My placement year was an amazing opportunity which has now opened new doors and paths for me

Ioanna Bezirtzoglou
Ioanna Bezirtzoglou
Placement Organisation: Roche
BSc Biomedical Science with a Year in Industry
Ioanna spent her industrial placement year working for healthcare giant, Roche, in a non-lab science-based role. Ioanna was able to shadow teams and work on projects that interested her whilst being pushed out of her comfort zone to pursue her own personal and career development.
Ioanna Bezirtzoglou

What made you decide to study biomedical science at Sheffield?

It was very important to find a course that is right for me, after searching and looking at various programs I decided on Sheffield’s Biomedical Science course. 

First of all, I was attracted to that course by the breadth of choice in courses to take, ranging from stem cells to neuroscience. I was also very interested in forensic sciences, and it was one of the only courses offering a module of forensic anatomy which instantly differentiated this course to others.

Furthermore, testimonials and talking to students doing the course reassured me it was the right course for me with an emphasis on lab work and research as well as developing my writing and oral skills. It also helped me a lot to know how international and diverse Sheffield was as well as the amazing student union and student life.

Sheffield is a great city for university, combining nationalities and cultures, great courses and support as well as a vibrant city full of activities!

The university has also been an amazing place to do some part time work, volunteering or extra-curricular activities to give you opportunities to become a better version of yourself through new hard or transferable skills.

What are you enjoying the most about the course?

What I love the most about the course is the diversity! From year to year, we get more and more choices to customize our course to our interest both through taught modules and lab experiences. I honestly believe this allows us to explore ourselves and understand better what future career path we want to take.

What skills have you developed during your course?

I have had the chance to ameliorate and perfect many skills. More importantly for me, was to learn how to write essays and present. Those communication skills began crucial to me and elevated my work, my projects and how I communicate with people and teams.

I have also learned a range of laboratory skills from PCR, electrophoresis, fluorescent immunostaining and R coding. It is a truly well balanced set of skills I have been able to learn that I can take with me for any future course or job.

Where are you on placement and what was your role?

I was enrolled on a science-based internship but non-lab. I was a Biosample Operations Associate, part of the Pharmaceutical Science team in the Pharmaceutical Research and Early Development (pRED) department at Roche. 

What sort of things are you doing on your placement?

My responsibilities range from supporting clinical projects and study biosample specific metrics, coordinating communication with both internal and external stakeholders and vendors, oversee maintenance and application of different internal tools and platforms that support biosample management activities and the team, to participating in site wide events and projects. 

On top of this, I was able to get involved in a lot of extracurricular activities like STEM volunteering, running the book club, part of the Science Industry Partnership, attending conferences, organizing wellbeing days, hosting events like pRED Awards and visiting the HQ in Basel, Switzerland.

What skills have you learnt from your placement?

My skills and knowledge from this placement allowed me to evolve my:

  • Planning and organization skills to manage multiple priorities
  • Communication skills to being supportive and inclusive in a collaborative environment
  • Professional, reliable and team-oriented focus and outlook
  • Agile mindset in a continuously changing and evolving world and industry
  • Development areas and taking actions towards improving and keeping aware of my strengths and how to be use them in my day to day work

What have you enjoyed most about the placement year?

I enjoyed my freedom the most. I had a lovely team to work with, which were very flexible to assign my projects I was interested in and pushed me out of my comfort zone to pursue my personal and career development. I was able to network and shadow some great teams, I was able to accommodate my work life into my personal life effortlessly as well as feeling supported, encouraged and loved which allowed me to grow tremendously and achieve future goals of mine!

How do you think the placement year will help your career?

I have been able to mature and understand the pharma industry so much better and in depth. I believe it was an amazing opportunity which I had, which has now opened new doors and paths for me. I have also been able to extend my network and meet people from many different teams and labs, gaining new knowledge and being able to make a more informed choice for my culture career.

What would you say to a prospective student considering studying biomedical science at Sheffield?

My advice would be to talk to students on the course and to be able to get a real understanding of not only the course but also how Sheffield is different in delivering this course.

On top of having amazing professors and lab personnel, the university has an astonishing network for support, like the Peer Assisted Study Scheme (PASS), as well as a great student enriching life like societies!

It is a very well rounded course in a great city and environment! Experience Sheffield, visit the university, talk to students to be able to get the full picture of Biomedical Sciences at Sheffield!

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