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Amanda Mullinder

Human Nutrition

Human-Nutrition_Student_Amanda-MullinderWhat appealed to you about Northumbria University / studying in Newcastle?

I wanted to stay close to my home as I am from Newcastle. When making a decision about which university to attend I first looked at the course prospectus and both Newcastle University and Northumbria University offered similar courses in my chosen area of Nutrition. I spent the day visiting both Universities but decided that Northumbria had a friendlier and more relaxed atmosphere about it and that from the first day visiting the lecturers were all approachable and helpful and I knew that I’d be able to fit in and enjoy my time at Northumbria.

What was it about the course / subject area that particularly appealed?

At school I really enjoyed my Home Economics Cookery lessons and I knew that I wanted to go into the field of food in some capacity although I didn’t want to be a chef. I also really enjoyed my science lessons and felt that I wanted to do something that combined both, at that stage perhaps teaching, I also had a friend the year above me who was leaving school to go to Northumbria to study Food Science and Nutrition and that helped me to make the decision to choose that course. However during my first year I decided that I did really enjoy the science and medical aspects of the course and that I wanted these to play a stronger part so at the end of first year I found it very easy to speak to my tutors and to change courses to Human Nutrition as the first year is common on both degree programmes.

What qualifications did you have?

I applied direct from school through UCAS. At A – Level I got a B and 2 Ds with only one science in Biology. However I feel that it may have been more beneficial to have Chemistry A – Level also as this would have prepared me better and I recommend anyone to take both Chemistry and Biology if possible before starting the course.

How did you feel during your first week at Northumbria?

Before starting Northumbria University I had spent 14 years at La Sagesse, private girl’s school in Jesmond, this meant that my first day at Northumbria University was a very daunting day, having to find my way around a new place and make new friends. However I found that everyone at Northumbria was friendly and welcoming and it did not take long for a group of us on both food science and nutrition and human nutrition to become good friends. My first week or two were difficult though as for anyone going to university straight from school the environment is very different, without the diverse group of friends who included many mature students and my tutors to offer advice and support those first few weeks would have been impossible to get through.

What do you like most about the course?

I loved all aspects of the Human Nutrition course. The modules that are covered provide an excellent basis for the opportunity to follow any career path following graduation. Everything is covered from food marketing strategies to the biology underpinning common disease states such as cancer and hepatitis.

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

Throughout the 3 year degree programme, you are given a variety of different types of assignments from 5 minute presentations to portfolio chapters within a group. Time management is essential in order to balance different assignments that you may be working on simultaneously. A large proportion of final year is spent carrying out your own research project. This gives you the opportunity to carry out research in whatever area is of interest to yourself. Unlike most other universities you are able to completely choose your own topic with the support of your personal project tutor and design your own schedule of work within the allocated time. Throughout this time period you have access to all laboratory facilities that are required for your project and have the support of all lecturing staff and technicians. In final year for your project you seem to use the fantastic library resources more than ever, often with 24/7 access the library is an invaluable tool, the web based library catalogue means that you can locate your book before even visiting the library and inter library loans means that journal articles can be ordered through the internet from other libraries and delivered to your home address.

Do you have the opportunity for any work placements during your course?

On my degree programme there are no specific time slots allocated for work placements, however there is the opportunity to carry out a year’s placement in 3rd year and return to University for 4th year. I think this would be a fantastic opportunity to add something to your CV. I myself was going to do this and did have a placement arranged but unfortunately the company could no longer get funding so they were unable to have me for a year. It is also possible to speak to the lecturing staff that have wide and varied contacts and arrange your own work placements or shadowing days for during holiday time such as in local dietetic departments or research centres.

What do you do when you’re not studying?

As I am from Newcastle, as were many of my friends we did not join many societies and clubs within the university as we had other commitments away from university such as part time jobs, I myself worked in an estate agents as a sales negotiator for the first 2 years. However for those coming to Newcastle for the first time, Northumbria university offers many opportunities to meet new people.

What’s your accommodation like?

N/A I lived at home.

What would you like to do when you graduate?

From my degree programme there are so many different career routes that you could follow either in the medical field or in industry. This degree prepares you for all of them. I initially wanted to teach but during my time at Northumbria decided that this was not for me. Eventually I would like to go on and complete my PhD however I was lucky enough to be offered a job with a leading frozen food manufacturer based in Newcastle the day after my graduation and am looking forward to the opportunities that this will provide.

How do you get on with your tutors?

My tutors were fantastic, I would not have got through the course without them, particularly in the last year, they are always there for you and never mind being pestered by the most ridiculous of problems.

Have you used Student Services during your course?

The student services at Northumbria are second to none; there is someone for all of your needs from finance to careers. I particularly used the careers service and when in second year and decided maybe I wanted to do law they sat and discussed all the options with me.

Do you have any advice for anyone applying for your course, or for university in general?

Enjoy your time at University, never panic there is always someone there who can talk your problem through with you and most people on your course will be feeling the same way. Before starting the course it is a good idea to do both A – Level chemistry and biology in preparation for the more scientific modules. All modules that are included on the degree programme are there for a reason to enable you to have the best possibilities following graduation even if you feel they are not relevant at the time.

What three words would you use to describe your time at Northumbria?

Fun, educational and friendly.

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