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Stephen Boddy

BSc (Hons) Biomedical Sciences PT

What appealed to you about Northumbria University?

The part time Biomedical Sciences degree that Northumbria University offers is widely recognised throughout the North East.  Having worked in another higher education establishment in the North East I know the degree is the preferred qualification of individuals who hope for progression within scientific specialisms or health care service.  I have also worked alongside people who have completed degrees at Northumbria and they recommended studying here as their own experiences were so rewarding.

What was it about the course that particularly appealed?

The Biomedical Sciences course is just what I was looking for in a degree.  It has a perfect balance between lectures and practicals.  The modules which are covered in the degree are very interesting and are supported with practical sessions, which allow the student to put into practice the theory which they have studied. 

Have you found it difficult to balance your workload with your studies and home life – do you have any tips?

It has been difficult to find a balance between my home life, career and studies.  I try to be as disciplined as possible with regards to my studies.  I think it essential to keep up to date with any course work or recommended reading.

In what way has your study been useful or meaningful in your work?

I demonstrate anatomy to Science students at Northumbria University and the modules which I cover in my degree have helped me when it comes to the application of normal and abnormal anatomy.  It has also helped me to appreciate the varied role of the other scientists who work within different science disciplines within my team and I hope to take on other duties once I have completed my degree.

Can you give an example of a piece of work you’ve been involved with recently and what it involves?

For the past six weeks we have been working towards an investigation into different strains of bacteria in the Medical Microbiology module of our degree.  We have been working in groups to carry out a number of practical techniques aimed to enable us to identify strains of bacteria by the way they look, behave and grow.  We had the opportunity to grow our own bacteria which was a really unique experience.  We gram stained our bacteria as well as carrying out a number of diagnostic tests before drawing a conclusion as to what we were working with.  We had a number of lectures to introduce us to microbiological theory and techniques and were given a recommended reading list.  All of the texts on the recommended reading list were available from the superbly equipped University library. 

What do you do when you’re not studying?

I am a member of staff here at Northumbria University.  I demonstrate anatomy to science students.  In my spare time I enjoy socialising with friends and family as well as reading, walking and going to the cinema.

What kind of support have you been given by your work colleagues or line manager while you’ve been studying?

My employer has been very supportive of my decision to complete my degree.  They have given me day release once a week to attend lectures and practicals; they also allow me to take time out to revise before any examinations.  My line manager and immediate colleagues have been very supportive of my degree, they cover my workload when I am on day release and are always happy to lend some advice in specialist areas.

Most people worry about the assessment process.  Has your experience of the assessment been tough or has it been helpful?

My experience of the assessment process has been positive.  Most of the modules are assessed over the space of a semester so you don’t have a massive exam land on you at the end of the module.  We are assessed in practical sessions as well as short exams in each semester.  Some modules do have an exam at the end of the academic year but we are told about this at the beginning of the module therefore should be preparing for it well in advance.

How do you get on with your tutors?

The tutors at Northumbria are great; they see the students as individuals and recognise that everybody has areas in which they thrive and areas in which they struggle.  The tutors are always happy to talk through assignments with students and talk about any anxieties we have.  The tutors want us to do well as they know how it feels to learn while you work, this comes across in the way that they treat students.

If you have just one message to pass on to someone who’s just about to start a programme like yours, what would that message be?

Entering into higher education does seem daunting but Northumbria University is an energetic and modern institute well equipped to make your studies and social life as enjoyable as possible.   

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