My journey into science

After reading Terry McGlyn’s post on his path to science on Small Pond Science, I thought I would share mine.

According to my parents I have always wanted to work with animals, and as far as I remember back I wanted to be a vet. I went through highschool choosing the sciences stream, completing modules in maths, physics, chemistry, biology and economics. When I graduated, I entered the lottery for enrollment to the only vet school in the Netherlands.

I was not successful in obtaining a place, with the course always having 3-4 times more applicants than places. Instead of waiting a year and trying again, I chose to go to Belgium, where there were no enrollment limits. I enrolled on the veterinary medicine course at Ghent University and spent the first year having more fun and doing little work. As a result I failed my first year.

The second time round I took it more seriously. I loved the bioscience modules, and started questioning whether being a vet was really for me. At the end of the year I decided I was still interested in animals, but no longer from a clinical perspective.

I moved to University College Ghent to study a degree in Agriculture and Biotechnology with a specialisation in animal health science. I loved every minute of it, and it inspired me to find an MSc in a related field so I could explore my interests further.

I ended up enrolling onto the MSc in Animal Biology and Welfare, which was jointly delivered at Writtle  College in the UK and HAS Den Bosch University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands. This course really got me hooked on animal health science. I had the opportunity to undertake my dissertation research at the 3R Research Centre at Radboud University Hospital in the Netherlands. Being a member of an enthusiastic research group got me hooked on research and led me to apply for a funded PhD place at Writtle.

I started the PhD, and am still at Writtle now. Since starting things have not gone as originally planned. I was offered a fulltime lectureship in companion animal health 18 months into my PhD, took it, gave up the PhD, became a course manager, senior lecturer, and am now waiting to start an EdD at Anglia Ruskin University in September.

I am still hooked on research, but now share that passion with teaching. I consider myself more a researching professional rather than a professional researcher, and I am looking forward to seeing what my bioscience education future brings.

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