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Real life stories behind our Postgraduate Scholarship Scheme

10 Jun 2015

David Pettifer tells how the scheme helped him realise his talents

David Pettifer

The University’s Postgraduate Scholarship Scheme has helped students to overcome a variety of barriers to master's study. In this StaffNet series, we see some of the real life stories behind the scheme – illustrating perfectly just why we do this.

The University’s Postgraduate Scholarship Scheme has allowed David Pettifer to study further a subject he has always enjoyed, giving him the chance to follow a career for which he has a talent.

David comes from what he describes as a fairly poor background, having grown up in housing-association properties for most of his life in a single parent family. He attended a school where “the focus was on keeping students out of trouble.”

“Very few of my school peers attended university and the school did little to help encourage pupils to do so as a consequence,” he recalls.

Supported by a full maintenance grant, David attended The University of Manchester, graduating in 2014 with a First Class Honours degree in Biology.

“I have always been interested in biology and it was something I was good at,” he explains. “In the third year of my undergraduate course, I realised I wanted to stay in academia and work at a higher level of the subject.”

The scholarship enabled David to take up a place on an MRes Biological Sciences, which he chose to increase his chances of progression to a PhD.

He adds: “I was concerned about being able to afford the course. While the scholarship has helped out significantly, I still rely on a part-time job as an events photographer and money from family to afford maintenance costs.”

Now exploring PhD funding, David can see a future in teaching the next generation of scientists and researching evolutionary biology, particularly behavioural ecology or how behaviour has evolved given environmental changes.

“My friends have always said I am good at explaining complex topics,” he says. “I’m looking forward to teaching and research in equal measure.”