A spotlight on life after graduation...
Featuring: Natasha Bradley

After waving goodbye to Abertay last summer, BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science graduate Natasha has been touching base with us every few months with an update on what life has been like for her since graduation.

Posed photo of Abertay Alumni Natasha Bradley

12 months after graduating, Natasha is an R&D Laboratory Technician at LumiraDx in Stirling. 

"I suppose my expectations as a graduate about to enter the industry of IVD diagnostics was that research and development for IVD testing would be relatively straightforward and did not take long to complete. In reality, countless experiments and a lot of work goes into every R&D project, something which as an R&D laboratory technician I can now fully appreciate!

Over the course of the past year I have had several successes including several exciting opportunities that I was invited to work on within my project and other projects within the company. A particular unexpected challenge was becoming familiar with the working styles and personalities of my project team as R&D work is very collaborative but I think I’m quite to adapt to different working situations.

I’m proud that my efforts at work are recognised and rewarded. With hindsight I would definitely have gone into my career with more confidence of my own knowledge from my time at university as I think I felt that with no experience I wouldn’t be able to give any input.

My project within the company is yet to launch so that is definitely on the horizon! I had a lot more to look forward to personally this year which unfortunately will have to be postponed due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Luckily, I am still going to be able to adopt a third rabbit this year despite the pandemic!"

Some words for the graduating Class of 2020 - Enjoy your final summer before entering the world of full time work! Also, learn from everything you do. Learning to hear feedback, consider it and move forward is the best way to improve!

June 2019

Graduation was weeks away, and Natasha was planning to continue working her part-time job over the summer before relocating to Stirling and beginning her graduate job with diagnostics company LumiraDx in August. 

What are your long-term career aspirations?

Honestly, I’m still not entirely sure of my long-term career aspirations. I would like to believe that anything is still possible at this point.

How will your next steps contribute towards your early career?

I have secured a position as a R&D Laboratory Technician at LumiraDx Technology based outside of Stirling. This feels like a logical progression after completing my university degree and I’m excited to be starting at a growing company with an innovative product.

What approach did you take to researching your career path and industry?

I had an appointment with a member of the careers team which led me to taking on my own research online using prospects.ac.uk to determine what I should do next. I had several conversations with my parents before deciding that applying for full time work after graduation.

How are you feeling about everything?

Apprehensive – this will the first major step for me after graduation.

Excited – I’m looking forward to starting at my new job.

Relief – that I’ve completed university and been able to find a job before graduating.

October 2019

Natasha had just started her role at LumiraDx and had relocated to Stirling. 

How are you enjoying your new position at Lumira Dx?

I am very much enjoying my position at LumiraDx. Working in research and development means that every day is different and I’m enjoying each challenge and responsibility given to me. Due to the stage my project team I are at, I have been given the opportunity to attend clinical trialling which occurs at several hospital across Scotland. This actually means that my 5 day working week in the laboratory is broken up by 2 days at clinics.

What are some of the unexpected challenges you’ve faced and overcome since starting?

I am very much a yes person and always want to help others where I can, therefore admitting to feeling overwhelmed or over-burdened with work and asking others for help is difficult for me. This has been my greatest challenge so far – to let other members in my team know when I’m struggling and to let them take responsibility of some of my tasks. I've also started mentoring, which at first I was a bit apprehensive about as the new start is a little bit older than me with more experience in the industry, however it has allowed me to gain confidence in training someone else in processes not familiar to them and also solidified my own knowledge of protocols in the lab.

It’s still early days, however have you identified any short-term / long-term goals that you’d like to achieve?

Currently my short-term goals are to continue being responsible for the clinical elements of my project for my team in addition to training new members of staff on our clinical processing protocol. In terms of more long-term goals, I would love to progress further in my career with LumiraDx and in a year hopefully earn a promotion to become a Scientist.

How are you settling in to Stirling life?

I’m settling in really well, there’s a good group of people who work at my company and are of a similar age which means that on the weekends and evenings there is always something to do. Other members in my company have organised bowling nights and pub crawls which have been fun to attend to get to know everyone better and establish a support network here as well. I am very much enjoying living by myself with my house rabbit Gordon, I’m quite introverted so I definitely was not apprehensive about living alone as I get energy from being in my own space. 

What’s on the cards for the next 3 months?

In the next three months I will be attending my quarterly review session with my manager to reassess my short-term goals so that I can become a more established member of my project team with even more responsibility. I will also be getting another rabbit as a companion for Gordon which we are both very excited about!

March 2020

Work was ramping up, despite the global pandemic.

Work has been very busy as of late with our project deadline becoming ever closer. The number of offsite clinics we attend have increased and therefore my responsibilities have done so with it. This, so far, had been going smoothly up until the recent COVID-19 outbreak which has meant that the offsite work I was responsible for conducting and organising has been cut down again. I was also recently invited to a 'Statistics in Industry' course along with several colleagues by my company which has given me so much confidence when analysing data and I think was real proof of how the company wish to invest in my growth here.

In terms of life outside of work, I've also been very busy. I've recently taken up hot yoga which I attend with a few friends from work which was really fun to try and I'm determined to stick to it. I also rescued another rabbit (Gracie) as a companion for Gordon and they have really bonded over the past two months. So much so I'm going to be rescuing rabbit number three in October, at which point I'm probably going to have to stop before I start rescuing too many animals.

What's the best piece of advice you've been given relating to your career?

"Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life."

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