My degree gave me confidence in my physics abilities

Jothi Venkatesh
Jothi Venkatesh
NHS Scientist Training Programme
Physics with Medical Physics MPhys
Jothi completed her Medical Physics degree in Sheffield and secured a place on the competitive NHS Scientist Training Programme, where she is training to become a clinical scientist.

What did you enjoy most about your degree? 

I enjoyed how multidisciplinary the course was. The Physics with Medical Physics MPhys degree covers modules in bioengineering and computer science, alongside the broad range of physics modules offered by the department. 

What are you doing now and how did you get into that role? 

I am currently on the  NHS Scientist Training Programme (STP) in Liverpool working towards becoming a clinical scientist in medical physics. It’s a 3 year graduate scheme consisting of on the job training combined with an MSc in Clinical Science. I applied for it in January 2020 during my final year at Sheffield, and after some changes to the interview process I had a video interview in May 2020. My first year has been spent working in each of the medical physics departments in the hospital (radiotherapy, imaging, radiation safety) to get a feel for what I would want to specialise in. My current plan is to specialise in non-ionising imaging, which includes MRI and ultrasound. 

What did you do for your third and fourth year projects?

My third year project was working on a device that was being developed to calibrate Doppler ultrasound probes, known as the Ring Vortex Phantom. My project partner and I were creating complex flows in a tank of water and filming them to analyse their characteristics such as speed and dimensions. This data could then be used to inform what the Doppler ultrasound probe would be expected to detect. My fourth year project was still working on developing this product, this time trying to characterise the ultrasound beam emitted from a simple Doppler probe in order to inform further work on the Ring Vortex Phantom. I really enjoyed working on something that was of use to others, as it motivated me to get the very best results possible. 

How has your degree helped you in your career?

My degree gave me confidence in my physics abilities, which have been very useful in my career thus far. A lot of my work is self-led, so having this confidence means I have been able to get on with my work without wasting time or seeking help from others. During my degree, I worked with a broad range of people because the Medical Physics component involves studying modules from various departments. This has helped me in my career as now I have the ability to work with people from different disciplines and backgrounds, something which is essential in hospital settings. 

What skills did you develop during your course? 

Scientific skills I developed include mathematics, experimental design, and advanced coding. Transferable skills I developed include report writing, teamwork (from group projects), and oral presentation skills. 

What do you miss most about Sheffield? 

Definitely the people! The department and the city both have a very friendly atmosphere, and there is always someone willing to help you out if you need it. Also, I miss the beautiful stunning Peak District National Park, which surrounds the city.

What would you say to a prospective student considering studying Physics with Medical Physics at Sheffield? 

I would definitely recommend the course because it shows how physics can be used to improve human health - my degree has inspired me to pursue a career in this field. Working in Medical Physics feels incredibly rewarding, and it provides lots of opportunities to perform fun practical work. Also, around 70% of modules in the first three years are in core physics, which means students get to learn about some amazing physics without medical applications. 

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