Current employer: University of Plymouth
Current job title: Laboratory Teaching and Support Assistant
Current location: Plymouth
“Upon leaving university you realise that all options are open to you, which is wonderful. After being guided through school and university, this freedom can at times be overwhelming… take every opportunity you can get: the more experience you have the better. Biomedical science can be a broad subject to narrow down, so it is essential to find what you enjoy by putting yourself out there.”
Tell us about your career path since graduation.
Since graduating from my MSc in Biomedical Sciences I have been taking time to gain work experience through my job as a laboratory TSA (teaching and support assistant) supervising final year dissertation laboratory projects and supporting practicals and other laboratory work. Alongside this I have been volunteering in different departments at Derriford Hospital to gain clinical experience. I am aiming to experience all aspects of laboratory and clinical areas of biomedical science in order to make informed decisions about my next career move.
Has your career path changed since graduation?
I planned to start a PhD right away, having been offered two. However, I decided to take some time to gain work experience and clarify the exact field in which I wished to work, in order to better guide my PhD search. The TSA position arose and I thought it would be a great opportunity. This led to the realisation that I wanted to work in oncological clinical trials, resulting in the decision to volunteer at Derriford so that I could gain clinical work experience.
What is the most difficult thing which you have faced in your career?
Upon leaving university you realise that all options are open to you, which is wonderful. After being guided through school and university, this freedom can at times be overwhelming and making the correct decisions that will benefit your future career is very challenging but also essential. Along with this main challenge, both my TSA job and volunteering have taught me many skills on how to communicate with different people in order to convey information.
What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career?
All of my experiences have been great. In particular, I have enjoyed the responsibility of working within the laboratory and learning the process behind the practicals and projects which I myself undertook during my degree. I have also really enjoyed meeting a variety of people during my volunteering. The key moment for me has been the reward of watching the dissertation students I supervised grow and achieve what they set out to.
What, if anything, would you do differently if you could?
I think that everything has worked out great in order to prepare me for my next career move. I think taking some time out to step back and look at my options was a good plan before jumping into a three year PhD. However, I would say that this is only if you are able to carry on with work or volunteering within your chosen field.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get in to the same line of work?
I would say take every opportunity you can get: the more experience you have the better. Biomedical science can be a broad subject to narrow down, so it is essential to find what you enjoy by putting yourself out there. It won’t just find you. I also feel like completing a masters after my undergraduate degree gave me a lot more confidence and improved all the skills I needed for my career. It was worth all the hard work.
How did studying at Plymouth help you?
There were a variety of modules available throughout the degree for you to experience, helping you to work out which route you wanted to go down within biomedical science. I was also able to further explore this at masters level. I think there were great opportunities available and the lecturers built up a great working relationship with you that continues once you leave.
What is your favourite memory of studying at Plymouth?
The laboratory projects for me were the highlight and also how much support my lecturers gave me. I also have great memories of my participation in a number of societies including cheerleading, dance, choir, and acapella. I have had so many great opportunities, building both career and personal skills, which will aid me in life. I have also made many lifelong friends and working relationships along the way.
Do you stay in touch with other University of Plymouth alumni or lecturers?
Yes, many of my course mates are close friends and we discuss jobs, careers, and help those who went on to further study as well. The lecturers are all really helpful when it comes to your future career plans and are always willing to offer support and advice, so I have stayed in contact. My current TSA position came about through my great working relationship with my MSc thesis supervisor.
Would you recommend undertaking a course with the University of Plymouth, and why?
Yes, because I have had a great experience and outcome. Plymouth is a very modern university which is constantly growing. It is an accepting community, open to worldly views, and looking into the future. There is a great atmosphere at the University and facilities are only ever improving.