7 questions with Dewi Owen
16 February 2016
This week we put seven questions to Dewi Owen, a UCL Infection and Immunity student.
Why are you interested in this subject and what do you plan to do in the future?
Microbes have always fascinated me. It's strange to think that we coexist with bacteria in our bodies that outnumber our own human cells ten to one. You could say we're more bacterial than human! Better understanding our microbiome could have a great impact on human health, from diabetes to allergies, so it is well worth investigating.
However, some microorganisms can obviously go rogue, which is where my interest in how we defend ourselves through immunology comes in. That's why I'm currently doing a research project on the vaccine for tuberculosis with the aim of gaining insight into how we can make it even more effective.
My future goal is to work either in the field of global health/international development or in scientific academia. Hopefully, in my own way, I'll be able to make a small positive impact.
What is the most interesting thing you've done, seen or got involved with while at UCL?
It would have to be taking part in the UCL Global Citizenship Programme. I thoroughly enjoyed the Health in Future Cities (Global Health) Grand Challenge in my first year, especially the opportunity to collaborate with a diverse group of students from across the university. It really allowed me to broaden my perspective and look at problems in a different way.
In my second year, the Employability strand helped me immensely with practical skills and advice on how to gain an edge in today's competitive job market. Sessions such as CV writing and aptitude test practice will really help me prepare for the world of work. You can even get your foot in the door with a major graduate employer if you really impress at the mock interviews!
With the programme expanding even further this year, there's a strand or challenge to interest everyone - you can take your first step onto the global stage.
I'd highly recommend it to any student!
Have you discovered any 'hidden gems' during your time at UCL?
As exam time approaches and library space becomes ever more precious, people forget that Senate House is just on our doorstep. It's a great alternative to the Main and Science libraries when you want a place to study. UCL even has its own study hub there now, so all the facilities you could need are available.
Give us your top three things to do/see/go to in London.
My top three things to do would be:
1) Stroll along the Thames on the Southbank and pop into Borough Market for some mouth-watering food at one of the many stalls, which cater to all palates and tastes.
2) See an all-singing, all-dancing musical. You can't go wrong with Les Misérables! Next on my list has to be The Book of Mormon - really looking forward to going to the theatre soon to see that. Give It A Go (GIAG) does theatre trips, so maybe joining it would be the best bet of finding an elusive ticket.
3) If you're like me and enjoy getting away from the city once in a while, catch a train to Richmond Park, bring a picnic and get lost in the vast countryside. You'll definitely need some walking shoes. Just watch out for the deer!
If you were Provost for the day what one thing would you do?
I'd make it a policy that only academics who want to teach give lectures. During this month's UCLU Education Conference 2016, it was a common theme that everyone agreed upon that enthusiastic lecturers make engaged students. Engaged students make better graduates. No one enjoys having slides read to them! It's important as students, therefore, that we provide feedback on good (and not so good) teaching practices in student surveys - it really can make a big difference.
Who inspires you and why?
I'd have to say my wonderful group of friends here at UCL. As well as being great fun, they're a clever bunch. Two of them even made it onto the Dean's list this year, so they inspire me to always push myself to work hard and be the best that I can be. I know I wouldn't have done half as well without them, so for that I am truly grateful.
What would it surprise people to know about you?
Despite my mild manner, I'm actually a big heavy metal fan. Underworld in Camden is a great place to go if you want to rock out for the night. I know it's not to everyone's taste but it certainly gets the adrenaline pumping when you turn it up to 11!