Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering


Emma Prevot receives Jackson Lewis Scholarship

2 September 2021

Emma Prevot

Emma Prevot is a Medical Physics BSc student who was recently awarded UCL’s Jackson Lewis Scholarship in recognition of excellent academic performance. With only one recipient per Faculty each year, receiving this prestigious award is a significant achievement. We asked Emma about her interest in her field, her experience at UCL and plans for the future.

Why Medical Physics?

I have always been deeply passionate about Physics as I see it as the “Philosophy of Nature”, our key to understanding how the world around us works and our way to describe natural phenomenon with mathematical rules. But Medical Physics is way more than that. It is our key to understanding how our body works and an incredibly powerful tool to tackle some of the major challenges in medicine.

Believe it or not, we still don’t fully understand some of the fundamental processes that sustain life. There are numbers of ongoing studies, the field is evolving very rapidly. What fascinate me the most are the applications or links with Neuroscience. This major in Medical Physics will allow me to understand these open challenges and it will provide me with the skills and knowledge to contribute to solve them.

What drew you to UCL in particular?

Securing a place at UCL has been one of my greatest achievements so far. Our university is one of the best in world, and this was surely one of the reason why I applied but not the most important. I remember I was doing my research on the different Universities in the UK and I was impressed by how many positive comments and memories all the UCL students were sharing, not only for the quality of teaching but also for the quality and the attention for each student’s experience/life. I come from a very small town in the north of Italy and all my life I have dreamt of going abroad and starting a completely new life, but I wasn’t truly confident that I could get an offer for such a top University.

The experience at UCL made me realise I should never underestimate my talent and potential. Thanks to all the opportunities and support that the university and particularly my department gave me, I was able not only to improve my skillset and broaden my knowledge of the various subjects, but I also had the chance to work on myself as a person and become the best version of myself.

What does this award mean to you?

Being the recipient of such a prestigious award fills me with happiness and gratitude. When I received the news, I felt speechless.

After such a difficult and unprecedented year, this scholarship made me so proud of myself and even more motivated to keep working hard and pushing myself. We all had to get used to spending an incredible amount of time in front of a computer. Speaking the truth, it was hard for me at the beginning – I was working long hours and I couldn’t find a healthy work life balance. Nevertheless, I managed to find the right equilibrium in the end and I found my own way to stay motivated and focused despite the lack of social interaction. This award is like a recognition of my hard work and dedication, not to mention an immense honour and something I will be proud of for the rest of my life.

You are going into your final year on the programme – what are you looking forward to this year?

I am really looking forward to the research project as this will be an incredible opportunity to work on a real Medical Physics project and understand what being part of a Research team and working in a Laboratory involve. I see my third year as part of my working career already and not only my last year of the Bachelor's degree. I will try to take the most out of it to have a better understanding of where I see myself in the future and which career path I want to explore. Finally, I hope it will be more in person than virtual to eventually get the real University experience.

What are your plans for after you graduate, and where do you hope your degree might take you in your future career?

That’s a good and tricky question. Right after graduation I would like to do another Summer Internship as I did in Summer 2021 to explore new a potential career path. In the longer term, I am planning on doing a Masters degree. I would like to explore fields like Biological Computation, Neural Systems, Artificial Intelligence etc., to take everything I learned in my BSc even further.

My ultimate career goal would be working in Medical AI Research or on Brain-Machine interface. The brain is one of the most complicated piece of active matter and there is so much that still needs to be done to understand it and exploit its power.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned so far in your time at UCL?

I have learned that I should always try to take the most out of anything, push myself to do better but also listen to myself and when I need to stop and rest. To become the best version of yourself you need to first understand who you are and what you like, and the main lesson I learned is that finding out that you don’t like something is also part of that process. So, don’t waste any opportunity you are given and keep your mind open – you never know what will come next!