Postgraduate Scholarships
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Name: Monisola Okoro
Nationality: Nigerian
Course and Year: MSc Geochemistry

Tell us a little about yourself
I am from Ondo state in Nigeria and the fourth of six children. My first degree was in Industrial chemistry from University of Ibadan, Nigeria. I did not want to study Industrial chemistry but grew to love it as I progressed and determined to be the best at whatever I set out to do. I developed interest in environmental issues towards the end of my undergraduate study especially as the environmental issues surrounding oil prospecting in Nigeria became a matter of concern. I therefore decided to pursue and environment-related masters degree.

Why did you decide to study at Leeds?
The University of Leeds probably has the best M.Sc Geochemistry programme in the UK so I decided to come here because of the course. Funding was another important factor for me and Leeds offered a number of opportunities.

How did you find out about scholarship funding at the University?
I found out from a friend who had studied here on the British Chevening scholarship a couple of years back. I then went on to check out the scholarship website of the University which contained very detailed and helpful information on the opportunities available. I then applied for those for which I was eligible.

How important was receiving your particular scholarship in your decision to come to Leeds?
My scholarship was quite important in my decision to come to Leeds because the Shell Centenary scholarship is awarded in partnership with the participating schools and of these schools, University of Leeds is the only one that offers the M.Sc Geochemistry course and like I said earlier, Leeds is the best at this program. So it was a good decision because I was getting the course I wanted to study at the best institution for the program with the right opportunity for funding.

What do you like about your School?
I like the fact that independent work and thought is greatly encouraged. It is also great to have lecturers and tutors who are among the best in their fields. The quality of research is fantastic and the school is run with a high degree of integrity.

What do you like about Leeds?
I think I like the fact that Leeds is a multicultural city. I have met people from countries I never even knew existed! It is also a very student-friendly town and that really helped me to settle in, especially considering the fact that coming here was my first time out of my country. I love to take walks and I like Leeds because it is not over-crowded and I can take a nice walk and appreciate the lovely scenery.

What do you think about the training and development opportunities at Leeds?
Very good. The courses run by the Skills Centre have proven to be very useful in helping me manage and organise my work. I consider the resources in the library and the online facilities to be fantastic. Very good help and training are also on hand for use of these facilities particularly for the resources in the library. My research has been made a lot easier by the training courses run by the library on how to use the online resources. The University Careers Centre is also very good; offering support and training for employment on graduation. I have gained a lot from the advice given from developing my CV to tackling interview questions.

How would you describe your experience of postgraduate study?
I must say I have found it quite challenging yet interesting. Looking back now, I can actually see and feel that value has been added to me as an individual. I am able to carry out my work with a greater degree of independence and think about issues more critically.

What are your future plans?
I hope to get a job in an environmental consultancy company working as an environmental chemist/geochemist in order to gain some experience in industry. This I would do for about 2-3 years after graduation after which I plan to return for a doctorate degree.

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