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Launching the Undergraduate Network

Published: 28 Apr 2021
Category:
By Alina Zorn, Weston James

With the start of the new academic year in 2020, the Society saw a new addition to its online Community platform – the Undergraduate Network (UGN). After the success of undergraduate-focused careers events and conversations on the digital networking hub at Pharmacology 2020, the UGN had reached roughly 60 members. As the Network Leaders, we thought that it was time for our own event! We held our first event on 3 March 2021 with the aim of raising awareness amongst pharmacology undergraduates of the benefits of joining the Society and the UGN. The Society benefits we wanted to highlight included:

  • Free attendance at the flagship annual meetings 
  • Discovering career opportunities 
  • Accessing financial help for undergraduate students to host events or carry out short research projects (for example the Summer Vacation Studentship)

We welcomed both existing Society members and non-members to join the event and we were overwhelmed to see more than 50 attendees from across the UK and even overseas!  

During the event, we provided some step-by-step instructions for obtaining Society membership and joining the Community and UGN. We also provided more information on the weekly activities we run on the Network, including our #MondayMotivator, #ReadoftheWeek and #FridayForums posts. These posts aim to provide some inspiration, set members challenges for the week ahead, share interesting recently published articles, and engage in discussion about topics relevant to the members of our network.

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For the second part of the meeting, we wanted to encourage conversation between attendees so that we could get to know one another. We asked attendees to tell us which universities they were based at and how they were coping with the challenges of the pandemic. We also asked what members hoped to gain from the UGN and their Society membership and the top answers were career-related information and details of future undergraduate networking events.

The Network Leaders had the opportunity to get to know one another both through the Undergraduate Network and previous virtual meetings. This helped us to feel comfortable communicating with each other on the Community platform – sharing ideas and giving feedback and encouragement. We hoped that our event would help others to feel comfortable using the Network in these ways too.

At the time of writing, the UGN has 86 members, making it in the top three largest Community Networks. We are extremely pleased with the large spike in people joining and interacting in the Community following our event!  

Microsoft Teams was an excellent platform to use for our event as it is accessible by most university students. We also used mentimeter.com to create a ‘real time’ survey to gather information about the participants (e.g. their Society membership status) and ask for feedback on UGN activities, and these questions sparked conversations. Many students expressed the enthusiasm for a similar future networking event and sessions on pharmacology career opportunities, which we are looking forward to exploring together.

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The feedback we received was overwhelmingly positive and will help us to plan future focused events. Overall, the experience was valuable and successful, and we look forward to hosting similar events in the future! 

If you would be interested in helping to shape the UGN and our future events, we would love you to share your thoughts and complete this survey. We want to ensure the UGN is as relevant and impactful as possible. If you have activated your Community account, we want to hear from you on what you would most like to see!

The event was incredibly informative, eye-opening and gave a wider perspective of the resources available through the BPS.


- Undergraduate student, University of East Anglia

I really enjoyed the opportunity to meet Pharmacology students from outside of my own institution and learn how I could use the Undergraduate Network to continue building my network.


- Undergraduate student, University of Aberdeen

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