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The University of Southampton
ChemistryUndergraduate study

Emma Atkins MChem Chemistry with a year long placement, 2016

Undergraduate student

Emma Atkins's Photo

I’ve always been interested in science and as I grew older, I developed a passion for Chemistry. The course at Southampton offered really good core and optional modules, often mixing different disciplines like Ocean and Earth Science or Geography. I’ve always been interested in applying chemistry to environmental requirements, so this was really key for me. The Chemistry department is a really great place to study – all the teaching and research staff are friendly and have helped me time and again with any academic or pastoral problems. The lectures are supported by video content and workshops which are useful to check that you have understood everything properly. I’ve had lots of good advice particularly regarding my next steps after graduation. The facilities at Southampton are great – we have the National Crystallography Service in the Chemistry department as well as amazing facilities in areas like Mass Spectrometry and NMR. Because the research in these areas is so advanced, we see the results in our lectures and practical lab content. It means we’re given fantastic training which we can use in both research and industry.

As part of my degree programme, I completed a 13-month placement at the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington, taking part in a major international research project into liquid hydrocarbon standards. The research I helped to conduct was the first of its kind in the world and will directly support industry in the UK. It was an amazing experience to work with incredibly talented scientists and I’ve been able to apply the skills I learnt in my fourth year research project.

During my time at Southampton, I was the First Year Representative on the Chemistry Society committee and in my second year, I was involved with the University’s student radio station, Surge. I was the Social Media Manager for a year, I received a SUSU Media Award for Best Behind the Scenes and a joint SUSU Media Award for best Marketing and Social Media. I particularly enjoyed Live Outside Broadcasting as anything could happen and it was great fun to cover live on social media. I sing as part of Southampton Philharmonic Choir, performing regularly to large audiences. I’ve also finished my Gold Level Award with the University’s Duke of Edinburgh Society so will be presented that soon!

When I graduate, I’m hoping to work on sustainable technologies– whether this is through a PhD or graduate job. I find it really interesting applying my Chemistry knowledge to provide sustainable solutions for our planet’s growing challenges – particularly in areas like alternative fuels and batteries. As I’m now in my final year here, I’d like to thank the incredible people I’ve met who have helped make my experience here unforgettable – staff and students alike. I’d recommend Southampton to anyone – I know that my degree will provide me with the grounding to take advantage of any opportunity that comes my way.


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