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Equipping students with the knowledge, skills and habits of mind to prepare for university.

The STEM Ambassador sessions were very useful in gaining first impressions for our project from professionals in a range of different professions. Having the perspective and ideas of multiple people who all think from different viewpoints in relation to their educational background allowed us to explore solutions for different parts of our project at an early stage. The Sunday Sessions were very useful. I did think a few times the pace was slower then it could’ve been in the beginning, although in hindsight this was probably for the better as it helped our ideas grow and gel more naturally. In my opinion, the most beneficial Sunday Session was where we went through WordPress blog making and design – as we could learn, test and ask questions in real time and was a good use of the Sunday morning. I will certainly be hoping to use these skills when establishing my blog in earnest this summer. I have definitely benefitted from a plethora of skills through undertaking the Fresh Minds course which I am sure are absolutely invaluable for the future.  We were encouraged near the beginning of the programme to build a Personal Learning Network of blogs, YouTube channels and magazines which I’ve found I’ve now incorporated into my daily life. Having a constant stream of all-round knowledge flowing in has become a very good habit; it’s made me much more insightful and inspired about the world in an academic way and has increased me love for learning in general. Through leading the Innovation Project for our group, I honed skills in teamwork and co-ordination with my team members through establishing the parts which each of us had to complete each week in order to meet our deadlines set by Mr. Singh. He guided us all along through the project journey, from the idea’s conception as my brainchild until the execution of the final product.  My communicational skills, confidence and professional has increased through the countless emails, LinkedIn conversations and video meetings with highly-esteemed researchers, professors, and even CEOs and board members of companies around the world. In addition, I have broadened my knowledge in a multitude of practical skills through the completion of the project. To further understand the practicalities of the project’s design, I had to learn the intricacies of 3D-modelling software. As a result of this skill, the model produced was of very high quality, and gave me a skill which I can use in the future. Furthermore, we learnt how to use app design software to create an app prototype, and used online collaboration software to co-ordinate our ideas. Undertaking the Fresh Minds course has further stimulated my aspirations to move into medicine in the future. Doing extensive research into human biomarkers heightened my fascination of the body and the amount of information it contains, and as a result I have decided to pursue the project as an EPQ in the future. When first commencing research into the different issues which we could impact, I was moved by the sheer number of people affected and my desire to help people through a career in Medicine has definitely been strengthened. The biggest and most valuable opportunity so far has definitely been the ability to create an innovation project and enter two of the biggest and most well-renowned competitions in the country. Specified guidance on how to begin and develop entries into such competitions is not something which is available to everyone, and I am very grateful to be given the opportunity to work on a meaningful and potentially rewarding project. Skills such as learning strategies and critical thinking are very valuable throughout your life, and building them from a young age through a weekly session like Fresh Minds encourages and hones a natural love of learning itself. This can bring useful widespread general benefits outside of solely for an academic purpose and is more useful then one would think at first. Creativity and problem-solving form the basis of any ideas or projects which professionals want to achieve so developing them at this stage forms the foundation for the future. The continuous insight, motivation and aid in developing methods of thinking from Mr. Singh helped the process of completing the innovation project and this is what I enjoyed most about Fresh Minds. Although there was a lot of effort needed, reflecting on the skills learnt and the time spent working with others on our project made the whole process very fun to complete.

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