Skip to main content

Meet the BSc Biology Student: Lauryn Stevenson

We spoke to second year Biology student, Lauryn Stevenson (They/Them) who joined Queen Mary in 2022. They spoke about the student experience and plans for the future.

Why did you choose to study your course at Queen Mary?  

I wanted to learn more about botany and mycology (mushrooms) but wasn’t sure what I actually wanted to do in future. My course allows me to learn about a variety of subjects which means I have a broad knowledge of the subject and can specialise later. I also thought that the Ecology would be a great opportunity to get experience of what it’d be like collecting data in the field, especially when the locations are in Croatia and South Africa.  

 What has been the highlight of your course (so far)? 

I’ve really enjoyed meeting new people on my course and learning about how broad Biology really is. My current modules of Ecological interactions and Diversity of Life have been really interesting as this is where my interests lie. We’ve been going over everything from Fungi to Bryophytes, it really helps you to see plants differently.  

I also really enjoy a lot of the lecturers; David Hone, Greg Sulzgit and Tim Fulton (who put me in touch with a lab for an internship over summer) to name a few. They make the content engaging so that I look forward to their lectures.  

 How have you found the support services and the campus and facilities? 

For my second year, I’m part of the committee for Knit&Knatter which is a very relaxing knitting society. I met most of my friends there and it’s a great place to meet new people. I also work for Student Ambassadors and as a receptionist at the on campus gym, QMotion so there are some great opportunities to get a part time job that will fit around your studies.  

The university also has some terrific support services. I’ve had a couple careers meetings that have helped me decide how to move forward in my course and have given good advice for any worries I may have. Mental health services and financial support have also been a great help for me and people I know. There’s always somewhere you can go if you need help, no matter how small.  

Tell me a little about any internships/work experience opportunities or part-time jobs/research projects you have taken part in.  

Working within the University has been really useful when it comes to fitting work around my studies. I’m able to give my availability so I can balance my time well and co-workers will often cover for you if you can’t make it. Both student ambassadors and Qmotion have a very welcoming and understanding environment. If something goes wrong it’s never an issue, there’s always a way to fix it. I’ve been enjoying both jobs in the last year and have met some incredible people. 

I also was able to do some shadowing work/mini-internship over the summer after my first year. Tim Fulton, one of my lecturers, put me in touch with a lab in Liverpool that works in Astrobiology. I was able to shadow the various scientists there in the different departments there, work in the labs and see how they use high tech equipment when imaging gastroloids. My time at the lab made me curious to learn more about the academic and research worlds and I’m currently in contact with other researchers at the Francis Crick Institute and Oxford about their research.  

Do you feel like QMUL is diverse and inclusive, if so why and how has this impacted your time here?  

QMUL is an incredibly diverse place. I’m half Brazilian but have never lived in Brazil so coming to Queen Mary was the first time I met other Brazilians and could share in the culture. I’ve also made a lot of friends of all different cultures, backgrounds and religions who are not only wonderful people but have taught me more about the world from just spending time with them.  

Is there anything else you would like to share?

I love the location of the Mile End campus. It’s close to Victoria park so I usually go to the Sunday markets or go to the Queer Climbing events at Mile End Climbing wall. The on campus allotments have also been really useful when I need to re pot my plants! 

 What is a top tip you’d give new students/students applying to university? 

I’d probably give 3 top tips:  

1. Learn how to manage your time! But also learn what works for you. In my first year I was definitely more of a night owl so I would study more in the evenings whereas for my 2nd year, I find I prefer to sleep early and wake up early so now I’m studying more in the midday and afternoon. Relax, you don’t have to to get up at 6am and do a million things with school, work, hobbies and socialising. Just do what’s right for you and don’t burn out! 

2. Talk to your lecturers! I cannot emphasise enough that your lecturers are going to be your most valuable resource when it comes to finding work experience. They might have opportunities in their own labs and if they don’t, they might know someone. But there’s also no harm in being friendly with your lecturers too. They know a lot about their subjects, pick their brains! Also don’t be afraid to email people, be a bit annoying even. I’ve emailed researchers in and outside of Queen Mary which has led to various coffee meetings with researchers about their work and, thankfully, a guaranteed internship before I even started 2nd year and that was all thanks to my lecturer and the power of email.  

3. Have fun! For a lot of you this will be your first time living away from home or just having more freedom. Join societies, talk to people, don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Studies are important but sometimes socialising can be more important. Remember to keep calm, don’t wear yourself out and be kind.  

Back to top