Katrina Zalokoski

Choosing the University of Plymouth was one of the best (and most important) decisions that I have made in my life. 

I chose to study by the sea in a city that has lots going on for university students as I really wanted a fun social life as well as a well-regarded degree. I would say that I achieved both and had the best time at university. 
Aerial view of Plymouth Hoe
The chemistry course at the University of Plymouth is very hands-on and laboratory based which gave me the experience that was necessary to thrive in industry. 
I gained extremely valuable skills in a wide range of instruments and equipment that undergraduates sometimes don’t get a chance to work with at some other universities. This really enabled me to integrate easily into an experienced team in the workplace.
When I started university, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do in the future. The course at Plymouth enabled me to understand which aspects of chemistry I enjoyed the most and then apply for those jobs upon graduation. 
We spent a lot of time in the lab and I realised this was my favourite place to be.
Katrina zalokoski
Katrina zalokoski
Katrina zalokoski and Tantoo Fox
Katrina Zalokoski
Tantoo Fox, Dr Hayley Manners and Katrina Zalokoski

My experience with academic staff at university was very positive. My personal tutor was always happy to schedule a meeting if I needed extra support (course-related or not) and the lecturers were very approachable and helpful if anyone was struggling. 

During my time at university, I was a member of the Chemistry Society (ChemSoc). This group organised social events such as pub quizzes and also events that were relevant to helping in future careers. One of these events included an evening where members of staff spoke about their journeys to get where they are which was extremely eye-opening and inspiring. These members of staff were also very open to questions and happy to engage with the students.
Near the end of university, I started applying for jobs and had lots of support from the careers team. I had sessions with the appointed ‘Chemistry Career Professional’ and she went through my CV and together we improved it and made it more like a scientific CV (as I had never written one like that before). 
This was really helpful and gave me more confidence when applying to jobs.
In my first week at University, I went to a ‘welcome event’ in the graduation tent on the Hoe and then exactly four years later I graduated there. 

There was a moment, on graduation day, where I looked back on how far I had come. 

So, my favourite memory was graduating on the Hoe in the sunshine with all my friends and family, as it really brought all the memories from the past four years together. 
Katrina Zalokoski

My years studying in Plymouth were some of the best years of my life. The university was very social and had a community feel on campus with lots of sports clubs and societies to be a part of. When I finished my course, I felt that I was ready to go into the world of work with confidence, which is an extremely important place to be at the end of university.

I have moved back to Bristol and have been working as an Analytical Development Scientist at a pharmaceutical company. The job consists of developing pharmaceutical drugs into a specific dosage form. 
I am really enjoying my job and am using the skills that I gained over four years of study in ‘the real world’. 
In my current job, I get the opportunity to be part of a team that really makes a difference in people’s lives - and that is always something I strive to achieve in my career.
The dosage form that I help to develop is orally disintegrating so it helps people who can’t swallow traditional tablets to easily get the medication that they need. This makes my job very rewarding, and I feel proud to be a part of it.
test tubes