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Joanne Atkinson

BSc Biomedical Sciences

Where are you from?

I am originally from Bradford and moved to Newcastle to start my undergraduate degree.

Why did you choose Northumbria University, Newcastle?

I love the idea of Northumbria being a campus university, but with all the benefits of being right in the city centre. There is a community feeling on campus and it makes it a really fun place to be.

What do you think of Newcastle and our region and what are your favourite things to do?

I love Newcastle! There is so much going on all the time and the nightlife is great. My favourite things to do are going to Tynemouth market on a weekend, shopping at the Metrocentre and trying all of the great food and drink Newcastle has to offer.

What has surprised you most about living in Newcastle and this region? What has impressed you most?

It has surprised me how vibrant Newcastle is as a city. It always feel fresh and is very forward thinking. We get some great new restaurant and bar ideas popping up here all the time which are fun to try.

Did you find Northumbria University welcoming? Was it easy to fit in?

Yes, from day one I knew I had made the right choice coming to Northumbria. I fit straight in with my flatmates and other people in my accommodation and we had a great first couple of weeks together. I then made lifelong friends after meeting other Biomedical sciences students. We all helped each other cope with the demands of the course and enjoyed celebrating together at the end of it all at graduation.

What have you enjoyed most about coming to Northumbria University?

I have most enjoyed the diverse range of friends I have made since coming to Northumbria. The campus feel of the university makes it easy to socialise with people from all departments of the university and so I have a wide selection of friends, some of whom will be friends for life, which is amazing!

Who has helped you most since you came to Northumbria?

My tutor, Robert Finn has helped me most since coming to Northumbria. He helped me gain invaluable laboratory experience over my second and third year summers which led on to me being awarded a PhD position at the University.

Who has inspired you most at Northumbria University?

My fellow students inspired me the most during my time as an undergraduate. Without everyone encouraging each other to do the best we could, some challenges would have seemed a lot more daunting!

What is your favourite place on campus?

My favourite place on campus is Habita in the Student's union. There is always something going on whatever time of day it is and its a great place to get away from work for a while and relax.

Have you joined any sports teams, clubs or been involved in any volunteer projects? Tells us about the highlights?

I haven't joined any teams or clubs but I did get a job as a receptionist in the students union, which meant I was heavily involved with the planning and organisation of many clubs and projects. It was great fun working at the union, it didn't even feel like a job because I could spend my time helping other student's and organising events. I can recommend working there to anyone!

What is the best thing about your course?

The best thing about Biomedical Science is the hands on approach to teaching at Northumbria. All written theory work is backed up by a selection of laboratory based work and in the final year you get the chance to lead your own lab-based project for a term. This amount of hands on science is rare and is definitely the best thing about the course. As well as this, the lecturers make the course interesting and applicable to life situations, making the knowledge learnt relevant and exciting.

What are the most valuable lessons you have learnt to date?

I have learnt to take every opportunity given to you at Northumbria to gain knowledge, experience or both. Do as much as you can to broaden your horizons and make the most our of your degree.

What do you want to do in the future? What skills have you learned/improved that you think will be of most use in your future career?

I have been accepted on to a PhD role at Northumbria so I will spend the next few years researching pesticide resistance in the poultry red mite. This would not be possible without the lab experience that I have gained as part of my time at Northumbria and is invaluable to my future career as a researcher.

Have you worked on any projects with businesses or been on a placement? What were your most memorable experiences?

I did two summer placements during my time at Northumbria, researching pesticide efficacy on different pests. These projects made it possible to apply for my PhD based on the experience they gave me. My most memorable moment was applying for a PhD position at Northumbria and being told I had been accepted, this was a life changing moment for me!

If you could offer some advice to students thinking of coming to study here what would you say?

I would say do it! If you are looking for a lively, fun and vibrant place to study with the city on your doorstep, then Northumbria is for you. The courses are of excellent quality, with great teaching and fabulous research facilities. As well as that, the overall student experience is unrivalled in my eyes!

How do you feel you have changed as a person since being at Northumbria University, Newcastle (e.g. confidence)?

I am much more confident since being at Northumbria. A combination of group work involving putting forward ideas, and presenting our work, and being encouraged to work independently in laboratory sessions to develop our skills has resulted in me feeling positive about my ability to succeed.

If you had 3 words to sum up your time with us what would they be?

 Exciting, Memorable, Life-changing.

Would you recommend Northumbria University to a friend?

Yes, 100%, I can't think of anywhere better to live and study.

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