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Aaliyah has always been interested in studying toxicology and pharmacology. She understood the many possibilities open to her with a degree in Pharmacology and decided her future career path lies outside of the lab.

Aaliyah is currently studying BSc Pharmacology with a year in industry at Reading, she has taken her placement with Reckitt, a large Pharmaceutical and consumer goods company with a portfolio of brands like Clearasil, Nurofen and Strepsils.  

Aaliyah chose to study pharmacology at Reading because it was one of the few places, she could study toxicology modules within her degree, along with the reputation of the school and after her first visit to campus, she knew Reading was a clear choice for her. 

Studying at Reading

Studying Pharmacology at Reading allowed Aaliyah to experience working with other students and academics from Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy, Biological Sciences, and Mathematical, Physical and Computation Sciences schools. The collaborative and varied experience helped her develop throughout her time here.

“Some modules are purely with pharmacology students, but some you would work with people that aren't in your course. We would have modules with Physician Associates, Biomedicine and Biochemistry students… I've made a lot of different links and connections, viewing different perspectives, seeing how other people see things was a very good experience.”

Aaliyah has always been focused on her future career, thanks to the varied and broad programme at Reading, she learned skills that have proved invaluable on her placement. 

“In the Molecular Drug Targets module, we got taught a lot about the background knowledge on over-the-counter drugs like Gaviscon and Nurofen, those are products that I'm working with now. It was very useful to start a job and be able to do it because I already been taught everything I needed to know.”

Finding a placement

The task of finding a placement was Aaliyah's responsibility but was helped along the way by academics and support staff. Aaliyah did get some rejections before securing her role with Reckitt but always felt supported at Reading, where she was given CV, cover letter and interview guidance along with access to new and exclusive jobs posted by the department. She would recommend that students stay positive throughout the process and to utilise the support available to them from the department and University.

“Apply as early as possible, remember that any experience is good, learn from it and utilise your previous work experience in your interviews. Always remember to ask for feedback if you didn’t get the role, to help in your future interviews.”

“Utilise the support you have available, I'd also say give your CVS and cover letters to the university and see what advice they can give because that was really, really useful.”

Aaliyah’s placement so far has involved working within the Global Safety Assurance team, which is focused on evaluating and examining products. Aaliyah has been given the opportunity to work in project management, which is a key focus for her future career, along with access to the future leader’s programme, where she could work for 6 months in a management role in different departments and sites. Her placement has been a fantastic opportunity.

Aaliyah's Reading experience

Aaliyah agrees she has had a great experience studying at Reading and is looking forward to returning for her final year, she would recommend any students study Pharmacology at Reading.

“I would definitely recommend studying Pharmacology, it’s not just lab-based roles after graduation, and you won't be just pipetting. There's a lot of lab-based jobs, and they're very, very interesting. But if you want to progress out of that, a background in pharmacology will make you a great project manager for example, it's a great foundation.”