Students’ experience of HPPS
Let me tell you about my experiences in the Honours Programme of Pharmaceutical Sciences. As a third-year Pharmacy student, I have already done some interesting project within the HPPS. The first big project in which I participated was evaluating and improving the lab experiments in the Pharmacy course FA-BA101 ‘’Inleiding in de Farmacie’’. Therefore, we set up some new experiments and developed new teaching materials, such as some exercises for the students and a corresponding teacher’s guide. When the course was given to the new first-year students, we assisted at the lab, and afterwards, we evaluated the lab days with the teachers. I learnt a lot from this project. Another project I worked on for upgrading the course FA-BA203 ‘’Neurologie’’, was making our own educational movies about different neurotransmitter systems under the supervision of the course coordinator. This was a very interesting project and resulted in very professional movies, which are now actually used in the course. Some students who just followed this course told me that the movies were very helpful, which is great to hear, and I really like to see that our products are actually used in the course. For the same course, I am now, together with some other students, developing new article sets for the literature assignment. I also upgraded the course FA-207 ‘’Voeding’’ by developing an extra assignment for bonus points for the new students. In addition, I have organized a thematic event about autoimmunity together with two other students. I believe that all update meetings and thematic events I have attended were very interesting since we get to learn a lot about subjects which are not part of the regular courses. Last but not least, I just started working on a Bionespresso project with some other HPPS students.
Besides the projects we do, HPPS organizes multiple symposia, interesting excursions and relaxing social events, by which a close bond between all HPPS students is created.
Altogether, the Honours Programme has offered me some great opportunities to get an extra challenge and to participate in several projects of great value. I really appreciate that anything is possible within the HPPS.
When applying to study at Utrecht University I did not intend to stay within my comfort zone. Moving abroad was just one way in which I thought I could push myself to achieve my goals. Joining the Honours Programme Pharmaceutical Sciences (HPPS) offered me an opportunity to gain a broader field of knowledge and conduct my own experiments. One of the projects I was involved in was making child-friendly lollipops formulations of an antibiotic – amoxicillin.
Moreover, together with a group of 3 other College of Pharmaceutical Sciences students, I designed the medicinal chemistry practical course, which I was then able to follow as one of the elective courses within the CPS curriculum.
Furthermore, last summer, I completed a short internship at the Department of Chemistry, University of Porto, Portugal, where I screened the blood, urine and hair samples of a group of patients for the presence of heavy metals. The analysis was performed by Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) and was a part of a double-blinded, randomised study on the effect of the presence of heavy metals on the development of neurodegenerative diseases. This summer internship allowed me to collaborate with scientists from different countries which was an unforgettable experience.
What is more, together with a group of 6 other honours students, I organised an international trip to Aarhus, Denmark, in which 90 students took part. Not only did we arrange lectures and workshops at the University of Aarhus but also a lot of extracurricular activities such as a pub quiz, visit to the Art Museum, and to the Museum of History of Science and Medicine. Organising an international trip for such a huge group of students was a big challenge, and thereby allowed me to develop important personal, organisational and extracurricular skills.
Partaking in the Honours Programme offered me an opportunity to stretch myself both personally and academically, which I believe is of great importance regarding future employment.
I can highly recommend joining the HPPS programme to everyone!