James Lee (BSc Medical Science, 2015)

James Lee, BSc Medical Science

Why did you choose to study here?

I chose to study at Exeter for numerous reasons but mainly its reputation as a university performing world leading research, and for the structure of the course I chose to do. Having visited Exeter several times in the past, I also felt like I could live here comfortably for the 3 years of my degree.

What did you enjoy most about studying here?

I really enjoyed the diversity on my course towards the start, which then became more specific and focused on my interests later on, giving me a good grounding in the basics of science before progressing on to more detailed study of my interests. It was also really enjoyable to live in Exeter as a city not too small, but not too large. I also enjoyed taking part in a few societies and sports during my time here so much so, I wish I had done it more often!

Did you use the Careers Service while you were at Exeter?

Yes the Careers service ran numerous advice sessions throughout the year every year (e.g. constructing a great Linkedin profile), but also some for more interesting skills sessions, such as "Persuasion, Influencing and Negotiating". I also had appointments to help me improve my CV for future applications.

What have you been doing since leaving Exeter, and what are you doing now?

A few days after graduating, I took a (much needed) holiday, but by September I was back at University this time, the University of Bath, to study an Master of Research degree (MRes) in Bioscience, which I am due to finish within the next few months.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

As an MRes student, most of my day is taken up by my research project in the lab. I really enjoy science and my work in the lab, performing experiments to try and identify something unknown, which could improve out understanding of a disease process, or how the human body works in general.

How have your University of Exeter studies helped in your career?

My degree at the University of Exeter definitely helped give me the basic ground knowledge I need for a future career in science, and my final year research project helped develop several useful lab skills I have used and developed since elsewhere.

Do you have any advice for current students wishing to pursue your career?

  1. Experience is king in working as a scientific researcher whether you want to go on to become a research technician, Masters student or PhD stuent. Take as many opportunities as you can during your degree to develop your skills in the lab.
  2. In labs, the organised people tend to be the most successful, something I learnt the hard way.
  3. Although science can feel quite detached from a lot of other degrees, and summer placements are acquired differently, going to careers seminars and workshops during your degree is still worth it.
  4. Science research isn't just about research it's also about educating people about what you found. So take as many opportunities as you can to refine those skills for example, volunteering with local science workshops for children, something I continue to do even now.

What are your plans for the future?

After I finish my Masters degree, I hope to continue in scientific research, as either a research technician or a PhD student

Do you have any tips or advice on being employable?

Consider the Exeter Award and Leaders Award! They are great for developing general skills, which you will still need in science, and is something really good to talk about in job interviews.

As I said above experience is key, and a degree is great but no longer enough for most employers. Try and find some time for other activities sports, societies, volunteering....they are all great experiences, make you look like a more rounded person, and gives you lots of possible topics to go to in interview questions such as "what would you say is your greatest achievement" (because although your degree is tough, they want to hear something else, ideally!)