HSDC Havant student Lucy Mannie is competing in the Newnham College Biological Sciences Prize competition

March 11, 2021

HSDC Havant first year A Level student Lucy Mannie has been busy this term. On top of her A Level studies in Biology, Chemistry and Maths, she has written an essay as part of The Newnham College Biological Sciences Prize 2020-21 competition.

The competition is open to all girls currently in Year 12 at a UK school or college. Entrants are asked to submit a response to one of three statements. Lucy’s chosen topic: ‘A win-win situation: mutualistic relationships’. Submissions must include all sources, a bibliography and be no longer than 2,500 words. Lucy was drawn to this competition:

“I used to love English and writing and just doing science subjects now I don’t get as much of that as I would like so it is a good way to draw in all of my interests.”

Lucy explained how she chose her topic,

“Of the three topics, one was quite ethical but I was interested more in the solid science so I went for ‘mutualism’. I’ve followed the story of a mutualistic relationship from start to finish so I started with what kind of relationship can you start with, a parasitic or a predatory relationship, and how that evolves into a relationship that can benefit both organisms. I looked at the diversity of mutualistic relationships and how humans can be in true mutualism, and the breakdown in mutualism – how it can return to parasitism and the efforts some organisms make to stop that happening to maintain a relationship that is beneficial to both organisms.”

Guidance from her teacher has been invaluable for Lucy:

“It was really helpful as this was not something I’ve ever done before. It was really great to have someone who knew about it to reassure me and say ‘yes, you are on the right track and here are some constructive pointers.’”

Researching and writing the essay for the competition has helped Lucy focus on what she wants to study in the future,

“It has definitely been beneficial to explore a bit of everything and, in terms of research skills, it has definitely shown me that I’m interested in research. There is a lot you can learn from other people and that is how you forward science, looking at what other people have done and drawing your own conclusions.”

Lucy hasn’t completely made up her mind on what she wants to study at uni but she is currently focussed on Chemistry with a few Earth Science modules slipped in.

“All my teachers are really good this year. I really love the content but it does help to have a super organised teacher who really knows and loves their own subject.”

We wish Lucy luck with her entry and look forward to finding out how she has done.

Click here to find out more about A Levels on our Havant campus.