Daniel Humphries - Associate Development Chemist at Chemring Countermeasures

BSc (Hons) Chemistry graduate

Current job title: Associate Development Chemist 

Current employer: Chemring Countermeasures 

Current location: Salisbury 

Daniel Humphries, graduate
Since completing University, I took a part-time job learning to bake in a local bakery whilst applying to graduate chemistry positions. After approximately a month of applications and interviews, I had three job offers. I am now working in research and development as an associate development chemist for Chemring Countermeasures.
The most fun part of my career so far has been getting the opportunity to see the variety of applications of the degree, having tours, and getting hands-on experience in different lab environments, including pyrotechnic and soil labs.
The main reason for choosing this course was due to location. Plymouth is a pretty city, right on the edge of the sea, with Cornwall around the corner. The University is in the city centre with everything a typical city would have within walking distance. This greatly helped the experience as anything I needed was always within arm’s reach.
Landscape of Plymouth Hoe
Plymouth Hoe
The academic staff were all incredibly friendly and supportive throughout all four years and even now as a graduate. This includes checking up on well-being, and encouragement to bring out maximum potential.
The most inspiring aspect of my studies was during my third-year dissertation project. After designing a basis for the investigation, I was given a vast amount of support from my project advisor, other lecturers, as well as technical staff, and researchers. The care and support of everyone around me was incredibly inspiring to maintain the level of attention and detail I gave to the project to produce the best result.
Daniel Humphries, graduation
After graduation, I extensively used the Careers Service to have the best chance in the graduate world and to strengthen my applications. This included, where to apply for jobs, how to research employers, developing my CV, and writing cover letters. This greatly eased the stress of transitioning from student to professional.
My career plan has largely always been down a chemistry route, however, in a very open and undefined manner. During my dissertation project, with excellent technical and academic support, I discovered a passion for research with an environmental emphasis. I have found a great amount of interest in development to make the earth more sustainable. 
My favourite memory from studying this degree was Christmas 2022. The chemistry society hosted a Christmas-themed event in which students, academic staff, and lab technicians gathered in a lab and set up lab equipment in the shape of a tree. Different coloured water-based solutions were then made up in flasks and hung from the tree like baubles. This inspired a sense of togetherness and festivity. 
PALS chemistry Christmas tree creation
Plymouth has prepared me well for the challenges in my career in many ways. For example, there is a large emphasis on problem-solving over arbitrary instructions. This is a vital trait to have with many graduate jobs. Furthermore, the careers service has given support post-graduation to help with finding work.
The main reason I would recommend undertaking a course with the University of Plymouth is the academic staff. They all have so much passion for chemistry and care for students, offering as much support as they possibly can to give the best experience whilst also encouraging them to achieve more than just the base degree. Furthermore, they all have unique teaching styles from lectures to labs, and bring a flare of their own research into the topics they teach on top of the base chemistry, adding a layer of depth to the subject.

test tubes