Big dreams come from small beginnings. And that’s what Albania born Ergi Hoxha believes, especially since her much-loved affiliation with the RSC started from something as simple as a Google search.
“In Albania, there aren’t many opportunities for chemistry,” says Ergi. “There is only one faculty for science at my university, and the space is shared by students studying chemistry, biology, computing, maths and more.
I love chemistry, and so I have always done a lot of extra research online to share with my friends and family. One day when I was researching, I stumbled across the RSC website and I remember being so excited by it, and the fact it was international, that I registered to become a student member immediately.
Ergi is currently studying for her Master of Science in Secondary and Higher Education at the Faculty of Natural Sciences in the University of Tirana. Before this, she completed her Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, which was where she found a real passion for teaching.
“In my second year of university, I was able to take part in my first teaching internship to share chemistry with other students. It was with the European Language Center in collaboration with the European Youth Council. As part of the internship, I was able to prepare 20 instructional videos for YouTube that described all the different types of chemistry to students, including organic, inorganic, physical and more.
“My second internship was at the Cosmo Language Center, which works for engineering, medical and natural science students. I was a chemistry lecturer there, and I feel like it really supported me with my studies. I always try to aim high and take on as much as I can, making sure I work hard so that I can achieve my dreams.”
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With both internships showing Ergi that she is capable of doing anything she puts her mind to, she began her Master’s degree. “There’s a lot of research and a lot of big scientific projects going on across the world. It can be hard to know where to find all the information. But the RSC has really helped me with researching for my Master’s project – the Education website in particular has been great! I check it every day and I’ve learnt so many new things. And the Education in Chemistry magazine is so helpful. Actually, it is my biggest dream to write for it one day. For now, I’m making a difference to other students in Albania through my Instagram page of chemistry resources.”
Always eager to learn more about chemistry, Ergi has started attending RSC conferences, which has even resulted in some further research projects. “Last November, I went to the international conference on applied chemistry in Berlin. And in August, I attended another Zoom conference for teacher education, which I found very useful. I actually sent some project work to them and they liked it so much that I now have a big project going on. You can actually find my work on Google, which is really exciting!”
As part of this project, Ergi has been doing further research into ibuprofen uses, side effects, warnings and dosing, while also exploring why gene editing works. She is hoping to attend further international conferences, with a conference in London her ultimate goal.
Since registering to become a student member with the RSC, Ergi has found more opportunities to help her get started in her career.
When I first registered for student membership, it helped me to secure work experience. Simply being a member has already helped so much with work experience, I am excited to see in what other ways it will positively influence my career.
When Ergi finishes her studies, she is hoping to become a chemistry lecturer and complete a PhD. “I’m actually already a chemistry lecturer for secondary education students. But you can’t teach higher education in Albania until you’ve completed your Master’s, so for now I’m working with higher education students as a volunteer within my faculty. I love helping other students and colleagues to understand chemistry.
“Joining the Royal Society of Chemistry has been a big and beautiful thing. It has helped me to learn chemistry in English, understand research, and put me in contact with the kindest, most supportive people. The ability to learn chemistry in English has given me an opportunity to discuss chemistry with people all over the world.
“I want to keep climbing up the membership levels and even go for chartered status one day. I love knowing that when I share things from the RSC, it enables others to see the possibilities chemistry can bring and the opportunities that are out there for you.”