Tracey Harney

Student spotlight details

The MSc in Nanotechnology for Medicine and Health Care allowed Tracey to continue working full-time whilst pursuing her interest in Nanotechnology. 

'When I found the MSc Nano programme at Oxford, I was focused on working as a full-time faculty member at Bermuda’s only tertiary institution, Bermuda College. I was also spending the majority of my spare time consulting part-time as a naturopathic physician, building a holistic products and services company, performing, and producing music. I formulated and produced a nanotechnology-embedded natural product to address a personal health concern which ended up successfully resolving my issue. This personal experience motivated me to pursue the possibility of formally studying nanotechnology.

'My pursuits in the performing arts kept my life balanced, but I had been working in education and health care for almost 20 years and the possibility for a “renaissance” at almost 50 was presented by way of the MSc in Nanotechnology programme at Oxford, for which I will be eternally grateful. I was excited to find a nanotechnology programme at the graduate level that was accessible to students with a background in biology and medicine, as many programmes required engineering and/or physics degrees.

'This course is structured for educators, business owners, engineers and health care practitioners with the desire to pursue a higher degree whilst continuing their fulltime employment position. It was such a great idea to offer a programme that allows you to pursue a thesis-based higher degree in science without having to leave your fulltime employment. Oxford’s unique programme feature, combined with the support of my superiors at work, allowed me to pursue a research degree in an advanced and cutting-edge field of science.

'Returning to school after almost twenty years in the work force was challenging for me. The highly effective induction process facilitated my swift and smooth adjustment to being a student. Some of the modules required an investment of a great deal of time and effort on my part to bridge some gaps in my physics background. Thankfully, both detailed subject matter of background expectations and recommended readings were provided for each module well in advance.

'When I commenced the MSc in Nanotechnology programme at Oxford, I set my intention to enrich my knowledge base, challenge myself and grow personally. There were so many rewarding aspects about this course that went well beyond the original intentions that I had set. Exploration of the subject matter stands alone as a rewarding experience since nanotechnology is such a vast and fascinating field. Having the opportunity to be lectured by such gifted individuals who are experts in their area elicited a sense of gratitude which made the whole experience transformative. The course assessments were mostly written explorations which were challenging but empowering experiences. I found myself at the beginning of the assignments wondering, “How on Earth am I going to write about this?” Then, upon completing the paper, I would think, “Wow, I can discuss this topic now. I really learned this”.

'The experience that I have had so far has been more fulfilling than I imagined. The courses are very well-aligned with the learning outcomes and, the academic and support staff are extremely welcoming, helpful, and organized. My classmates are fascinating and brilliant individuals from all over the world who share a passion for nanotechnology. Their diverse academic backgrounds allow for a truly interdisciplinary experience, especially during group projects.

'The MSc programme in nanotechnology has restored my interest in scientific research by reminding me that it is such an exciting time to be a scientist. Interests for the future include the pursuit of a DPhil degree, formulation of nanotechnology-embedded natural products and supporting the Bermudian STEM education initiative through nanotechnology education.

'When I found the Oxford MSc in Nanotechnology Programme, it was exactly what I was looking for. Initially I felt discouraged and worried that I would miss the opportunity because Oxford is such a prestigious institution. I am so grateful for the fact that, in the end, I couldn’t resist applying because the programme was so desirable. If you resonate with a Department for Continuing Education programme offering, I recommend that you do not hesitate to apply.'

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