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Focus on the future: postgraduate student profile

As part of her Biochemistry undergraduate degree at Manchester, Jemma (MSc History of Science, Technology and Medicine) undertook a year-long industrial placement at the University’s Manchester Museum. The experience changed her focus from science to the history of science, and helped her choose her future career.

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On studying at Manchester

"I really like the department I’m in; everyone goes out of their way to help you. It’s such a nice atmosphere to work in. I’ve learned how to research archives, how to develop my own arguments and work with more cohesive, original works.

"I really love Manchester Museum – I’m slightly obsessed! I changed everything because of my industrial placement there."

On creating her future

"I've done a number of things to help me work towards an academic career as a historian of medicine. I attended a course in London run by the Royal College of Physicians and met some people working in my field. I’m working on a co-authored paper with a recent PhD graduate, an aspect of which I am presenting at the annual British Society for the History of Science conference later this year.

"I'm also learning Chinese as I eventually want to examine the history of China’s material medica; there’s a relevant journal in which they release the abstracts in English but the articles are in Chinese."

On extra-curricular activities

"A postgraduate degree is definitely a lot of work, so it’s important to take some time out. I go hiking quite a lot. I was on the committee of the University’s hiking society, which taught me problem-solving and planning in advance. I got really good at multitasking.

"It’s also useful to do other extra things. For example, there are seminars you can take outside of your course with external lecturers and other PhD students – great for learning other topics, and seeing how other people present."