Ipswich High School for Girls: 2012

Thank you so very much for giving such entertaining talks to such a wide ranging audience. There has been a real buzz when people have spoken to me about how much they enjoyed your talks. At the 4.15 one they commented on how many different conditions you touched on, how you cleverly introduced the science and social implications, and people were clearly fascinated at what you put yourself through when making these programmes! I must say one of the best sights for me was the entire spectrum of facial expressions from entranced to sheer horror in the audience!

I am glad that you also enjoyed your day; we certainly enjoyed your company and your raw enthusiasm and genuine empathy for the victims of these pathogens and parasites, not to mention the refreshing way in which you talked about parts of your anatomy that are rarely discussed with such frankness!

Eggars School, Hampshire: 2012

After your fantastic day of shows for us at Eggars School (Alton Hampshire) last year we would love you to come back and do another full day of shows + the evening for us if this is possible. Our pupils were amazed and spent weeks discussing the areas covered in your shows. I would be aiming for science week 2012 would be best for us but as before we could change to suit you.

St. Georges, Ascot

Hi Mike,

I hope you are well and very busy!!

My Upper sixth are just beginning to receive their offers for Uni and I wanted to contact you for 2 reasons.

Firstly, I wanted you to know that the girls still talk about you and your lecture which they found inspirational (seriously), but more importantly I wanted you to know that some of the Upper Sixth mentioned your lecture in their UCAS applications as a part of the reason they wanted to continue to study Biology. ****, who is dyslexic but a wonderful student, talked about your lecture on parasites in her statement and has now been offered a place at Glasgow to study Biomedical Sciences on very reasonable grades, which is unusual. She only started Biology because she couldn’t think of anything else to do as a fourth A level ... how cool is that. Also I have now one student who has an interview for Vets at St John’s Cambridge and another who has an offer from Kings to read Biomedical Sciences. They have both told me that they found your lecture fantastic for lots of reasons. **** (Cambridge) read “Animals without Backbones” after the lecture because we talked about the Platyhelminthes which followed on because you had ignited her interest in parasites.

I can hear you saying that this not down to you, but you have to realise that you have played a major role because you were a scientist with whom the girls could identify with and they watched your programme on Parasites.

Secondly, I wondered if you were free at any point, would you please come again. This time I would ask you to either deliver two slots of lectures or to perhaps suggest someone else that I could approach who might have the same relaxed and rather passionate down to earth view of their subject that you have.

Ipswich High School Bulletin

It was a thoroughly entertaining and extremely informative talk, eliciting from the audience the whole gamut of emotions from revulsion, fascination, amusement and horror to pity for the victims’ suffering as a consequence of the parasites described so vividly by Mike Leahy. Graphic imagery interlaced with anecdotes and personal observations had us all literally squirming in our seats but it was also an experience that made me appreciate how lucky we are not to have to lived in this country with the ever constant threat of such devastating parasitic infection. I also made a mental note never to go swimming in the Amazon and to wear boots at all times when travelling abroad.

Science Live Rating - Reviews

- Liselle Dixon - Rugby High School and Ashlawn School were pleased to welcome Mike back to our 2nd Science Festival. He gave fantastic, interactive talks and was as popular as ever. We always look forward to having him back, many thanks again Mike. Kindest regards Liselle and Rosanna.

- Neill Stannard - The Academic Society were treated to a very lively lecture from Dr Mike Leahy. He is an Oxford University Scientist who wanted to be more active and to spread the message about the issues that confront the majority of the world’s population — deadly diseases and killer bugs! By spreading the messages he aims to raise awareness and provoke governments to invest in programmes to combat the problems.

His talk was very interesting and we got to see gruesome images of the effects on humans.

His main point was that although the death toll was astronomical but still relatively easy to count, the people who were affected by disease and had to continue to live with it in extreme discomfort was far higher.

Dr Mike was an inspiration and I am sure he has turned the heads of many of our top academics in regards to how engaging real science can be.

