Hi! My name is Paula and I am a placement student here at Fera Science until next summer. I am in my fourth year of studying towards a Master’s degree in Chemistry at the University of York, and chose to write my final-year research project while working in industry.
Science has always been a large part of my life; I grew up inspired by a mother with a Chemistry degree herself, and older siblings with degrees in Physics, Civil Engineering and Geography – so it was only a matter of time before I followed in their footsteps. I consider myself to be very conscious of the environment we live in and the resources we consume, so, naturally, I was drawn towards studying at the University of York, who offer many specialised option modules in Green, Atmospheric, and Environmental Chemistry.
When it came to applying for placement companies with which we would conduct our Master’s research projects, there were so many opportunities available centred around pharmaceuticals, formulation and materials science, yet, disappointingly, only a handful of placements within the environmental field.
However, a couple of weeks into the application process, our placement co-ordinator announced a new placement opportunity at Fera Science, working with the Chemicals team. I immediately told my friends and anyone who would listen that this was the placement I would love to secure and wrote a covering letter that evening.
I have now been at Fera for the past three months, which have been full of learning opportunities and familiarising myself with Good Laboratory Practice principles. Alongside working on projects for study directors within my team, I am also responsible for my own projects. I am currently researching OECD Guidelines and relevant literature regarding the determination of physical-chemical properties of compounds, working towards designing and bringing these experiments in-house for the first time.
I am very grateful for the support I have received thus far from my team and the time they take to train me in their laboratory procedures, yet I am equally grateful for the opportunity to work independently on my own project. I hope my colleagues are prepared for me to be the one to train them in my own experiments next!