Report: KIITE Undergraduate Bursary by Balamrit Singh Sokhal (Medicine)

The following report was written by Balamrit Singh Sokhal, a Year 4 Medical Student in the School of Medicine at Keele University.

What conference did you attend and what research did you present there? 

The Keele Institute for Innovation and Teaching Excellent Undergraduate Conference Bursary gave me the opportunity to present a research poster at the British Obesity and Metabolic Surgical Society Annual Scientific Meeting 2022, held in Brighton. My research focussed on the medical student and hospital consultant perceptions of obesity and bariatric surgery, gathered in the form of a survey. Additionally, I was co-author of other works being presented at the conference. 

What is the most valuable thing you learned from this experience? 

After conceiving this research with my brilliant supervisor Mr Vittal Rao (consultant bariatric surgeon), we worked to create the survey and gained ethical approval. This survey was successfully received by over 200 medical students and 200 hospital consultants. I am thoroughly interested in an academic career and believe it is vital for future doctors to be involved in research in any capacity. Therefore, this work was the perfect avenue to attend my first in-person conference and gain skills presenting to a national audience, expand my knowledge, and interact with experts in the field of the wide-ranging topic of obesity. I was able to gain these valuable skills through attendance at this conference and I aim to build on this experience and improve my skills further. 

How has the bursary and your participation in the conference supported your academic and professional development? 

This bursary enabled me to pursue my interest in academia and maximise the opportunities that were presented to me. This experience allowed me to progress in my pursuit of a career as a clinical academic and build myself into a more holistic student and future doctor. I would encourage any student to make the most of this fantastic opportunity.

What is your top tip for fellow students who wish to apply for the bursary?   

My main advice to students wishing to apply for the bursary is to critically appraise how this research opportunity will benefit your future career aspirations through the skills and experience you stand to gain.