By Brodie, BSc(Hons) Biological Sciences and MSc Public Health alum.
Our alum, Brodie, tells us about her new role working at Public Health England, where she provides epidemiological support in the fight against COVID-19. She shares how studying at UWE Bristol has helped her find career success in the public health sector. Keep reading to find out more about Brodie’s story.
My career since graduating from UWE Bristol
Hi, I’m Brodie and I studied BSc(Hons) Biological Sciences and MSc Public Health at UWE Bristol. The practical science skills I gained through my degrees have prepared me for my career path working in STEM. Thanks to the opportunities I had at UWE Bristol, my studies helped me to find my dream job in public health and recently get promoted.
After finishing my postgraduate degree, I found a job as an Epidemiological Research Scientist in the Emergency Response department at Public Health England. Epidemiological research looks at the distribution of disease in different populations. My department responds to natural threats to public health, such as infectious diseases, offering specialist advice to the government.
I’ve recently been promoted to Senior Epidemiologist in the COVID-19 Joint Modelling Cell at Public Health England, which is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I’m lucky I found the right job at the right time as I’m able to play a role in helping the community during the pandemic.
My new role involves supporting the production of regular situation reports, which offer insight into the national COVID-19 developments. We use mathematical modelling to produce forecasts, predicting trends in COVID-19 cases based on existing data. We’re also responsible for producing graphs of pandemic trends and demographics, which help to inform the governments’ decision making.
“I enjoy the detective work involved in analysing epidemiological data, and it’s been rewarding to contribute to the national pandemic response.”
Why I chose PG study at UWE Bristol
When I studied my undergraduate degree at UWE Bristol, I was happy here. I enjoyed the environment and staff and I also had a network of friends and family in Bristol. In my final year, my undergraduate dissertation supervisor was very supportive. By continuing my studies at UWE Bristol, I was able to continue working with the same supervisor for my postgraduate dissertation.
A big motivator for applying for postgraduate study at UWE Bristol was the 50% alumni discount offered to continuing students. I also funded my studies using a postgraduate loan, which enabled me to study full-time and financially support myself with the loan and part-time work.
Postgraduate study at UWE Bristol gave me experience of working and collaborating with a wide range of individuals from different backgrounds and demographics. The course was much more independent in its learning style, so I became more confident in my abilities.
Going straight from undergraduate to postgraduate study
By starting my postgraduate studies straight after my undergraduate course, I was still in the rhythm of learning. My academic writing, maths and computer skills were fresh in my brain, making it easier to keep on top of the workload.
After speaking to peers on my course, many of whom were mature students returning to study, I felt fortunate I didn’t have a full-time job, family and household to juggle on top of education.
Continuing my studies also enabled me to become highly qualified before starting my career. For example, gaining a master’s qualification meant I was eligible for my promotion, so postgraduate study helped me achieve faster career progression.
How UWE Bristol helped me find my career path
A highlight of my undergraduate degree at UWE Bristol was the opportunity to attend an employability workshop called the Science Futures Fair. I got the chance to meet public health and science employers and attend their breakout room sessions. The Fair gave me a better understanding of the career options available to me.
The course leaders were also present at the Careers Fair, so I was able to talk to them about my interests and passions. Through these conversations, I realised postgraduate study would be the best option for me so I could continue studying while deciding on the right career path.
“Studying biological sciences opens a lot of doors for you when you graduate.”
My advice to future students
For anyone who has a genuine interest in public health, it’s a vast subject area with a lot of career options. My advice would be to focus on studying topics you’re passionate about. In the public health sector, the hard work is more than worth it as you’ll be making a difference to the community. If you stay open-minded, you’ll find a career path you really enjoy, like I did.
Find out more about studying a postgraduate Public Health course at UWE Bristol.