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UCL Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy


Applied in Focus. Global in Reach


Sam Lane – October 2016: Getting started

By ucqnafe, on 12 October 2016


MPA student Sam Lane provides insights on studying at UCL STEaPP.

“Change the world,” they said. What an understatement. No sooner had the induction week began did my fellow students and I realise that Jason (Blackstock – co-founder and Head of STEaPP) was serious. The first session of the Master’s degree opened all our eyes to how wide, yet interconnected, the world is and that we were in a unique place to make a positive change. It’s fair to say that all the MPA students are in awe of the faculty and their achievements, yet despite their grandeur, they were so friendly and approachable, using every opportunity to engage with us on a personal level too. This helped foster a very close relationship among the students and the staff from the outset and has only grown since.

Our cohort have quickly got to know and appreciate each other’s incredibly diverse backgrounds too. I have a BSc in Biology at University of East Anglia, and since graduating have moved into science policy and communications, first interning in Brussels and then taking a place on the Robert Schuman Traineeship programme at the European Parliament Information Office in London. Among our cohort we also have engineers, public administrators, economists and even a lawyer, with students from Europe, Middle East, Asia and the Americas, so it’s clear that diversity is cherished.

We have become quite close quite quickly because of the intensity of the course. This was helped by a great induction week of workshops and activities (the highlight being the tour of Queen Elizabeth Park) which allowed lots of discussion about the topics, and about lunch!

Given the variety of backgrounds, everyone encountered something uniquely challenging getting used to the administrative side of things in such a huge institution as UCL. However, the team at STEaPP were on hand to resolve any issues that came up immediately, which meant we knew we were in good hands.

Given the stellar start to the course I expect it to continue. The draw of the practical scenarios and the star-studded lecture timetable mean we are set for interesting content but I already know I will learn much more than what can be taught from books, especially how to change the world.

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