- Course: BSc Neuroscience
- Year of graduation: 2016
- Job title: Account Executive
- Company: Evoke
About your course/programme
Why did you choose to come to Leeds University to study your course?
For me, choosing Leeds was a no-brainer to study Neuroscience. The facilities looked amazing and all the staff and students I met were all so passionate and enthusiastic about what they were doing. This really made it incredibly easy to see myself studying there. Everything from the course modules, to the employability options and the university union made me feel so comfortable that I could not see myself anywhere else.
What were the highlights of the course?
My absolute highlight of my course was doing brain surgery on a snail! As part of the second year of the course, we took part in an experiment to take live readings from snail neural ganglia and investigate the effects that various compounds had on the neurons. This was a phenomenal way to put everything we had learned into practice and to get some hands on experience into using the equipment. I will always remember those lab sessions and it is a great story to tell about my course at Leeds.
What were your greatest challenges throughout your degree course?
Juggling everything that was going on was by far my greatest challenge. Leeds has so much on offer for its students and taking part in various internships, volunteering schemes, union societies, employability programs and maintaining an active social life all while obtaining a 2:1 in my academic work seemed near impossible at times. However I don’t regret a second of it.
Did staff support help you throughout your time at university? If so, how?
The staff were so helpful in all aspects of my time at Leeds. My personal tutor was especially helpful and making sure I had settled into my new lifestyle at university and would have regular with me to ensure I was doing alright during my first year. He was also immensely helpful in allowing me to explore my career paths by setting up meetings for me with several of his colleagues in these areas so I could prepare myself in knowing what I wanted to after I graduated.
How would you rate the facilities that were available to you throughout your degree? How did this enhance your experience?
The facilities available to me were second-to-none. Everything from the lab equipment to the teaching to the platforms to help find new scientific articles all helped me throughout my course.
What have you been doing since finishing your studies? What are you doing in terms of your career?
I am now working in Healthcare PR. When I left Leeds I knew I wanted to work in the field of science communication but did not know how to get into it. I was recommended to apply for an internship at a healthcare PR company by a friend from my course a few months after graduating and have stayed in the industry ever since.
What company are you working for, what is your role and what does it involve? If you are undertaking further study, what are you studying and what do hope to use this in your career?
My company is called Evoke and is a healthcare communications company. I specifically work in the healthcare PR department but the company has other departments such as healthcare advertising. My role is an account executive, which is a junior training role that is great for a recent graduate to learn the skills needed. Healthcare PR involves communicating science to a variety of different audiences, includes talking to doctors about medications (either new data or new medication approvals / launches) or the general public through disease awareness campaigns. This is a great career path for those who enjoy working with science but do not want to be stuck behind a lab bench.
Which experiences at Leeds do you think have particularly helped with your career/will help with your future career? (How did your degree benefit your career?)
I was very active during my time at Leeds, and was heavily involved in LUU societies and faculty internships. These were instrumental into obtaining my career as they introduced me to new opportunities and allowed me to expand my skills. My internships included; organising a museum event on dementia, organising a 21 day cross-country roadshow on encephalitis and developing new software for the faculty among others. It was these internships that introduced me to the field of science communication that I eventually chose to work in. I was also a member of the LUU Backstage society, working in over 35 shows over my three years at Leeds. This set me out from other applicants as a unique and memorable component of my CV and allowed me to greatly improve in my skills prior to entering the workplace.
Have you any advice you would offer to current and prospective students?
My advice to students would be to get involved in as much as possible while at university. Everyone comes out with a degree of one sort or another, however it is the other activities (such as internships, societies and volunteering) that will make you memorable and help you adapt to the working world. Being a student also gives you an amazing opportunity to try new career paths before graduating! If you are still choosing a university, remember to look beyond the course modules such as what opportunities you will be offered to help prepare for life beyond university. Both the University of Leeds and the Faculty of Biological Sciences were at the core of me making the most of my time at university and preparing to enter the world of work.
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