I loved the breadth of the biology course at Sheffield. Now I'm sharing by passion for science as a trainee teacher

Zara Ulrich - BSc Biology
Zara Ulrich
Now: Science Teacher, Teach First
BSc Biology
Zara chose to study biology at Sheffield because of the broad range of modules available which gave her lots of opportunities to develop skills in the lab and the field. Zara has now begun her teacher training with Teach First and hopes that by sharing her passion for the subject, she'll inspire some of her pupils to pursue a career in science.
Zara Ulrich - BSc Biology

What made you decide to study BSc Biology at Sheffield?

I always loved science at school. After gaining A Levels in biology, chemistry and maths I decided to continue pursuing a career in science, possibly with the hope of going into research. During my A Levels I discovered a real passion for biology because I found it fascinating to learn about the earth and all the life living on it. This encouraged me to study a biology degree so I could develop my existing knowledge even further. I chose to study at Sheffield because there were a broad range of module options, which would give me lots of opportunities to develop skills in the field and in the lab. 

​​​​​​​What have you enjoyed most about the course?

The wide variety of modules available has been the most enjoyable aspect. This has allowed me to select modules that I have been most interested in, and has allowed me to specialise in my favourite sub-disciplines within biology including animal behaviour, global change and human evolutionary genetics. 

What did you do for your level three dissertation? 

After reading a book called Sapiens, I found a real interest in human evolution and began to question the many ways that humans differ from most other animals. One of the primary examples is that humans have a complex form of communication, language and speech, which is unlike anything seen in non-human animals. This led me to wonder how, and why, humans developed this incredible form of communication. After conducting some research, I discovered that there was a controversial issue as to whether changes in the brain or vocal tract were more important for the evolution of human speech. This was the subject of my dissertation. I was grateful to receive supervision from Dr Nicola Nadeau, and was very pleased to receive a first-class mark. 

What scientific skills have you developed during your course?

The main scientific skills I have developed have been to solve problems and think critically.

What transferable skills have you developed during your course?

I have had the opportunity to develop many transferable skills including organisational, communication, analytical and presentation skills. 

What do you hope to do after your degree?

As a graduate from the Class of 2021, I am now embarking on a two year training course with Teach First. I begun teaching science in a secondary school in September. I am extremely excited to be able to share my passion for science with young people, which I hope will inspire some of my pupils to pursue a career in science. I am uncertain whether I will stay in education for the rest of my working career. However, I think it is an excellent next step to further develop important skills such as communication and leadership. 

What would you say to a prospective student considering studying BSc Biology at Sheffield?

I would say that they should definitely take the course at Sheffield. I do not have a single regret about choosing to study biology at Sheffield. The course offers a great opportunity to study a broad range of modules, develop practical skills through lab and fieldwork opportunities, and increase your employability. Additionally, Sheffield is an amazing city for students to be. Everyone is so friendly, there is lots to do and beautiful green spaces with the Peak District being so close.

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