Biomedical Science to Science Writer
Name:Amy Brennan (she/her)
Job: Science Writer
A levels/ equivalent :Biology, Chemistry, Maths (AS Further Maths, Geology)
Undergrad and post grad degrees :MBioMedSci (Integrated Masters) Biomedical Science
Favourite science fact:If the DNA in one of your cells was uncoiled, it would be about 2m long. The fact that so much DNA is packed so tightly in such a tiny space (about 6 microns) always amazes me.
Journey in 3 Words :Unexpected, Exciting, Marathon
Briefly describe your role
I work as a science writer for a Marketing/PR agency that focuses on scientific companies. I create all sorts of content for scientific companies’ marketing and PR campaigns including writing articles for industry publications, social media posts, press releases and infographics.
What motivated you to pursue a career in science
I’ve always been a really inquisitive person, as a kid my favourite word was “why?” and I did everything I could to find the answer! I quickly realised that science was my favourite subject at school because it was all about answering that very question. I chose Biology as an A-Level and loved human biology so studying Biomedical Science at university was a no-brainer for me. At university I realised that I wasn’t very talented in the lab and found the experience really frustrating, what I was great at however, was really good at explaining the science I was learning and thought that science communication might be a better career choice. For my masters I chose to research how accessible scientific papers were, it was a subject I was really passionate about and I decided I wanted a career in science communication.
What career paths did you feel were available to you before you started your course
I honestly thought that everyone that did Biomedical Science went into a research career, either in academia or industry. When I began my course, I was perfectly okay with that as I thought that was what I wanted to too. However, as with most things in life, it didn’t quite work out the way I thought it would. I was close to useless in the lab and it was only then that I realised the huge range of science communication jobs available to me.
What advice would you give on picking universities
Decide on your personal priorities. University is an incredibly individual decision and you have to choose based on what’s important to you. It could be the course content, the practical/lectures split, or the location. University can be one of the best times of your life but you need to make the decision that’s best for you. So before you start looking, set your priorities and compare universities based on those, not on other people’s opinions or on league tables.
What transferrable skills do you use from your degree now in your job
I use so many transferable skills in my job. The first is the ability to research and determine the reliability of information. Being a science writer means I have to become an “expert” on a huge range of topics at pretty short notice. The ability to critique information sources really helps me excel in my job.
I also learnt some great time management skills during my degree, this was possibly one of my greatest achievements as I started university as a serial procrastinator. I work for a number of clients, so my to do list can get pretty busy. Being able to manage my time is really important in ensuring that to do list gets finished at the end of the week.
Group work was my least favourite part of my degree, leaving my marks in the hands of others was really stressful, but in the “real world” group work is the most important part of my job. I collaborate on so many projects and working as part of a team is actually really enjoyable!
What advice would you give on dealing with rejection and perseverance?
Dealing with rejection can be really tough, I have definitely had a few crises of confidence from job rejections, coursework results and failed experiments. However, being a scientist comes with a lot of failure; experiments that don’t work, papers that don’t get accepted and jobs/programmes we don’t get accepted for. My key piece of advice is keep a record of your wins: any good feedback, any positive comments. Revisit them when you’re questioning yourself to remind yourself that you are successful and talented and that things will all work out in the end.
When considering your career path, how much has your potential salary affected your decision?
Ultimately, salary hasn’t been a deal breaker in choosing a career. Job satisfaction has always been the most important thing for me, and I prioritise having a job I really enjoy.
Outside science how would you describe yourself
I’m a really passionate person, I love sports and music and spend most of my free time pursuing these. I play Gaelic football and love to play the guitar to relax. I’m bubbly and definitely people person. I’m an extrovert and love being around other people but I also love to relax in a hot bath with a face mask and a glass of gin!
Connect with Amy