Mentor Review of the Virtual Summer Programme 2021

Hetty, mentor for the 2021 cohort

“This was the first KAN experience for my mentees, and they threw themselves into it. With high attendance at every session, the students' commitment was impressive, especially considering that many had exams and lessons throughout the school day beforehand. One of the benefits of having KAN online is that breakout rooms meant pupils could choose which talks to attend, from Museum Careers, to a Medicine Q&A. One session, Seizing Opportunities, was delivered by Baroness Sally Morgan. Sally Morgan focused on how education brings independence, whether this is through university or apprenticeships. She also spoke of her journey from a working class background to a varied career, as the chair of Ofsted and a politician. This was really useful to the students, as it showed them that there doesn’t have to be a single route post A-Levels, as apprenticeships are also a great option, and the importance of working hard at school so there are more options available to you afterwards. Professor Nicky Padfield also delivered a session which was about the law, theory, and practice behind sentencing. Many students had not looked at this topic before, so this was a great introduction for them and gave them a fresh perspective. Professor Padfield spoke about the purpose of prison, and how it often fails to rehabilitate. Although we couldn’t meet face to face, the one-to-one mentoring sessions were still really useful in helping mentees to settle in. As mentees had attended different talks throughout the evening through the breakout room system, mentoring sessions provided a great opportunity to reflect on the talks they’d heard. One mentee said how they were nervous about the prospect of KAN being online, but at the end of the week said they’d happily do it again if necessary and this week has made them even more excited for the residential. We are all looking forward to the residential, but the students have made the most of this week to build new relationships with both their peers and mentors.”

Johannah, mentor for the 2021 cohort

“The speaker Alison Giles, from the Whipple Museum of the History of Science, showedstudents a fantastic Victorian Magneto electric machine which was a medical device used to create electricity. With this discussion, students talked about other star items at the Whipple Museum such as Charle’s Elcock slides, William Hershel’s telescope and the Grand Orrery. The students were encouraged to think about bigger picture of these items, which led to great discussions about the ethical consequences of scientific advancements. Some lessons where led by the mentors. For example, Chloe gave a lesson about Feminist Reading in Poetry where students learnt the importance of looking at written pieces through a different perspective. At the beginning of the lesson, the students analysed a love poem where they unmasked the subtle and hidden anti-feminist writing. While talking about the significance of in-depth analysis of past scholars, students were taught to think about our contemporary society and how women are portrayed in the modern world. With this in mind, students collaborated to make their very own poem to champion all the women in their life.

Other talks taught students the different pathways and options they could take in their future. They heard from Pathways CTM, an organisation that helps students prepare for both academic and career endeavours. The speakers discussed the opportunities of degree-level apprenticeships, university life and writing tips for both CVs and cover letters. In this talk, students learnt new and different options available to them, ensuring they understand that there is no ‘right path’ regarding their futures.

One of the most anticipated talks in the week was ‘How to Become a Spy.’ The students were excited to hear from Lord Jonathan Evans as he explained what a career in MI5 really means. Joining MI5 straight after university, Lord Jonathan Evans worked in Intelligence for 33 years and became the former Director General of the British Security Service. The talk began by an explanation of the responsibilities and duties of spies. For example, students learnt that working in Intelligence required a good balance of analytic and personal skills. Additionally, students were able to hear about Lord Jonathan Evans’ exciting experiences of his past cases and the rewarding nature of the job. Students were intrigued by the discussion and asked many thoughtful questions such as the law and ethics involved in being a spy. It was a great way to end the night as everyone had a lot of fun learning about the ins and outs of ‘spy-work.’

The week was an enjoyable experience and we all had a lot of fun learning new topics and opportunities. Despite still attending school throughout the week, students were very enthusiastic and engaged very well in the evening talks. Throughout the week, speakers were asked many insightful questions which encouraged students to explore different angles of the topics taught. Both mentees and mentors had a great time getting to know each other through the 1:1 mentoring and discussing the summer project plans. And now, we are all looking forward to the meet-ups in the upcoming months!”