On the 27th and 28th of September, three ESRs based at the University of Milan were part of the MEETmeTONIGHT event, which is a great annual initiative for disseminating and sharing the scientific culture among citizens of all ages. The event is part of the European Researchers’ Night initiative, organised every year on the last Friday of September by the European Commission.
Xuan (ESR 1), Gabriela (ESR 2) and Tamil (ESR 9) had the opportunity to participate in two activities. Their first activity was to show to high school students the basic laboratory techniques and guided tours around the “Experimental Didactic Zootechnical Centre” at the Technological park of the University of Milan in Lodi. Their second activity was to communicate their research and, most importantly, to share information about the MANNA project to all the visitors of the MEETmeTONIGHT event held at Indro Montanelli’s garden in the heart of Milan.
SESSION WITH YOUNG STUDENTS
This activity took place in the Veterinary Faculty of University of Milan in Lodi for 2 days. The day started with the lecture of Prof. Fabrizio Ceciliani (Supervisor) about the organization and function of immune system and followed by a laboratory practical session. During the practical part, the ESRs guided nearly 200 high school students to perform blood and milk smears and visualize their cells by staining and microscopic techniques. The ESRs answered all students’ questions and showed them the basic good laboratory practices. The students were highly interested and motivated when listening to ESRs experiences on how to work on a laboratory and to be involved in the scientific activities. It was a great way to show young generations how to do scientific work and the impact that these activities have on daily life.
The main MEETmeTONIGHT event was organised at the Indro Montanelli’s garden in the centre of Milan: an event that brought together researchers from all the Universities and Institutes of the Milan area. Given the fact that this event was organised by the European Commission, ESRs were specifically invited to participate in the EU Corner, where all researchers involved were benefiting from European funding and were able to share their knowledge and experiences.
Gabriela and Tamil participated in the “Researcher’s corner” event, where they had a space to introduce about MANNA project, and they shared their experience on their research projects to all the visitors, ranging from children to adults. To do so, they prepared a dynamic and colourful presentation in which they showed that “researchers are ordinary people but with extraordinary jobs”, as the motto of the European Commission for the European Researchers’ Night said.
On the other hand, Xuan was part of the “Questions for Science” session in which she had an opportunity to raise a question of curiosity, engaging the public to a discussion on her research subject. Her question was “Have you ever heard about proteome?” This term is quite new for the public: some people have heard about it before, some others have not, but they all said that this is an interesting field. During the event, we created and distributed MANNA flyers to the public to raise their awareness on our research activities and encourage youngsters on what it is like to be a part of a European Joint Doctorate Programme.
As Gabriela reported: “It was quite satisfactory to be able to participate in this event as it gave us the chance to share our knowledge, our work and goals to all people, but also to show the younger ones that it is possible to achieve dreams when working hard; we, scientists, work hard to make great things for the improvement of the world we all live in.”
To be part of such innovative events is of great importance for both scientists and also for the public. It’s a way to directly interact, communicate and share the knowledge that is being generated but most importantly to encourage the youngest ones to be involved and be stimulated to follow a career in science. For us three ESRs, it was indisputably a very rewarding and valuable experience.
Written by Gabriela Avila Morales, Tamil selvi Sundaram and Xuan Thi Nguyen