My name is James and I am in Year 11 at Bishop Stopford School in Kettering. In my free time I enjoy playing the piano (here I am playing “Funk Groove #5 in D Minor” as a finalist for the Woodard Musician of the Year award, which took place on Zoom instead of Birmingham due to Covid-19!) and I am currently attempting to learn Fantaisie impromptu by Chopin over the course of many months since it is very difficult!

I have attended “insight into dentistry” conferences and these have taught me how to succeed with personal statements, how to write a perfect CV and the essential skills of a dentist. They have also guided me through what happens each year when studying dentistry at a university and what volunteering I should be doing. I have learnt that dentistry is a career that requires great care and enormous dexterity which comes with certain physical and emotional challenges too, like precise tasks or stubborn/ rude patients. However, the knowledge I gained from the conference has made me feel much more confident in pursuing this highly interesting career.

During my time at home in lockdown, I took part in the Virtual Covid-19 Innovation Conference where I created a poster along with 3 other students in my group on how dental schools should be delivering teaching during the Covid-19 pandemic. We were also taught by our mentor on how to critically appraise sources of information to assess their reliability so we could apply it to the sources we referenced. The idea of referencing sources was intimidating as I had never did it before, but after the week I found that the large majority of content on the poster had been referenced perfectly. I created my own charts in PowerPoint for use in the poster and we used a very unique, colourful layout to display our research in a way that was both easy to read and informative at the same time. As a consequence of our work throughout the week, our poster was chosen from 36 others, giving us the chance to present at a national conference to over 300 people along with 5 other groups. After the main presentation, we were asked questions about our scenario which my group and I answered together. Before this, I had no idea how to create a professional poster. In contrast, after the week I was able to confidently create and present one and answer questions to do with the topic. This was my first presentation outside of small school research projects and I am thrilled that my group had the opportunity to present at a conference which was heavily dominated by aspiring medical students. As a result, our group was the only non-medical poster selected. As well as developing my presentation skills, I had the amazing opportunity to be educated thoroughly on the Covid-19 pandemic. I gained knowledge and contrasting views from intelligent doctors, like how hydroxychloroquine may be useful as a drug despite the World Health Organisation’s conclusion that it was dangerous.


The conferences and activities I took part in helped me immensely as I had no clue on how to do certain tasks like presenting a poster before. I feel proud and grateful that my team’s poster was chosen, and this has boosted my confidence to present in the future.

Written by James Xiang Yu Ong