I want to use physics to help people and make a real difference to their lives

Laura Stephenson
Laura Stephenson
Undergraduate student
Physics with Medical Physics MPhys
Laura is enjoying the combination of physics, medical physics and bioengineering that she gets on her course.

What made you want to study your course?

I was particularly interested in medicine and the medical field but also really enjoyed physics and maths at A Level. I had a passion to combine them together. I found the field of medical physics and completed a three day NHS work shadowing placement speaking to medical physicists. It was a really valuable experience and I decided to pursue it for my degree. It was in my second year of study when I really fell in love with the subject.

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

Sheffield was one of only a few universities which offered a medical physics degree. The course at Sheffield is particularly good as it combines physics, medical physics and bioengineering. At this point I was still looking round unis with medical physics and biomedical engineering, asking loads of questions and trying to figure out what was right for me. Furthermore, I knew that I wanted to be based in the north of England, ideally close mountains. I am a fell runner and love spending time in the Peak District (which I could walk to from my uni accommodation!). I also knew someone at the university who spoke very highly of their time in Sheffield. I loved the students' union and the hub of a campus uni that was still in a green city, with loads of great coffee shops to study in!

What have you enjoyed most about your course so far?

I have loved having the lectures back in person following the COVID-19 lockdowns! I feel that I’ve had the chance to meet people on my course and get to know the academics. I love the approach to student feedback that the department has, which brings immediate solutions and improvements asked for by the students. I have felt supported throughout my degree and I have been able to take my learning into my own hands. I enjoy being able to ask questions and interact during the lectures. I have also liked the lab work and projects that we get to undertake especially the freedom we have to research interesting projects.

What skills have you developed during your course?

I have developed my scientific writing, communication and research skills, as well as academic ability and mathematical toolbox to solve problems. Multiple group projects have enhanced my leadership and organisational skills. I honestly don’t want want to sound like a cliche but this experience really has shaped me and the way I think about problems and the world. I feel a pride and excitement for my work in a way that I haven’t before and I am confident that I have the skills and experience I need for the next phase.

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

Go for it! You will definitely find it challenging at times but it’s so worthwhile. I would particularly encourage other female students to apply, I found the environment supportive and inclusive from fellow students and staff. I wasn’t sure if physics was the subject for me when I applied, but at university I have thrived.

What are you planning to do after your degree?

At the moment I’m not quite sure, I have another year of study left and then my masters to do. However, there are so many options from clinical science to research or even industry. I’m also considering a PhD which a few years ago I wouldn’t be. I have found a real passion for quantum physics and medicine so I would like to be involved in developing new ideas and technologies that can take medicine into the quantum computing future. I want to use physics, the skills I have learnt to help people and make a real difference to their lives.

Undergraduates

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