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An Aston University neuroscience student has beaten off stiff competition to secure a place on the British Neuroscience Association’s (BNA) inaugural Scholars programme. Tamara Tasnim Wahid, aged 21

from Small Heath, is in her final year of study at Aston University and was one of only seven students from across the UK to be awarded a place on the competitive BNA programme. Tamara was also the only

undergraduate student to be accepted. The BNA is the largest UK organisation representing and promoting neuroscience and neuroscientists.

‘I feel very fortunate and thankful for this opportunity’

The BNA Scholars programme,

which launched this year, was created with the aim of supporting students from diverse backgrounds in neuroscience in consultation with BNA members and others interested in improving representation, diversity and equity in neuroscience.

Rising neuroscience star: Tamara Tasnim Wahid

Tamara said: “I feel very

fortunate and thankful for this opportunity because the BNA team is so supportive. Recently I was encouraged by the team to attend the BNA2021 Festival, which helped me gain an insight into research from neuroscience institutions across Europe. “Also, with guidance and

direction from Aston University’s

Neuroscience Department, I got the opportunity to give a presentation at the festival. This was an amazing opportunity and enabled me to develop skills in public speaking and research dissemination. “Through the BNA Scholars

mentorship programme, I have gained a new support network. This takes away some of the intimidation of being an early

Young musician on song in composers’ competition

A budding musician from King Edward’s School in Birmingham has struck the right chord with judges to win the win the Benslow Music Young Composers Competition 2021. Year 12 student Christopher Churcher won the

18-years-and-under category for his piece ‘Very Early Spring’, which will be performed as part of the Benslow International Concert Series in August. The competition involved applicants from

across the country composing a piece of music for one of five poems on the subject of spring, to be performed by two professional musicians. Five shortlisted composers took part in a

workshop in which they heard their compositions performed by soprano Sarah Leonard and pianist Stephen Gutman, before the winner was announced by the judging panel comprising the two musicians, Benslow Music


president and Master of the Queen's Music, Judith Weir, and chief executive of Benslow Music, Peter Hewitt. On winning the award, Christopher, who is

currently studying Higher Level Music as part of his International Baccalaureate Diploma, said: “Writing for Sarah Leonard and Stephen Gutman and hearing my song brought to life so beautifully was a real privilege. I’m so grateful to the judges for giving such detailed and useful feedback – the workshop was a truly invaluable learning experience.” Dr Martin Leigh, director of Music at

King Edward’s School, said: “Christopher is an outstanding and hardworking young musician and composer, and to win this competition is an incredible achievement.”

Contact: Henrietta Brealey T: 0121 274 3266

Aston student wins scholarship

career researcher, as I get to learn from my more experienced cohort peers. I look forward to the next three years of the BNA Scholars scheme and diversifying my experiences as a scientist.” The three-year scholars

programme aims to build a supportive community through networking opportunities, bursaries and mentorship. The scholars will receive at least

four to six sessions with their mentor each year, free membership to both the BNA and the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS), funding towards attending the Festival of Neuroscience, as well as funding towards the European FENS Forum and other networking opportunities within the association. Gavin Woodhall, professor of

neuropharmacology and co- director of the Aston Institute for Health and Neurodevelopment at Aston University, said: “We are delighted and proud that Tamara has received this recognition, which is testament to her drive and enthusiasm for neuroscience – she is a real credit to our course.”

Hitting the high notes: Christopher Churcher

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