Dipa Gurung, MRes Programme Coordinator, Department of Chemistry

“I love working with academics that are experts in their field and supporting the next generation of some of the brightest minds in their careers.”

I work as the MRes Programme Coordinator in the Department of Chemistry, a position I had held for just over a month before we went into lockdown in March.

I joined Imperial five years ago to do my PhD in the Faculty of Medicine. I’d become interested in using ambient mass spectrometry imaging in breast cancer research and Professor Zoltan Takats who pioneered the technique worked at Imperial. When I completed my PhD, I worked in the faculty for a while as a research technician, but decided that academia was not for me. However, I really liked the College and supporting student research, so my new role was perfect.

The last few months have been difficult; not only was I settling into a new job, but I also moved house during lockdown. My line manager has been great about understanding that we all have different circumstances and has been really supportive. Me and my colleagues regularly talk to each other – reaching out to your colleagues and supporting each other is the best thing we can all do.

It’s been difficult supporting students in these circumstances too, but we’ve worked really hard to give as much online support as possible and opened our labs back up for research in June with new COVID-19 safety rules. We regularly listened to students’ feedback and adapted what we were doing in response. Receiving lovely thank you messages from students and hearing about what they are moving onto next has been truly motivating.

Having worked closely with course directors and our research student manager, we welcomed new students to MRes courses in the autumn. For the first time ever we held a number of webinars for our incoming students, where the Head of Department and the Director of MRes studies spoke to the students, explained how multi-mode teaching works, answered questions, and showed students around our buildings so they knew what to expect when they arrived. The new cohort has just been assigned their research projects and started in January.

I love working with academics that are experts in their field and supporting the next generation of some of the brightest minds in their careers.

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