Summer 2 Reflective Report


For my Leadership-in-Action experience I worked in the University of Parma, Italy. I went to
complete some research which I would use as the basis of science outreach work with
students in the area. With this work I hoped to take some complex physics ideas from the
topical field of quantum technology, and make them simpler and more accessible to the
students. I saw this as a worthy objective to set for my LiA because many students who have
an interest in physics see pursuing further study in the field as potentially difficult or unclear.
Most people view high level physics as Einstein standing in front of some really confusing
looking equations on a blackboard, and there is not a lot done in schools to change this
For my LiA I put on a workshop with some local secondary school students and took them
through the basic ideas of quantum physics and technology, why this field is topical in
modern research, and why people should be made aware of it. I also did a tutorial on some
of the computational ideas used a lot in physics research today to demonstrate how
researchers work with the ideas and the techniques which are commonly used. Over the
course of a 2 hour workshop I feel that my objectives were achieved as the students showed
great interest, some already had some basic understanding of what I was talking about, and
they stayed for about 20 minutes after the end to ask questions or discuss the best way to
study physics in the future. I’m sure the success of this workshop will continue after my LiA
experience since the students will continue to look at these ideas out of their own interest
and curiosity, and I also put together a resource package for them to use which contained
the content of the workshop along with some online resources to help answer their questions
and give them a more detailed insight into the life of physics students and the possibilities
that come with it.
I also created an experiment to be used in Trinity Walton Club’s summer camps inspired by
the research I was carrying out in Parma and recorded a short video to accompany it. This
allowed the science outreach work of my LiA to extend to different countries but still
achieving the same goals and also adding in the creation of something which can be reused.
For me, my LiA was a great way to see much I have developed during my time in the
Programme and have new experiences such as working in another country and completing a
project in-person, which wasn’t possible during the pandemic.
Reflecting on my development I can see how much I’ve learned which wasn’t as clear to me
at each stage of the Programme. I can now see the extent of the leadership skills I have
learned, how these skills have become a more natural part of my leadership toolkit and also
how I view leadership and the leader I want to become.
Entering the Programme I had not previously considered how to directly improve my
leadership skills. I would have considered myself an easy-going and democratic leader with
a focus on teamwork. Nearly being out the other side of the Programme now this has clearly
changed. I feel that now I have become comfortable with taking on more individual
responsibility and not only just being a part of a team, but driving the team towards its goals
when needed. I also not only associate leadership qualities with leadership positions, but
now see them as possible to show in a range of different situations which some people might
not generally associate with leadership.
A lot of the first half of the Programme was about taking in new ideas and the theory behind
leadership and how it can be put into practice along with getting the practical experience of
the summer 1 research project. This was interesting for me as a lot of the ideas presented in
the leadership sessions were new or I had not spent a lot of time considering them before. I
also got to hear the thoughts of each of the other scholars which is one of the most
interesting parts about being a Laidlaw scholar. The challenge that came out of this for me
was then to be able to use this information to construct clear goals for how I wanted to
develop during my time in the Programme. Once I had these goals in place I then had the
challenge of trying to demonstrate leadership skills during my summer 1 project. Due to the
pandemic I had to do my project remotely and try to be as effective a leader as possible
while being sat at my desk the whole time. I managed to still do this by actively participating
in group meetings and frequently discussing progress and ideas with my supervisor.
Moving into the second part of the Programme I feel that the focus shifted towards practising
what we learned earlier on in the Programme. The highlights of this half of the Programme
were the residential weekend leadership session we did and also my LiA. These
experiences were much more hands-on and I was able to try and make a more natural use
of the leadership skills I was aiming to develop.
My LiA experience was something that brought all of my leadership training and experience
during my time as a Laidlaw scholar together. This was a highlight of the Programme for me
because I am very happy with the work I completed, to have met the people I worked with
and also learning leadership through practice, which is how I like to learn these skills. The
LiA allowed me to enter a new environment equipped with the skills I had developed so far
with a chance to prove myself and make an impression on the people who were helping me
with my project. This was an opportunity and challenge I enjoyed and one I feel that I made
the most of, as myself and the research group I worked with have put together some plans to
continue working together.
Getting to work with high level researchers was a great opportunity to see how my
leadership compared to theirs. Getting to complete research with them and then use it for
the science outreach work with the students involved a lot of communicating between all of
us so we were on the same page in terms of organising the workshop, how I aimed to run it,
and what I wanted to achieve from it. Given that we were all working with the same ideas in
the same field I knew there would be similarities between our approaches to the different
aspects of my project. This meant I managed to communicate my ideas effectively to
everyone. What I found to be the most helpful part of communicating my plans with everyone
was that there was a lot of trust and faith in what I was proposing. Having trust in my plans
was obviously a crucial part of my LiA being successful because in my workshop I would be
representing the University of Parma to the students in attendance.
My LiA experience has allowed my leadership abilities to improve at the quickest pace due
to the series of challenges along with all of the new experiences and the requirement to
demonstrate these leadership abilities during the whole project. Due to all of this I feel that I
have become a more natural leader and someone who does not mind taking on any
responsibilities for the collective goals of the group. However, it has also made me aware
that there’s still plenty of work I can do to keep improving and seeking out opportunities
where I will be able to do so.
I have had the chance to meet and work with some great people during my time as a
Laidlaw scholar. As I have already mentioned this has opened up the opportunity for me to
keep working with the team from my LiA. I have enjoyed meeting people in the Programme
itself, especially my fellow Laidlaw scholars and also hearing from the various speakers at
the leadership sessions. Without being a part of the Laidlaw Programme I would not have
had the opportunity to meet and hear from all of these people and get their perspectives on
leadership development and other topics which I am very appreciative to have had the
chance to do.
Now that I am coming to the end of my leadership development within the Laidlaw
Programme I can look back at my overall experience in the Programme and how I aim to
continue developing in the future. Looking back I feel that I have achieved the goals I set out
for myself when I began in the Programme and more that I had not even considered at that
time. I am really happy with the work I have managed to complete during both summers. I
hope it will have a positive impact and it will also give me a strong foundation to improve on
it in the future. The fact that my experience as a Laidlaw scholar has been a personal
success for me has made it a very enjoyable experience. The Programme being run very
well and having a great time working and learning from the other scholars has also made the
experience very enjoyable. I am determined to not let everything I have learned go to waste
and put everything I have learned in my leadership development into practice wherever I
can. What I hope to achieve next is to have more opportunities and experience as a leader
to become better at creating positive change.
Being a Laidlaw scholar has been a highlight of my time in college and something that I am
happy to have applied for and been accepted into. I look forward to seeing what I can
achieve after completing the Programme and maximising the skills I have learned and

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