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Chris Jeffs

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Hi, I’m Chris and I am currently a PhD student at the University of Oxford department of Zoology. Before this I went to Oxford for my undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences and then moved to Imperial College London for my masters in Entomology (insects are my favourite!). I hope someday to become a lecturer and continue life as a researcher.

The Magnolia Incentive has truly benefited me in many ways since I became part of it in 2008. For a start, Mandy and Martin gave me the reassurance and encouragement I needed to accept my undergraduate place at Oxford in the first place. They introduced me to ex-Oxford students who were able to dispel the many fears I had about going and put my mind at ease. This to me is a key benefit of the Magnolia Incentive, you meet people who continually advise and support you when you need it. Following their example, I now return to Exmouth Community College annually to talk to post-16 students hoping to apply to Oxbridge and to advise students on preparing their personal statements for university applications.

The financial support the incentive gave me meant I could focus fully on my studies, not having to claw at any working hours available to make ends meet. This extra time and the absence of financial worry was invaluable in an environment that required such intense work and I feel it really benefited my final grades. The support also enabled me to pursue opportunities that previously were not financially possible. For example, in the summer of 2010 I was able to conduct my second year research project in the Andean cloud forest of Peru - without the bursary I could never have done this. Overall I feel the support and opportunities stemming from the Magnolia Incentive grant truly gave me a leg up in continuing in academia.

It’s important to remember that the Magnolia Incentive is not just about financial support, you become part of an ever-expanding community who you meet up with and talk to regularly. You learn from both past-winners and teach new-comers, and this nurturing environment can help you on whatever path you choose to follow for many years. | Martin Gill 07983 478571 | Mandy Parker 07834 771818

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