There's no better place to explore your academic passions and learn things you never knew about yourself

Photo of Alice Marie Nisbet with flowers
Alice Marie Nisbet
Now: PhD student at the Quadram Institute
MBiolSci Biochemistry and Microbiology
Alice loved completing her third and fourth-year research projects in active university labs. She's now secured a PhD position at the Quadram Institute studying Salmonella paratyphi A - the next step towards a scientific career
Photo of Alice Marie Nisbet with flowers

What made you want to study your course?

I have always had a great love for Biology and after studying the subject at A-level, I realised that I was most interested in the molecular side of the subject. The University of Sheffield offered me an amazing opportunity to focus solely in this area, which I could not find anywhere else. The curriculum was exciting and the subjects being taught included both essential knowledge alongside new cutting edge research - thus this course was perfect for a budding scientist like myself.

What made you decide to study at the University of Sheffield?

I visited a great number of Russell Group Universities during my search, and found that in many cases, while the courses were good, the academics I interacted with during the open days were distant and often condescending. However, when I came to the University of Sheffield all the staff were wonderfully friendly, enthusiastic and made me feel as though they truly wanted me join them. Aside from that, the University labs are amazingly well equipped and are consistently producing some of the top research in the country, allowing me to hope that I could be part of something truly amazing. The entire University campus was also beautiful, and hosted a great number of societies to ensure making new friends would be easy.

What have you enjoyed most about your course so far?

During my early years I really loved the lectures and seminars we were invited to participate in that discussed ground breaking research and truly prepared me for the future. However, by far my favourite parts of my course were my 3rd and 4th year research projects. Despite COVID-19, I was lucky enough to complete these projects in active laboratories, studying yeast and Streptococcus pyogenes respectively. Not only did these opportunities greatly expand my biological knowledge and skills, I also found that I was excited for work every morning and was genuinely finding joy and excitement in the tasks I was undertaking - something I had never truly experienced in previous jobs.

What skills have you developed during your course?

My course at the University of Sheffield has without doubt equipped me with all the skills to ensure I will be able to thrive in my future career. Not only have I developed the biological knowledge and practical laboratory skills needed for modern science, I have also developed my ability to communicate my ideas to a wide audience and engage those around me. My confidence in myself has also grown rapidly, allowing me to finally believe that I can truly do anything I put my mind to.

What would you say to a student thinking about studying your course at Sheffield?

I would say: do it! Honestly, I can't imagine having gone anywhere else and I would change absolutely nothing about my experience. I found the University of Sheffield to be an ideal place to study, encompassing state of the art facilities and a friendly, welcoming community. I personally had a lot of worries when it came to moving to Sheffield completely alone, but I soon found friends for life and was supported by staff during every step of my journey. There is, in my opinion, no better place to explore your academic passions and learn things you never knew about yourself.

What are you planning to do after your degree?

I have successfully secured a PhD position at the Quadram Institute studying Salmonella paratyphi A, and I'm extremely excited to get started in September. Following this, I hope to begin a long and fulfilling career in industrial or academic microbiology - with a special interest in bacterial pathogens. There are still many challenges between where I am now and where I want to be, but I am sure I will be able to overcome them all and achieve the life I have always wanted.

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