Wellness Week at the UTC
May 4, 2018
Road Closure – June 8th and 9th 2018
May 22, 2018

Life Sciences UTC success – Alumni Case Studies

We like to keep in touch with our previous students to find out how they’re doing in whatever pathway they choose to follow. With exam season upon us, we caught up with some Life Sciences UTC Alumni for tips and inspiration on how to follow in their footsteps.

Hear their stories below and follow us over on Twitter for all the latest on what are current students are up to @LifeSciencesUTC

#ChoseAFlyingStart #BeMoreBaltic #OnlyattheUTC

Name:  David C
Age:   19

Occupation/currently studying: General Engineering, Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology

Why did you choose to study at the UTC? I chose the UTC for the opportunity to study within an organisation that allowed me to pursue my hobbies and interests whilst at College.

What was the most valuable piece of advice you learned from your time at the UTC?   I learned the importance of extra-curricular activities (such as the EPQ) alongside you’re A-levels. In completing my EPQ, I was more easily able to talk about my studies and hobbies during University interviews.

What were your UTC highlights?
I enjoyed daily life at the UTC, the commitment made by all the staff was phenomenal. They really tried to help you out in every aspect.

How has the UTC helped you get to where you are today? The UTC helped me to achieve the grade I needed for my EPQ. The staff supported me in my projected throughout my A-levels and made sure I was able to manage both running simultaneously.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time? I see myself working at Dyson, further ahead in the company than a graduate student of the same age.

What advice would you give to prospective UTC students wanting to follow in your footsteps?  Be honest with yourself, find what you actually want to do. Consider other options besides from ‘Traditional University’ and see further into your potential future. Where will you be in  4-5 years’ time for both options? In which one will you be better off? What matters the most to you? University environment or studying whilst working? These decisions are hard but they can change your outlook on your career significantly.

Anything else you’d like to add? Don’t be dishonest to your interviewer, be genuine, if you are actually interested in the subject you are applying for, it will come out naturally during the interview, don’t force a career/degree choice if it’s not right for you!

 

Name: Bethany G

Age: 21
Occupation/currently studying:
Medicine at St. Andrews

Why did you choose to study at the UTC? I wanted a change from my old school, and the staff I met seemed really enthusiastic about teaching and creating a great school. It also was a chance to meet new people with similar interests.

What was the most valuable piece of advice you learned from your time at the UTC? I think the most significant thing that I learnt was that I was capable of doing the things I wanted to do. I had originally written off medicine, and some inspirational words from staff at the UTC set me in the right direction. So, maybe a bit boring but the most valuable thing I learned was just don’t give up!

What were your UTC highlights? I think that the teachers I had, Mr Doyle and Dr Moore particularly, were fantastic and made my time studying their subjects memorable.

How has the UTC helped you get to where you are today? The UTC gave me some really good placement opportunities that made me stand out from other university candidates; one thing that still impresses is an extended placement in the pharmaceutical industry.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time? Hopefully I will be following a career in academic medicine, maybe doing a PhD?

What advice would you give to prospective UTC students wanting to follow in your footsteps? 

Have a positive outlook and mind set whenever you can! A Levels and applications for jobs/uni/apprenticeships can be incredibly stressful, and you can find yourself being quite negative about the experience, but trying to enjoy each day, and each stage of your education and personal development is so important in any career.

As for applying to medicine specifically, take any work experience you can get, even if it doesn’t seem that relevant, it will all help you both in your application and your future training.

Name: Daniel G

Age: 21

Occupation/currently studying: Currently at the University of York studying Biochemistry conditional place for a PhD in September at the Francis Crick Institute with a joint project with Kings College London looking at how enzymes evolve and develop new substrate specificity. The project is a mixture of Simulation work (so modelling the enzymatic reaction) and experimentally dissecting it with wet lab work.

Why did you choose to study at the UTC?

Facilities mostly, as well as the freedom to experiment with stuff outside the curriculum, then using that to feedback into the learning and highlight/expose alternate views to harder concepts.

