Skip to main content

Having hit pause on her third level journey in 2013 due to family commitments, BSc (Hons) in Pharmaceutical Science student Jennifer Hall returned to SETU to complete her degree in 2020. The award-winning graduate now works in quality assurance for Teva in Waterford city.

Seeing the lab practises I had worked on at SETU being used in a real-world environment showed me that the programme's teachings were based firmly in the working world.

Jennifer Hall SETU BSc (Hons) in Pharmaceutical Science graduate

Hitting pause

I completed the first year of my BSc (Hons) in Pharmaceutical Science in 2013 but due to personal and family reasons, I couldn't complete my second year at SETU. I always wanted to return to college and finish my degree, but life got in the way, and as my parents got older, they came to rely on me a little more. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, the additional time it freed up allowed me to consider the possibility of returning to university. Following a positive conversation with staff from the Pharmaceutical Science programme at SETU, I submitted my application for advanced entry into second year.

A liberating research project

My main highlight was my final year research project. This research was mine to conduct which felt liberating. I chose the topic I wanted to research from the list provided and was able to take it in the direction I wanted to. It was both incredibly interesting and rewarding. Thankfully, all my hard work paid off - winning a prize for my literature review. My lecturers deemed the work to be worthy of an industry-sponsored award; I remember feeling proud – and shocked – that all of my hard graft had finally paid off! I must thank my incredible supervisor Dr Kathleen Grennan, who was steadfast in her support and encouragement throughout my final year.

Support from all corners

I have to admit that the support system at SETU is second to none. Also on hand was an amazing network of family and newly made college friends who led me through every step of my journey as a mature student. Completing a four year degree is no easy feat and having people around me who could give that much-needed pep talk every once in a while was worth its weight in gold.

A degree with practical, real-world teachings

My third year included a six-month industry-based placement. This took place at the quality assurance lab in the company I now work for, Teva. Seeing the lab practises I had worked on at SETU being used in a real-world environment showed me that the programme's teachings were based firmly in the working world. This reduced the learning curve many encounter while on their work placement, making the whole experience far more enjoyable.

Hopes for the future

If you had asked me that a year ago – my answer would have been very different! I always thought I was bound for a lab position and that my career wouldn't be in a quality assurance (QA) environment. Now that I'm working as a QA analyst in Teva I’ve come to realise that I enjoy being part of the quality assurance process. I hope to get my MSc in Analytical Chemistry and Quality Management in the near future - a qualification which will hopefully allow me to become a qualified person (QP).

Advice for students

My biggest advice would be to engage. Engage with classmates, lecturers, and the entire college experience. This is going to be the next four years of your life and learning that lesson early on is a great way to ensure you have a good footing in life.