Inspiring Through Work Experience

During the week of the 14th-18th May, students from several colleges in and around Staffordshire came for work experience at Staffordshire University.

Focusing on creative arts, science and sport, the students experienced various aspects of the work involved within each field; they finished the week presenting a Vlog they had created about their experiences.

Applications were open to all schools and colleges and ten students were selected, overall, from the City of Stoke on Trent Sixth Form College, Stoke on Trent College, Blythe Bridge High School, The Cheadle Academy and St John Fisher Catholic College.

“I have had a really good past few days and enjoyed every single moment”.

Marley, Kate and Eliot presented their Vlog first. Their week involved looking into the working world of creative arts. They dabbled in photography, photo editing and TV production.

Whilst editing photos, they learnt how to “make your eyes and nose bigger/smaller”.

Towards the end of the week, they went behind the scenes at the TV studio and saw elements of what it was like behind the camera as opposed to in front of it – although they also got to enjoy seeing how to make a character from wearing a suite with sensors. They learnt how to connect video clips together, transitioning from one slide to another.

Eliot said that he had “had a really good past few days and enjoyed every single moment”.

The second group spent their week looking into science and psychology. Jacob, Emily, Chloe, Jade and Beth’s theme for the week was the stress hormone cortisol.

“I was amazed by all the equipment the Science Centre has to offer”.

They stepped into the virtual world, looking at how virtual technology can be used to assist people, in relation to cortisol levels and stress. Part of the experience involved observing various relaxation techniques and facing their fear of heights, using a VR headset.

Jade said that, this way, the “technology can help to overcome fears”. Beth concluded that, with “the help of technology[, there is] “much more we can do to help with the quality of life” for some people.

They then had a tour of the labs in the Science Centre; Chloe was “amazed by all the equipment the Science Centre has to offer”.

The third group received the same “scientific experimental experience” and were especially able to develop their “communication skills” through their Vlog preparation – implementing video transitioning and audio – and presenting on their final day.

Focusing on the cortisol theme as well, Chanelle and Moncy particularly enjoyed working in the labs. Chanelle said there were things they have learnt in their Biology lesson at school or college, but didn’t have the opportunity to use any equipment like they did at Staffordshire University.

“[It was] informative as I was planning on doing something biology related at uni[versity]”.

Our Technical Skills Specialist, Alison Davidson, gave a tour of the Analytical Laboratory and then Moncy and Chanelle carried out a few experiments, including looking at the difference in accuracy between an automatic and glass perpet. Moncy said that the experience was “informative as [she] was planning on doing something biology related at uni[versity]”.

The afternoon concluded with a general discussion and questions, during which the students provided feedback. One work experience student said she had now joined the university library, because she didn’t know the public could join. Another said that they are now considering going to university when they weren’t sure before.

“I would definitely come back again”.

Overall, it was an interesting week and a pleasure to have the work experience students at the university. The students learnt a lot and the general consensus was positive, saying they would definitely come back again.


What You Can Expect on Our Offer Holder Days

We had our third Offer Holder Day, on Saturday 17th February, for our 2018 entry applicants. The School of Law, Policing and Forensics applicants met our staff, a few of our students, and experienced taster sessions of what they can expect if they choose to study at Staffordshire University.

Chemistry is a part of the School of Law, Policing and Forensics, and is new for 2018. Our Chemistry applicants had hands on experience in our labs, where they conducted some paracetamol analysis and calculations .

Law applicants on a mixture of our Law courses, including the new BA Criminal Justice with Offender Management, got involved in two interactive sessions.

Louis Martin and Anna Garland used real life case studies and encouraged interactive discussions. Louis focused on serial killers and Criminal Law and Anna discussed the core areas of Legal study that students can expect to learn about (Contract Law, Tort Law, Constitutional Law, Property Law, Equitable Remedies, EU Law and Criminal Law), using a few of the following examples:

Donoghue v Stevenson (1932)
The Conjoined Twins: Surgical Separation (2001)
Jolly v Sutton LBC (2000).

Former Senior Investigating Officer for Staffordshire Police and Course Leader of our Policing and Criminal Investigation courses, Phil Lee, briefed our applicants and then took them to the crime scene house; they took the role of Senior Investigating Officers, where they used body cameras and recorded evidence.


Professor James Treadwell encouraged our Sociology and Criminology applicants to think like a Sociologist and Criminologist when discussing topical images. Applicants were then given the opportunity to speak to one of our current Sociology students and ask questions.

Forensic Science and Forensic Investigation applicants were suited in protective clothing and had practical experience of crime scene processing and evidence analysis – at our crime scene house and labs.

Our next Offer Holder Day will take place on Wednesday 14th March. Find out more on our website.

2017 Highlights from the Analytical Lab

Simon Cooper and Alison Davidson have been awarded £1146 by the Royal Society of Chemistry Research Fund for the “Evaluation of the use of MonoTrap sampling technology for the recovery and analysis of biological contaminants in water supplies”.

Professor John Cassella (left) and Dr Alison Davidson (right) with students, Richard Price and Abbie Renwick

The Burial Research Group led by Professor John Cassella has been going from strength-to-strength this year with great work from our undergraduates and interns. Ting Ting Chu who interned here last semester has won 2nd place for a Student Poster Prize at the recent BAHID conference.

The (student) Burial Research Group

Alison Davidson completed her PhD this year and graduated in July; she has co-authored three papers which have been submitted to journals. Simon Cooper is now starting his PhD and Alison Davidson and John Cassella are co-supervising him.

Dr Alison Davidson at Graduation in July

Tuesday 19th December saw our first, live Chemistry Christmas Cracker Event hosted by Dr Jodie Dunnett and Dr Alison Davidson.

Alison and Jodie

Jodie, Course Leader for Chemistry, demonstrated ‘Making Silver Nitrate Baubles’, ‘Colouring Christmas Baubles using Poinsettia Colour Indicator’ and ‘Making Fake Snow’.

Dr Jodie Dunnett with her Chemistree

Alison, our Technical Skills Specialist, showed us some specialised analytical chemistry equipment, investigated the ‘Smell of Christmas Trees’ and ‘A Toxic Victorian Christmas’.

Dr Alison Davidson investigating ‘A Toxic Vicorian Christmas’

If you missed the live event, you can still watch the video on Facebook.