Meet our past graduates

We asked some of our female alumni to tell us a little bit about life since they graduated from Animal and Plant Sciences. Here are some of the things they had to say.

Sarah JaggardSarah Jaggard

Primary School Class Teacher, Oughtibridge Primary School

"The biggest challenge was learning how to live independently away from home and make new friends as I was very homesick at first. I have learnt that I can do it if I persevere."

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Laura PollittLaura Pollitt

Research Fellow, University of Edinburgh

"Doing an MBiolSci Zoology in Sheffield was excellent preparation for a PhD in Evolutionary biology. It provided more research skills and I also gained confidence and experience by working in the lab."

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Vanessa Swift

Landscape Architect, self-employed

What is your current job like?

"Brilliant. I work for myself and have a good work/life balance, something that modern working women need to try to achieve. To be a professional and also a mother is difficult because you can't always perform to the best of your ability in either role. By building up my business slowly it is now taking off, as are my children. So, as my children become more independent, I can put more hours in on working."

Is there anything else you would like to share with students?

"Enjoy work, but enjoy your life outside of work. Sheffield was fantastic, from beginning to end. I made so many great friends and the knowledge and experiences offered to me were great. Appreciate every bit of it, as you might be poor financially, but you are rich in knowledge, experience and friendships."

Claire Holder

Teacher of Science and Higher Ability Co-ordination, Yewlands Academy

What is your current job like?

"For a teacher, no two days are ever the same, and this is one of the best (and most tiring) things about the job. Each day is hectic, challenging, but often very rewarding, and lots of fun. It is not for the faint-hearted; you'll either love it of hate it and there are days when we teachers feel both of these emotions. Don't think you'll be working 9am-3.30pm... On a bad day expect a 15-hour shift! However, even when it gets tough, I challenge you to find a job that pays as well with as good holidays! Educating Yorkshire on Channel 4 paints a pretty accurate picture of the job!"

What is the biggest challenge you have overcome?

"My teacher training year was the most challenging thing I have every undertaken. It was both physically and mentally draining, but it taught me who I truly was. I overcame the challenges with pure grit and determination that I had no choice but to succeed. This career is sink or swim."

Helen Dixon

Clinical Lead for Therapy Services and Dietetic Manager, Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

What would you say to your student self?

"I'd say do not disregard careers that require further study. Another two years studying seemed a long time to me when I was considering my career prospects at Sheffield, but it flew by and set me up for a great career."

Is there anything else you would like to share with students?

"Sheffield was a wonderful city to be a student in. I went home most weekends to work and I'd suggest other students try to stay in the city to work, to experience all that the city has to offer!"

Sophie Turpin

Education Officer, Essex Wildlife Trust

How has your qualification helped you in your career?

"A relevant degree was essential for this role. I also undertook a placement year between years two and three and this, being in a relevant role, provided me with the experience necessary for the job and, I believe, significantly improved my application."

Is there anything else you would like to share with students?

"Don't give up! My first graduate job took a lot of applications and a lot of time, interviews and knock-backs... Get feedback from this process. Keep positive and keep going! I did and I have ended up getting my dream job as my very first one, only three months after graduation!"