Speaker Profile: Dillon

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Name: Dillon Vyas
Course (and Year): 2nd Year Medicine
Presentation Topic: Engagement as a Medical Student

Tell us a little bit more about your presentation.
My presentation first starts with me talking about my involvement in Widening Access into Medical School (WAMS) and my role as an Ambassador for WAMS and the Leeds Medical Education Academy (LMEA) run for Widening Participation (WP) Sixthform students. Then I’ll talk about the research project I did over summer on brain tumours. I’ll finish by talking about my plan for next summer about using my passion for medical research to bring an element of medical research into the LMEA. Also I will talk about my plan to volunteer in the Kilimanjaro Community Support (KiCS) project over summer to improve the health and educate the locals.

Why did you choose to take part in this project / take on this role?
I decided to take part in WAMS because I was a WP student myself and I found attending the WAMS events really helpful in getting a place in medical school so I’d like to return that favour to the medical students of tomorrow. I decided to take part in the brain tumour research project because I’m interested in specialising in Neurosurgery one day so I wanted to gain more knowledge on brain tumours and what science already knows about brain tumours and the uncertainties.

What has been the best part of your student engagement experience so far?
I’ve really enjoyed the brain tumours research project as it gave me an opportunity to network with neurosurgeons and it allowed me to attend the Society of British Neurological Surgeons conference.

What would you say is the most important thing you have learned?
The most important thing I have learned is that research isn’t as straight forward and there’s a lot of trying and failing before you actually get somewhere. You have to spend a really long time looking at your data from different angles before you can actually see a pattern that makes your data clinically relevant and worth presenting at a conference.

How have co-/extra-curricular opportunities enriched and broadened your degree?
The research has enriched my degree because I was able to see the different equipment used for genetic testing in real life and I got first hand experience of the cytogenetics lab. Other medical students have only heard about the genetic testing equipment in lectures. As a clinician one day we will only get results from genetic labs, whereas I’ve seen all the background work that goes into it. Also volunteering at LMEA has helped me understand some of the things taught at medical school better because I’ve had to teach some of these topics to the Sixthform students that attended, for example Basic Life Support (BLS).

How has getting involved in co-/extra-curricular activities at university helped you with future career goals?
Getting involved in research has helped me with my future career goals as a neurosurgeon because the research project allowed me to network with neurosurgeons and attend and present a poster at a national neurosurgery conference. I also got my name and research project title published in the British Journal of Neurosurgery. This will help me get a better insight into neurosurgery and the experience will help me get better research projects in the future.

Why is the University of Leeds such a good choice for student engagement?
The University of Leeds is a good choice for student engagement because there are a lot of research projects you can get involved in no matter what your interests are. Also there are a range of scholarships available.

Why should every student get engaged at Leeds?
You should get engaged because you get experience in different fields and there is a huge range of opportunities available to engage in, something you won’t get once you finish university. You meet incredible people and it boosts your CV and improves your future prospects.

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