foraging behaviour and the fact that it is easily approached.

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Do dragons like garlic bread?

The third workshop in the Bio Enterprise and Employability module was a Dragons’ Den-style day.

At the start of the day, we were placed into random groups. My group quickly settled on the idea of designing a business plan for a garlic bread-based takeaway – Aglio.

After deciding on the name and type of our business, we used a large print-out of the Simply Do Ideas business plan. I decided to cover the finance side of the plan.

Once this was completed, my group filmed a short promotional video for Aglio. Near the start of the workshop, I suggested we use a poem at this stage. One of my team members wrote a promotional poem, which turned out surprisingly well.

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The Pont Croesor Project

About the talk

This week’s Bangor University Zoological Society talk was given by Gywn Harrison, who focused on how the ospreys of Glaslyn came to be protected and appreciated.

Ospreys were first recorded in the area in 2003, when a originally from Scotland was spotted. In 2004, he was joined by a female and they successfully raised two chicks in the first year.

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Assessment centres for bioscience students

The second Bio Enterprise and Employability workshop focused on assessment centres. It took the form of a 4 hour workshop in October.

Having never been to an assessment centre before, I was curious to see what the afternoon would involve.

When I got to JP Hall in Main Arts, I found it filled with tables, each set out to seat around 5 people.

Once everyone (or most people?) were there, the afternoon was split into three sections:

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CVs and cover letters for bioscience students

Recently, third year Bioenterprise and Employability students had a lecture about CVs. This post will combine information gained from that workshop, thoughts on the workshop and information from the Ask a Manager blog. Both the workshop and blog have helped me in my recent assignment, which involved finding a job, writing a CV and cover letter.

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Hope is the thing with baleen: lessons from a museum specimen

The first talk in the Life and Environment seminar series was by Dr Natalie Cooper from the Natural History Museum in London.

About the stranding

Over 100 years ago, a blue whale stranded in Wexford. She was found by a fisherman called Edward Wickham, and later bought by the Natural History Museum. She was  More information on the stranding can be found here.

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