Magdalen’s first Physics & Engineering residential a great success

01 September 2023

Following five well-reviewed years of the Law at Magdalen Programme, the Magdalen Outreach team ran a pilot in-person Physics and Engineering Programme in August 2023.

A group of Year 12 students from state schools across the UK came to College earlier this month to gain insights into being a Physics or Engineering undergraduate as part of our Physics and Engineering Programme.

Thirty-six students from disadvantaged backgrounds, including eight from our partner charity the Social Mobility Foundation, were selected from almost 200 applications to stay in Oxford for 3 days of Physics and Engineering-related activities.

Physics Fellow Dr Alexy Karenowska and Engineering Fellow Professor Robin Cleveland led and delivered the programme, along with their colleague Dr Gareth LuTheryn, six current Magdalen undergraduates studying Physics or Engineering, and Outreach Officers Nuala Marshall and Catriona Macnab.

Dr Karenowska leading a practical workshop

The programme participants enjoyed a tour of College with current undergraduate students, taster lectures and workshops, and sessions by the Outreach staff and the Fellows on the various stages of the Oxford admissions process.

The workshops were hands-on, practical experiences. In Dr Karenowska’s session, the participants built miniature working radios, which they were then able to take home and keep. In Professor Cleveland’s session, the students experimented with acoustic waves and determined the resonance frequencies of blowing into bottles of water. And in Dr LuTheryn’s session, students experimented with bioengineering, interacting with biofilms and discussing how scientists might respond to antibiotic resistance.

I haven’t had many in-person experiences and opportunities to do hands-on engineering so it was a fun and informative introduction into doing so. I especially liked trying soldering for the first time and having a functioning product, a radio, that I can take home and use.

Hafizah, Physics & Engineering 2023 Participant
Students taking part in Professor Cleveland’s workshop

The participants also watched a demonstration interview, thanks to student helpers Zoe and Shaan, who recreated their own experiences of the process.

Witnessing the student helpers undergo interviews was very useful because I was able to familiarise myself with the structure of the interviews, allowing me to prepare for one more effectively.

Mia, Physics & Engineering 2023 Participant

Feedback from the programme has been overwhelmingly positive, with all survey respondents saying they now feel confident that they know what Physics and Engineering courses at University involve, and 82.6% now interested in applying to the university of Oxford. The Outreach Team aims to repeat the event in future years.

I found the programme highly informative and I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to participate. It was a great insight into university life and confirmed my decision to apply to Oxford

Joshua, physics & engineering 2023 Participant
The participants, student helpers and staff of the 2023 Physics and Engineering at Magdalen Programme