Head of Science at Durham Johnston School in Durham.
BSc in Biological Chemistry and PhD in Bioinorganic Chemistry
I decided to study Biological Chemistry at Leicester since it allowed me to keep my options open and continue studying aspects of both Chemistry and Biology. I had enjoyed the welcome I received when I visited the department at an Open Day and thought that the facilities both on and off campus would make my time there enjoyable. Part of my decision was based on the fact that I was going to be moving from a small seaside town in Cornwall to completely new surroundings and I didn’t want to be overwhelmed by studying in a department which was so big that it didn’t provide a good support network for its students.
I enjoyed the mix of subjects I studied, and the modular system enabled me to pick and choose units which best suited my skills. My final year research project was conducted with Dr Martin Harger in organic Chemistry and it was then I decided that I wanted to continue with my research. A good degree from Leicester opens up opportunities elsewhere, but I decided to stay in the department and completed a PhD with Professor Raven in Bioinorganic Chemistry, a time which I enjoyed. A good amount of my time was spent as a demonstrator in the undergraduate labs and it was here that I decided a career in teaching was what I really wanted to do, seeing someone understand a concept properly after you had explained it to them gave me such a buzz, I even enjoyed the marking at the time!
After my PhD I moved to Oxford University where I completed my PGCE in Science. Although my preference is for Chemistry, my background in Biological Chemistry means that I can teach A-level Biology if necessary. I am now Head of Science at Durham Johnston school in Durham, one of the best schools in the North East, one of the stronger points on my application form was the degree I attained from Leicester. We send quite a few students to do Chemistry and science related degrees every year, I don’t enjoy the marking anymore though!
University isn’t all work and no play, the social side of University life was amazing, and I enjoyed being in the halls of residence in Oadby. It is great that you are in a small student village and although you are close to campus, you don’t look out on it everyday, the sports facilities were nearby and there was always a good bus service into the city. During my PhD I worked as a sub-warden in the self-catering halls, a rewarding experience which meant that I was able to learn about many different cultures since I shared a house with many international students.
If I had my time again I would have still chosen Leicester, it’s friendliness and size make it ideal as a stepping stone into the real world, Biological Chemistry isn’t an easy degree by any means, although in this life you don’t get success by taking the easy route.