Attending the 2016 European Amgen Scholars Symposium

Attending the 2016 European Amgen Scholars Symposium

Guest post written by ETH Amgen Scholar Emil Nyerki

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#AmgenScholars Program alumni Emil Nyerki shares his experience at the European Symposium
Thursday, January 12, 2017 - 4:00pm

CAMPAIGN: Amgen Scholars Program


It was a typical morning in the UK: cloudy and a bit cold. We were very tired after the closing party. Some of us left in the early morning, some of us will leave in 2-3 hours. We were emotional. 21 ETH Amgen Scholars, a.k.a Zürich/Basel students. We spent 9 weeks together, travelled around Switzerland, and spent a day in Munich. We are brothers and sisters now.

The week before, we started to pack our luggage. It was hard to leave Switzerland, our new home, but the program was finished. We had to travel to Cambridge, UK. We were curious about the other Amgen Scholars. We were the first to arrive on Saturday and spent a busy, but very good day with the Cambridge Amgen Scholars on Sunday. That evening the other Amgen Scholars arrived and we had our half legion in Clare College (each Amgen site was a cohort, 5 cohorts is a half legion).

In addition to each university’s poster session, we also heard from a several keynote presentations during the two days and my personal favourite was Professor Gerald Evan’s presentation. His main pieces of advice included: “science is passion, not a career” and “never lose your humour.” His style left us laughing for almost a whole hour.

In Cambridge, one of the best (if not the best) free time activity is punting. With wide, flat-bottomed boats, you can travel on the River Cam, propelled by long stick against the bottom of the river. We could choose to have a historical lecture about the colleges, or free time, and of course, we chose the lectures. What we understood in just 10 minutes is that Cambridge has a long history in pranking. From the founding until nowadays, the students constantly prank each other, the professors and other Colleges, or their most vicious enemy: Oxford students.

The symposium finished with a dinner. I totally felt like I was in Hogwarts, with the three long tables along with the main table. It was the perfect time for networking with other Scholars, Amgen representatives or the professors of Cambridge. After the dinner, we had a great party in the Clare College bar. More than a hundred “geeks” in one club. Sounds like a really boring party? It wasn’t! This was our time to relax and dance throughout the night!

The next day was a bad day. Not because we were tired (of course we were), but it was the time to say goodbyes. In just a few days, we made many new friends. We promised each other to keep in touch, and to visit as many Amgen Scholars as we can.

To learn more about the Amgen Scholars Program, please visit and check out the #AmgenScholars hashtag on Twitter. Follow @AmgenFoundation to stay up to date with all STEM-related news from the Amgen Foundation.

CATEGORY: Education