Aaron Brace – BSc (Hons) Environmental Biology graduate

Current employer: ALcontrol Laboratories

Current job title: Microbiologist

Current location: Newton Abbot

“One of the best things that I did at university was definitely undertaking a placement year in Australia; not only did I learn so much and build my CV, but the people I met and the culture I experienced was amazing.”

What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career?

One of the best things that I did at university was definitely undertaking a placement year in Australia; not only did I learn so much and build my CV, but the people I met and the culture I experienced was amazing. There was nothing better than travelling across the globe and immersing myself in a completely new field of work.

Imagine you were about to start university again – with the benefit of hindsight – what would you now tell yourself to have done differently?

Really immerse yourself in the subjects that interest you, because you certainly get rewarded for showing enthusiasm and I only realised this after my placement year. So, I would’ve liked to have done that for the whole degree.

What was your main reason for choosing to study your course at Plymouth? With hindsight how significant was this for you?

The accreditation of the course, the inclusion of a placement year, overseas fieldtrips, and the location of the campus being so close to the sea and the wide open moor where huge factors for why I chose Plymouth and my course.

How did we support you in your studies? If you used any support services whilst at the university how did they enable you to get to where you are today?

Careers and Employability helped me hugely with CV writing. The Student Finance team were also there to offer me financial advice when times got rocky. LabPlus (and the library) were a huge font of knowledge to utilise and really helped expand my interests, helping me in particular with my coursework. Also, the counselling service was an absolute essential lifeline when I went through a bad few months. Overall, the University really did go the extra mile with their services.

How did studying at Plymouth change your career aspirations and plans?

When I started university, I only knew that I wanted to do something in biology. The degree really shaped me into who I am now. As I showed an interest in certain subjects, I was really pushed and encouraged to do as much as possible and as such I am now looking to go into academia.

What is your favourite memory of studying for your degree at Plymouth?

Aside from my placement year, it would have to be the sense of community I felt when in lecture theatres, working in the library, or going out with my course mates – I definitely made some friends for life over the course of the degree.

How well did Plymouth prepare you for the challenges that you have faced, or will face, in your career?

Very well: the variety of skills and abilities I have learned ensures that I am in a favourable position to take on any challenge, and with the support from tutors and lecturers that I received I am very confident in what I am able to accomplish.

Why would you recommend undertaking a course with the University?

I would recommend the University because of the amount of resources at hand, the staff who will truly bring out the best in you, the fieldtrips, and the beautiful location really make it quite a special university to attend.

If you did a placement how did this impact on your short and long term career plans?

Completing a placement year effectively created my career plan. My placement built up a network of colleagues that I am endeavouring to return to in order to begin a PhD. It was possibly one of the best things that I have ever done.

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