On a temperate September day, I stepped through the Frozen Ark doors in the University of Nottingham Life Sciences building to start my professional training year. Full of excitement and apprehension, I was shown around the offices and laboratory. It was lovely to meet Jude, Ruth, Liaque and Angus who I’d be working closely with, and the other staff and students of the Spider lab. Keen to start learning, I started researching for the writing of a literature review on the key topics of my project. With a good amount of knowledge behind me, it was time to start lab work. Picking up the baton from the previous year PTY student Leonie Dommett, I began investigating the Spider heart practically. Towards the end of the year, the Frozen Ark team went to ZSL for a meeting. Tagging along for the ride, the PTYs were able to look at all the Zoo has to offer, including the Partula snail breeding programme, which was an interesting lesson of Ark history.
Alongside my continuous lab and Frozen Ark responsibilities (including helping the running of social media profiles), the beginning of the year was the time of public engagement events in Nottingham. The Nottingham branch of the Frozen Ark team took our extracting DNA from strawberries powers to the people, attending the Nottingham Festival of Science of Curiosity at two libraries. We also played our biodiversity game with the folks who attended Science in the Park at Wollaton Hall. The Frozen Ark team travelled to London again, this time to visit another of our partners institutions, the Natural History Museum in London. During this informative and engaging day, we learnt all about auditing and curating frozen samples, which helped us start the process of going through our freezers in Nottingham. Before the team transitioned to working from home, I was involved in the publishing of an article about Frozen Ark which was a new process to be involved with. Though my time at Frozen Ark HQ was cut short, I look forward to continuing to participate in future events the Frozen Ark is part of!