Rebecca Drake

Country: United Kingdom
Sector: Higher Education
Job title: PhD student
Subject of study: Medical Sciences with Professional Training Year
Year of graduation: 2019
Type/Level of study: Undergraduate

Current Employer/Organisation Name

CRUK Barts Cancer Institute

What have you been doing since leaving Exeter, and what are you doing now?

MSc UCL Personalised medicine and Novel therapies (2019-2020) PhD CRUK Radnet Barts Cancer Institute (2020-24)

Why did you choose this career? And what do you enjoy most about your work?

I wanted to improve the lives of patients and contribute to knowledge. I enjoy being at the forefront of discovery and I love that I am able to create and test my own hypothesis with a lot of freedom and flexibility. I am constantly being pushed to develop new skills and my days are very varied. I enjoy communicating my research to scientific and non-scientific audiences, going to conferences and getting involved with public and patient engagement projects. Overall, I find this career very rewarding and exciting.

Please tell us if you were a member of any societies, groups or sports clubs?

Lacrosse, Powerlifting SSLC Medical Science MedSci society social secretary Local school outreach with Medical School Growth mindset mentor local school Exeter Student Volunteers

What did you enjoy most about your programme and what was the biggest highlight?

I really developed from the self-directed learning style and interactive group work. The journal clubs made it a lot easier when I came to doing my own research and reading, knowing how to critically appraise. I also had a lot of experience of the medical and translational sides of research as opposed to my peers. It definitely helped having quite a broad background of human health and disease. Having clinicians and patients come into give lectures was definitely a highlight, giving me a better understanding of the bridges between research and medicine.

What skills and experiences have been most useful for your career?

The professional training year abroad was massively useful, especially compared to just a study abroad. I don’t think I would have known I wanted to pursue a career in research or the lab unless I had experienced a full-time position in the lab. I wouldn’t be put off by not enjoying lab practicals at university as it is very different when you are working full time on your own project.

What advice would you give to a current student who wishes to pursue your career?

Show passion and curiosity by doing your research and getting involved in other things Take initiative Demonstrate willingness to learn – you may not have the complete skill set Spend time on applications, cover letter, CV (the art of selling yourself) Get experience (lab work, tutoring, engagement, SSLC, mentoring, communications, healthcare) Find a mentor Network


Similar Alumni

Mozhgon Jeddi

Harlow College. Since graduating from University of Exeter in 2014 with a BSc Hons in Medical Science, I pursued a teaching career in Further and higher Education.

Oliver Steele

University of Sussex. Since graduating from Exeter, I returned to Cardiff to undertake an MPhil.