I decided to do a foundation degree, and Loughborough’s programme was one of the more versatile and broad reaching programmes. I was able to visit the campus and really enjoyed seeing the sporting facilities and the teaching facilities.
I’d always been interested in forensics and got some advice about how to pursue that interest, and chemistry was a natural choice. During my degree I then learnt about how chemistry opens so many doors into other careers, like finance and data science. There is so much that can be done with a chemistry degree, not just laboratory work.
The working partnership between staff and students, its really helped with learning because I don’t feel intimidated when asking questions to my lecturers, and the “open door” policy has been really well implemented.
The STEM Labs were built in 2017 and give us industrial standard laboratories from the start of our degree, which helps with our practical skills and for our careers. Also, the chemistry department moved to a newly refurbished building, with purpose-built research labs, which is designed for students to easily meet with staff. The refurbishment also gave us brand new lecture theatres and seminar rooms which really help with facilitating our learning.
I really enjoy the lab modules because I learn new techniques whilst also applying the theory from my lectures. Labs can sometimes be difficult and don’t always go right, but the support from the technical tutors means that we still benefit and learn from these experiences, which we can take into the professional world.
The department have been excellent in providing academic and pastoral support whenever I have needed it. For example, when I needed help with finding a placement, I was able to get good advice from my lecturers.
I did my placement at a pharmaceutical company called Roche, where I was an Associate Data Analyst, and I worked on several projects, such as helping to bring novel technologies like automation and machine learning into a business environment and helping to optimise the operational data from clinical studies.
I worked with clinical scientists, regulatory experts, business continuity managers and data engineers all around the world. I was lucky to also go on a company conference to Warsaw and worked with my team on the future aims of my department.
Having done my placement, I learnt that the transferable skills from my degree can be applied in settings that I did not expect. For example, being analytical and approaching problems with a scientific mindset helped me to solve problems in a data environment as opposed to the expected laboratory environment. This opened a whole new sector for me to consider, and I managed to secure a role as a Graduate Data Analyst at Experian.
If you enjoy chemistry, then it’s a great course! The staff are brilliant, the facilities are state of the art and the community of students is amazing. If you are scientifically minded but are not sold on chemistry, this degree programme can equip you with skills that can take you into careers that aren’t chemistry based, like engineering, finance, economics and data science.
Campus has a great social atmosphere, with both department and hall events, alongside the larger events at the university level. There are so many societies to get involved with and plenty of sports teams to join, so there is plenty to do and loads of people you can meet along the way.
The sense of community has been important for me, I’ve made friends for life here and I’ve not felt left out at any point. I feel like I belong here and that I have built both a personal but also a professional network that will benefit in my future.