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Studying Food Bioscience - Danielle McLean

Danielle McLean
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Why did you choose to study food bioscience?

Initially I intended to start university after completing my HNC Biomedical Science at college however I was still unsure of which course to choose as there are hundreds of great science courses out there across so many universities. I decided to stay at college for another year to complete my HND which allowed me direct entry into 3rd year of my course but also gave me the valuable time I needed to do more research to ensure I made the right decision.

Whilst at college we had many visits from guest speakers from various universities. During one of the visits we learned a lot more about the courses available at Glasgow Caledonian University. Food Bioscience really stuck out to me and caught my attention, possibly because it was the course I knew the least about.

The course itself sounded interesting as did the multitude of career prospects upon graduating. Ultimately, I chose Food Bioscience as the content of the course interested me and seemed like something I would enjoy studying and also because the career prospects are absolutely amazing. At present, many graduates struggle and face harsh competition for jobs in their field however within the food industry there is a real shortage of graduates and so jobs are really in abundance.

What has been the most rewarding part of your university degree?

There have been so many parts of completing my degree that I found rewarding. I think the most important thing for me personally was proving to myself that I was capable.

I am a young parent with a heart condition who also works full-time so to end up not only achieving a first class honours degree but also being chosen for this award really is such a huge achievement. I really owe so much to my partner and family for giving me the much needed support throughout my studies and for encouraging me to keep going to get through the difficult parts. Completing my degree has given me so many valuable life skills such as effective time management and shown me the importance of organisation. However, the most important thing that I feel I've learned is perseverance which at times gave me the strength to keep going when life was so hectic that I could have given up.

Overall, the most rewarding thing about university is that you really get out what you put in. I really put all my effort into doing well in my studies and am over the moon that I obtained the results I was aiming for.

What have you found challenging about studying food bioscience?

There were various challenges to overcome during the course. It was challenging to go from learning all the theory of food science within the university to then going out on our industrial placements and having to put everything we had learned into context within the food industry. Although challenging, in my opinion this was the most beneficial part of the course as there is nothing that will reinforce what you've learned in a classroom setting more than going out and putting it into practice during placement. It also gives students on the Food Bioscience a great advantage before graduating as it gives them the opportunity to not only get industry experience which employers are looking for but it also gives them the chance to network and make professional connections with those in the industry.

What is next for you?

As I mentioned previously, the job prospects are fantastic for the Food Bioscience course. I feel extremely grateful for this as during my industrial placement my placement providers were able to employ me full-time as a Food Technologist.

I am currently working within Braehead Foods which is a specialty food and game meat supplier to the hospitality industry throughout the UK that also export overseas. To have a graduate job before graduation has been an amazing experience as I am lucky enough to avoid the post-graduation stress that unfortunately many students go through while trying to find posts in their own fields.

What advice would you give to other food science students or those thinking of applying for food science?

For those thinking of applying for the Food Bioscience course I would say stop thinking about applying and go and apply as it's an amazing course which leads to many different roles across not only the food and drink industry but also in the pharmaceutical industry.

Some of my fellow graduates are currently working within this area to produce various toxin detection kits which the food industry uses. There really is a career path for everyone whether you want a lab based role or industry role. The fact is that the majority of Food Bioscience students have secured employment before graduation so if this appeals to you I would definitely do some more research about the course and then apply.

For other Food Science students, the advice I would give is make the most of your placement experience and try and make connections with people in the industry as it could be so useful to you in the future. Your placement gives you real experience and also helps you to learn all the skills that will be required by employers in the future. Definitely take on any advice from those who have years of experience in the industry so that you can give your career the best possible start.

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