Also the work placements were good exposure to industry, I did one at Coda for a month.

I was also part of the first cohort and I liked the idea of helping to establish the college a bit in those early days.

What was the most valuable piece of advice you learned from your time at the UTC?
Taking my time and mastering the basics is just as important as being able to do the hard stuff. I had the habit of rushing a lot and when it came actual exam questions I’d always make mistakes in the questions I had no place making mistakes in, but when it came to the more challenging stuff I’d get them right more often than the simple, filler questions. This has probably made the biggest impact in me, the UTC allowed me to make these mistakes and actually made a fundamental change.

What were your UTC highlights?
Enrichment was really good. I got into Aquaponics with Farm Urban in my first year, but it was only till my second I got really stuck in. The double helix in the lobby was my groups design in first year and I maintained it throughout second year, as well as help run some sessions with the first years. The following summer before University, I did an internship with Farm Urban and we are still on really good speaking terms popping back every now and again to lend a hand.

How has the UTC helped you get to where you are today?
The training I got in the lab helped a lot in my first year and made me feel more comfortable in the university labs, setting me up well for future years. The teaching was good and laid the framework with how I interact with my subject in a light and comfortable environment as well as getting me the grades got into my University of choice.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
I should have finished the PhD at this point but being honest, I have no idea where I see myself in five years and it’s kind of liberating. I just have to focus on my immediate future, as well as moving to a new city and beginning to research my PhD. To me it’s this in-between bit that’s a lot more interesting as I transition from a student to a researcher. 5 years is a long time, and I have no clue what I’ll be doing or what will influence me in the meantime.

What advice would you give to prospective UTC students wanting to follow in your footsteps? 
Outside of the academic environment is just as important as within. No one in the real world cares about your grades that much, they care if you’re a well-rounded individual with experience. So take opportunities to expose yourself to new environments and get hands on experience. As well as some more of the weirder stuff because ultimately that’s what informs what you’re interested in and your decisions. You shouldn’t do a Degree or a PhD you’re not interested in just because you’re getting good grades in it. You’ve got to engage with your subject to really enjoy it.

Name: Adam W

Age: 20

Occupation/currently studying: Hair Consumer Technical Insight Scientist / 2nd Year Chemistry (BSc)

Why did you choose to study at the UTC?

I chose to study at the UTC because it allowed me to access experiences and techniques that I couldn’t find anywhere else. PBL in the labs allowed me to carry out a research project around my areas of interest (The Effect of Vitamin C on the Skins Topography); the research project was based around work experience at Unilever. I would not have been able to get this work experience, or even know about my apprenticeship, without the help of the UTC.

What was the most valuable piece of advice you learned from your time at the UTC?
Always be open to new ideas. Before joining the UTC, I would have never considered an apprenticeship as an option. However, I realised I could get the same qualification I would apply for anyway, with 4 years of work experience in one of the world’s largest FMCG companies- an opportunity I could not deny.

What were your UTC highlights?

My main highlight of the UTC was traveling to India for 4 weeks over the summer with charities, to help build and provide education for Himalayan children. This is an experience that I will treasure and remember for the rest of my life- and at some point hopefully return!

How has the UTC helped you get to where you are today?
Not only has the UTC gave me the education I needed to get my current role. The UTC has also given me experience and opportunities that simply don’t exist anywhere else. The UTC helped greatly with interview skills and preparation before I got my role.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
I will have completed my course in 2 years time, and will apply for a full time role within Unilever. I am also looking into other potential opportunities within the organisation, such as their fast track to management programme.

What advice would you give to prospective UTC students wanting to follow in your footsteps? (do’s and don’ts for example)

Be passionate. Be real. Be yourself.

Know what you want before you apply for it- its better spending more time focused on getting the 1 thing you want rather than 5 that you are split between. Also, do not let failure put you off doing what you want. There is always work-around that you don’t often see.