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HIC graduate leads the way in agriculture

HIC graduate, Evren, shares his journey to PhD study, and it starts at HIC.

Hello Evren! Can you tell us where you’re from and about your studies at HIC?

I’m from Istanbul, Turkey and joined HIC in September 2017 to study a Foundation in Life and Medical Sciences. I progressed to Integrated Year One in Molecular Biology in September 2018 and became a full University of Hertfordshire student in September 2019 (year 2).

What’s it like being an international student and what did you enjoy?

With HIC, I initially thought I didn’t need a foundation, however, without doing my foundation year nothing would have happened. HIC helped me to adjust to college life. Especially with my tutors, such as Mark D’Arcy. It’s an amazing international community and I still speak to my HIC friends! So many of them have gone on into further education.

My favourite part was definitely the community! Close to my heart too, was being able to challenge stereotypes; there was an element of home students looking down on us, the stereotype being that international students would simply pay their fees and obtain their degrees. I loved proving these students wrong. Some students, however, were the complete opposite and they really loved to hear about our point of view and our experiences of living in another country all our life.

What skills did you learn during your learning journey that help you now?

A lot of the background I received, especially the ILS001 Interactive Learning Skills and Communications module with Nina Federley, has been really useful. I believe all international students should have this core module – it covers everything from referencing to presenting. Some international students who didn’t go through HIC really struggled without such a module.

Mark D’Arcy and Mirela Martin(my tutors for Biology and Chemistry) had incredible modules which gave me great foundations to advance my knowledge – I even remember one of Mark’s case studies and up to this date it was one of the most complex ones I have ever done! The culture here in the UK is so open and this gave me incredible confidence in my studies.

What are your hopes and career aspirations for the future?

Interesting question! Firstly, to finish my PhD in three years and then to go into teaching. For example, university lecturing. I really want to work in an international college because of my experiences and I would love nothing better than to give something back. Prior to HIC I was so quiet and shy but now I am confident and studying for my PhD!

Can you tell us about your PhD?

I am investigating the interactions between two co-existing fungal pathogens Leptosphaeria maculans and Leptosphaeria biglobosa to improve control of phoma stem canker on oilseed in the UK.  I was awarded full-funding (including monthly stipend) for this project though UKRI and agricultural charities.

I feel incredibly privileged to be in this position as I went straight from my undergraduate studies to starting a PhD in 4 years!

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