When Luke Forrest attended the University of Reading's Open Days, he was awakened to the many areas of study in the biological sciences.
It was zoology in particular that captured his attention as he could see how it could lead to jobs in conservation, research, pharmaceuticals, veterinary sciences and even consultancy and corporate roles.
Why Luke chose Reading
Luke chose to study at Reading for a number of reasons. He was aware of the University's international reputation for research in the natural sciences and he knew that all of the modules were taught by leading researchers in their fields.
He was also excited by the prospect of getting involved in the research during his dissertation. But there were non-academic reasons too – proximity to his family and friends in London, as well as opportunities to get involved in sport.
Luke takes a placement
In September 2015, Luke started his one-year placement with the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), a government organisation that delivers specialist services in science and technology to the Ministry of Defence and wider government.
“Originally, I hadn't planned on doing a placement year as I didn't understand how it would benefit me. However, by my second year, it was evident that the market outside university was very competitive and I could see how a year in industry would give me an advantage over other graduates applying for jobs."
Luke's interest in working for Dstl was sparked by the communications sent out by the University's Placement and Development Team – it was a job advertisement that he could see would not only provide an opportunity to develop and grow, but also apply science to real-world situations.
“I was working with operational search dogs, looking at how you can enhance their behaviour and develop new training techniques. It was really exciting to be involved in a project that was helping to progress our national security, particularly when it is in a state of heightened threat."
Following his placement, Luke was offered a permanent position with Dstl upon graduation. Luke has gone on to a successful career in zoology.