The School of Biological and Chemical Sciences (SBCS) recently interviewed Nathan Long, a second-year Pharmaceutical Chemistry student, as part of their ‘Meet the Undergraduate’ series. Take a look to get an insight into the life of a SBCS student, and find out more about his interests and plans for the future.
3 May 2018
It was my first year and I didn’t want to move from my home in Essex so I was looking at universities based in Essex and London. I looked at a few options but I knew I wanted to work in London. I also knew I wanted to do a science subject. I was looking at courses like Biomedical Science but I was doing quite well in chemistry, and chemistry was my passion, so I thought “can I find a something where the two areas mix? I saw that Queen Mary has a BSc in Pharmaceutical Chemistry, which offers a perfect tie of the biological and biomedical science side with chemistry.
After visiting, I fell in love with the university and I sent my application in straight away. Obviously, Queen Mary has a great reputation, being a Russell Group university. But I also like the community around here; it feels like a little town being a campus-based university with accommodation, the bank, the shops, and the library. It felt like one little home where you could feel very safe and comfortable.
I enjoy the course content the most; it’s exactly how I imagined it would be. It’s very chemistry focussed and it’s nice to get that real in-depth knowledge of your subject. I enjoy the independence you get at university, socialising on campus with students and our staff. I really like the lab work, I like being in a very practical environment and we get 100 hours of practical work a year, which is quite considerable really. The facilities, the useful equipment and the independence you get here when working on your own in the labs is great.
I’m very excited that this summer I will be doing a voluntary internship at Queen Mary with Dr Leslie Howell, one of my lecturers. We’re currently looking at anti-obesity and weight loss drugs to help combat diabetes, which I’m really looking forward to. I also enjoy the interaction I have with the lecturers who are always really friendly. They are very sociable and can chat with you about your academic life and your pastoral life too.
Following my BSc, I definitely want to take further studies – a masters and possibly a PhD here at Queen Mary. I think if I have higher qualifications, it will be more attractive to employers and make me stand out. I also have a strong interest in law, having competed nationally in law competitions. There is a lot of potential to combine law and chemistry in something like medical malpractice law, which is something very related to my course as I do a lot of drug chemistry. I could also move towards drug development or drug design research in research and development chemistry within pharmaceutical companies.
People think if you study chemistry, you’ll end up in a lab with a white coat and goggles but you can end up in financial companies due to the analytical skills you’ve built up, or you could work in fashion and cosmetics because the basics of all cosmetics is chemistry. You can also work in forensic science or toxicology. The subject really does tie into so many potential industries and careers, and it is because of the skills you gain on the course – working independently, research skills, analytical skills, writing reports, and many more skills that are transferrable.
My girlfriend and I both like to do Jiu Jitsu – it’s good fun. I spend a lot of time concentrating on the academic side of my life, so doing Jiu Jitsu breaks up my study a bit and helps to keep me a bit fitter. I had never thought of doing a martial art but I’m progressing well and I’ve taken part in some national competitions.