Developing teaching skills during postdoctoral training provides great career value. Elisa Galliano, a Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow at our centre , took the opportunity for meaningful teaching activity by working as a tutor for The Brilliant Club , a non-profit educational organization. The charity’s primary activity is to deliver programmes of university-style tutorials to small groups of high performing pupils from schools in low-participation communities by recruiting, training and placing doctoral and post-doctoral researchers there.
Since joining Dr Matthew Grubb’s laboratory here, Elisa has been investigating experience-driven plasticity in bulbar dopaminergic interneurons and the effects of such plastic modifications on the first synapse in olfaction and on olfactory behaviour. While being mostly based at King’s, different parts of her project means she will also spend time at Harvard University in Boston and the Institut Pasteur in Paris.
Over the course of five weeks, Elisa worked as a tutor for twelve Year 9 pupils from Lampton School.
"I taught them a custom-made course addressing the neurobiology of learning in memory. After the fifth tutorial I gave them instructions to produce a final assignment, a magazine article about a neuroscience-related topic of their choice and an experimental design proposal to answer a related question. Throughout the programme, the pupils were very determined, inquisitive and organised. They all produced high quality work which I collected in a magazine called Phineas@Lampton, for which my intern, Ms Marine Breton-Knecht, drew a beautiful cover."
Last Thursday, 7 May 2015, the pupils visited our centre for the final feedback session with their Brilliant Club tutor. The students were welcomed by Professor Juan Burrone, Professor Ian Thompson and Dr Laura Andreae, after which they had the opportunity to visit several of the laboratories. During their tour, pupils spoke with some of the graduate students and postdocs about their research and their academic choices, and were also able to observe some of the experiments that are conducted in the centre, thus having direct contact with all the things they had been studying in the previous weeks.
“It was great to see my colleagues engaging with the pupils, and a couple of them are interested in joining The Brilliant Club as tutors in autumn. I strongly encourage them to do so, since this has been an incredibly rewarding experience which I will repeat myself again in the coming months”, said Elisa.
The visit ended with the pupils presenting their final assignment work, which spanned from mechanisms of memory loss in humans to comparative neurobiology of elephants and mice, to their peers.
The Widening Participation Department at King’s College London works in partnership with The Brilliant Club.