- Haybridge High School and Sixth Form - Outstanding, HIGHLY recommended! Pupil feedback says it all ..."The presentation opened my eyes. Parasites are truly the most horrendous creatures in the world." “I found Dr. Mike Leahy's presentation very interesting. It was a lot of fun, I learned so much and it's changing my views on crocodiles and sharks. I found I was able to sympathise with the victims, especially the polio victims, it makes me appreciate how lucky we are and how important it is to find a cure. I would definitely do the presentation again." "I have always wanted to work with animals and he inspired me more to follow that path. It was REALLY amazing and I would like him to come in again!"

- Karl Palmer - We hired Mike as part of our science week where he delivered a variety of tailored workshops across KS3, KS4 and KS5 Curriculum. The workshops engaged and entertained pupils as well as generating lots of discussion around the school. Mike's approach to the topics really helps to enthuse students about science and I would highly recommned him to any school or function.

- Liselle Dixon - Mike Leahy was one of the most popular presenters at the Ashlawn School and Rugby High School Science Fair held July 2010. He amazed and entertained students of all ages in both large groups and on a smaller more personal level. His open and friendly approach combined with a wealth of experience makes him totally engaging. We look forward to inviting him back for further events.

- Dawn Taylor - Mike made a great presentation to our home educators group in Oxford in March 2010, totally unphased by the mixed age range (5-17 yrs). He engaged everyone in the audience, and took us on a journey from understanding biodiversity in its broadest context to the detailed specifics of parasites and pathogens. A lively and entertaining talk packed with real live science! Highly recommended.

- Marian Tomlins - Mike visited our school and gave a fantastic presentation to all year 5 and 6 pupils. The children were enthralled (even though there were some pretty gruesome photos!). Our year 6 pupils didn't want to go out to break! Mike made the difficult language very accessible and responded to all comments, no matter how irrelevant, positively. His talk really enlivened our project on micro-organisms. It was lovely to sit and learn alongside the children.

- Clare Brown - Dr Leahy was absolutely superb! An excellent lecture / presentation was given to our pupils over a lunchtime, with all ages being present! He completely engaged the audience, with wonderful explanations and images of what work he has achieved through his current SKY TV series, and his previous work. All the pupils, and staff, are looking forward to him returning in March. I would throughly recommend Mike to visit any schools. Sixth Form students would find him particulary interesting.

Burford School

Your talks were outstanding and you had a fantastic way with the kids. Some of my class yesterday emailed me comments for the newsletter, and a cover class also jotted some down. I've copied some below :-)

Lovely to meet you, looking forward to the next time!

Cathy (Haybridge School): The presentation that Mike Leahy gave us was really interesting and we learnt a lot from it. I think it was really good how he got us all involved and asked us what we thought and our opinions. The pictures he showed were really disgusting but good and he explained everything really well. He was also quite funny and weird, but didn’t hesitate to tell us all the disgusting experiences and things he’d done. He was also really clever and knew a lot about all the different viruses / diseases but explained it in an interesting and fun way so that we could understand it more easily.

Amelia Church: I really enjoyed yesterday because it was really interesting. I thought that the presentation was really good and I wouldn’t have minded if there were some gorier images. He involved the audience really well and was very confident. He explained all of the different viruses you can get. He was really funny and crazy but in a good way, I think he has a lot of guts to go and put all of the viruses into his body not knowing what is going to happen, I wouldn’t want a tapeworm to be swimming around in my body.

Eliza Hall: I thought that the presentation was really good and we learned a lot from the pictures. He explained all of the different viruses and their effects really well.It was good how he got some of the students involved with answering the questions and asking their views. He was quite funny and a little bit mad in a good way :) He was brave to go and put all of the different things in his body just to see what would happen even if he is putting his life at risk.

Lakshmi Sisodia: My thoughts on yesterday are that it was very interesting and funny at times. It was very interesting listening to all his adventures. he seems like a cool brave guy. The funniest bit was the 4 end pictures.

Tom Smith: The assembly was really good and was exciting looking at the world in a different way. I wouldn't eat a tapeworm because I think it's slightly crazy.

