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Biological SciencesOur alumni

Katie Morrey BSc Biomedical Sciences, 2016

Development Editor, Royal Society of Chemistry

Katie Morrey's Photo

I was always very interested in science and as I went through school I realised that biology was my favourite subject. At A-level, human biology and medicine became a real focus of mine but I knew I didn’t want to be a doctor so I looked for other medicine related subjects and found Biomedical Science.

As well as my degree, the university helped me find what I want to do as a career and gave me the tools and opportunities to do it.

What made you choose the degree you studied?

When I read the range of topics you can study on the course at Southampton, I was immediately excited about learning them and that is why I choose BSc Biomedical Science. I was genuinely excited to start going to lectures and to study at the university.

What made you select the University of Southampton to study that degree?

I wanted to be at a university that was close to the sea. Although Southampton doesn’t have a beach, the Isle of Wight is 20 minutes away on the ferry and Bournemouth is 20 minutes away. In the summer it was great to go there for the day and hang out on the beach. I also liked the layout of campus. I wanted to be in the city, but I didn’t want to have to travel on a bus to get from one lecture to another and Southampton was just in the middle of these two campus layouts. I also loved that the campus was so green.

How did being located at Highfield benefit your time at university?

Being at Highfield was great in all my years at the university. It especially benefitted me in my second and third year, as I could find a house close enough to university I didn’t have to get up very early for 9am lectures and I could get to the library whenever I wanted. Having the gym on campus was really good too – it made a great break from lectures or being at the library in my third year.

What did you enjoy most about your degree?

I really enjoyed the opportunities that myself and my fellow students got to experience. For myself, the opportunity I received for a summer placement in a publishing company helped me to get to where I am today. I also really enjoyed the teaching. The lecturers are really engaging and are at the cutting edge of the field, so if you asked a question they would be able to tell you the answer and would always make time for you.

What opportunities did you take up that really added value to your experience as a student?

In my second year a publishing company set up some summer placements for biological sciences students with the university. At that point, I had no idea I wanted to go into publishing but I loved science communication so went for one of the jobs on offer. This opportunity helped me realise what I wanted to do as a career, and the experience I gained helped me get my first job in publishing after I graduated.

How did your studies and experience at Southampton shape your future?

Being at Southampton really prepared me for the working world. In my job I communicate with scientists about their work all day, and being able to draw on my experiences talking to my lecturers gives me confidence in my day to day life. As well as my degree, the university helped me find what I want to do as a career and gave me the tools and opportunities to do it.

Tell us about your current role?

I am the Development Editor for the organic and chemical biology journal portfolios. These include the journals Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry, MedChemComm, Molecular Biosystems and Natural Product Reports. I am responsible for the visibility and quality of publications for all the journals as well as contributing to the journals strategies to improve these things.

What makes your current role unique?

I get to speak to scientists to are at the top of their fields on a daily basis, including Nobel Prize winners. Being in publishing is great because I get to see cutting edge research every day and in my role I get to commissioning review articles as overviews to these fields. Every day is different, just like every paper is different.

What tips would you give to current students looking to start a career in your sector?

Publishing is a great career path if you love science but don’t want to work in a lab. My advice is to pursue any science communication activities you can – I started a science blog, but there are writing competitions happening all the time as well as the student magazine or even the local newspaper. If you can get some summer experience or an internship in a publishing house that is invaluable, although not a requirement. Publishing is a great career path for graduates because you don’t need experience for your first publishing role (usually an editorial assistant) and your career can progress really quickly.

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