Joanna Cornwell

I was always drawn to science subjects and knew when I finished school I’d like to pursue a career in science. I felt UCD offered me a broad choice in subjects with an excellent programme. In the first year of my four year course I covered a range of modules from chemistry to zoology. As the years continued I had the option of specialising in the subjects I found most interesting and enjoyable, which lead me to physiology.

I chose physiology because I believed that was where my talents and interests lay. I enjoyed the course, especially my third and fourth year experience because with the decreasing numbers as the classes became more specialised I had easy access to my lecturers. I always found that they were generous in the giving of their time and committed to ensuring that my classmates and I fully understood the topics discussed.

In my fourth year I had particular satisfaction in being able to read scientific research papers which allowed me to participate more fully in class discussions. Additionally, as part of the course my fourth year consisted of undertaking a 12 week research project. This gave me great insight into the workings of a research laboratory which strengthened the decision for me to stay within the research field. I graduated with a first class honours and was delighted to win the undergraduate prize of physiology within UCD.

My interests were such that I believe the next natural step in my career was to undertake a PhD. I was fortunate that Professor Paul McLoughlin was able to offer me this opportunity and I am now in my first year of my project. I derive great satisfaction in working in the laboratory environment and I look forward to contributing positively to the research field I’ve chosen for myself.