Callum Shakeshaft: I thought that the assembly yesterday was fantastic! I was amazed by some of the stories and experiences he shared with us. I learnt a lot about viruses and illness a lot of people in the world suffer with. Illnesses that are life threatening and don't even seem like it's possible to have. But he let us experience and learn these things which means we can help those people that are ill and make a difference :)

Sophie Harris: I thought the presentation on the pathogens and parasites was very good, it opened my eyes to how deadly they can be and how many lives they could destroy. Parasites are truly the most horrendous creatures in the world. I found the tapeworms the most interesting, how they function and survive.

Teddy Taylor: I thought the speech was very interesting and made me a lot more aware about what horrible things you can catch! It was really gross at the part where the worm came out of his eye but it made me understand what worms and stuff can do. I'm not scared about them because I will never eat raw meat or be bare-footed around toilets and I wouldn't have done that before the speech. I learned a lot because I didn't know very much about organisms and stuff before. I now know what my brother means when he says I have worms because I'm hungry all the time! I would like to learn more about organisms and stuff but I wouldn't try to get the illnesses and stuff for myself; I'm not brave enough! I was surprised at the picture of the tapeworm because it was so long!

Eleanor Price: I thought it was very good and gory because it shows you how other people are in the world and teaches you to be grateful how you are. The most disgusting bit was when the fish went up the man's penis.

Bobbi Sandhu: I found Dr. Mike Leahy's presentation very interesting. It was a lot of fun, I learned so much and it's changing my views on crocodiles and sharks : ) I found I was able to sympathise with the victims, especially the polio victims, it makes me appreciate how lucky we are and how important it is to find a cure. I would definitely do it again.

Harry Warner: Really fun and interesting, but at the same time disgusting! I learnt a lot of new things and it has made me want to find out more!

Jack Turner: Mike was a very interesting man and I enjoyed listening to him. The things he showed us really made me feel very lucky for what I have! I learnt a lot from him that I definitely won't forget! I would like to find out more about the subjects, but learning about different diseases is right up my street. All I can say is 'wow!', oh and 'thank you very much!'

Hope Stanton: The talk was educational but enjoyable. While some parts made me feel a bit queasy, I still learnt a lot! I found it interesting, how he explained what and why he took part in these things too. I didn't realise before yesterday the different life-threatening illnesses and viruses in the world. They kill so many people and I think most of us didn't even know about them and what they did. I would never want to do anything like he does, but would like to find out more about him. It makes you realise how lucky you are, knowing about the widespread diseases and illnesses in the developing world even today. Even though I am scared of snakes, spiders, crocodiles, etc, I would rather get bitten by one instead of suffering from malaria / leprosy, if it came to it!

Chloe McCairn: I thought that the talk was really interesting and I enjoyed listening to it. I found some parts gory, like the worms! I learnt a lot and was pleased to find out that not much of it happens in the UK! I think I might still be scared of spiders, though I would like to find out more maybe.

Sophie Hancox: I thought that yesterday was really good. I don't think it was that gory, but I'm used to seeing birds of prey eating. It really did open your eyes to the dangers that microbes cause. I have always wanted to work with animals and he inspired me more to follow that path. I'm still not sure what's worse - an assassin bug or an angry Siberian tiger. It was really amazing and I would like him to come in again.

Guy Reynolds: The assembly yesterday was great!!!!! I thought he did well and didn't go over the top and he has inspired me to read more of what he was talking about. I got the hint he is mad. Making himself do all those things to him, he must be mad.

Charlotte Pearman: I really enjoyed the presentation, the information was very interesting. I was fascinated that things so small could cause so much hurt and pain. It made a lion look pathetic and helpless. I would love to find out more about the viruses, bacteria and parasites and would think it would be an extremely interesting career to go into.

Anonymous: I really enjoyed the presentation. It showed us the dangers of these miniscule creatures and what disgusting things they can do. I think he is a crazy person but he does it to inform us which is a good reason to nearly kill himself.

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