- Course: Natural Sciences MNatSc
- Year of graduation: 2014
- Job title: Toxicologist
- Company: Exponent
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/anaiskahve/
Anais graduated from the University of Leeds in 2014 with an Intergrated Masters degree in Natural Sciences. She later completed her Masters degree in Toxicology at the University of Surrey, before pursuing her PhD studies in ‘Biophysical and biochemical effects and distribution of fatty acids in pancreatic beta calls and microvascular endothelial cells’ at the University of Exeter. She is currently working as a Toxicologist at Exponent, and a member of the The Royal Society of Chemistry.
During her undergraduate studies at Leeds, Anais spend 12 months in Ultrecht for her industrial placement, working at Diversey.
Year in Industry at Diversey
“I spent twelve months working for Diversey, a company which specialises in providing industry professionals (restaurants, hotels and business) with industrial-cleaning solutions. My placement was based in Utrecht, the Netherlands at the company’s largest European R&D facility.
Although just an intern, my role was as important as anyone else’s at the company.
Although just an intern, my role was as important as anyone else’s at the company. My main role was to develop innovative formulations for the industrial kitchen market. This job was both lab based and office based; a combination of environments which I really enjoyed. Although my main role was to develop cleaning products, I was exposed to many other areas of the business; I attended business meetings and also use my creative skills to design technologies for future projects.
I had opportunities to work on projects, and my main project was to develop an innovative formulation with an expected turnover of 150 million US dollars over the next 5 years. I succeeded in developing this product, within the time-frame given, and the formulation is currently on the global market. It is exciting to know that people all over the world are using the product that I developed.”
...my main project was to develop an innovative formulation with an expected turnover of 150 million US dollars over the next 5 years.
“Finding a placement abroad was not my immediate intention. Diversey had advertised that any students taken on placement would be based in the Netherlands, so I didn’t really have a choice. Since most placements are based in England, I was very excited to learn that I would have the opportunity to work abroad.
I cycled a total of 20K every day (in sun, rain and snow) to and from work.
My company provided and paid for the accommodation. I cycled a total of 20K every day (in sun, rain and snow) to and from work. Although it may seem far, but the Netherlands is a flat country and cyclists have their own cycle lanes so cycling was very enjoyable.”
I really enjoyed my time at the Netherlands. During the summer months I went away for long weekends with the other interns. We visited Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Austria, Hungary, and many cities in the Netherlands.”
Anais found it challenging at first making friends outside of the company, as she went to the Netherlands without knowing anybody and without knowing the language. She said, “ It would have been much easier to meet people if I was studying at a University as I would have been surrounded by other students of a similar age. But to counter this, I decided to join a sports club and soon joined a tennis club near my home and as a result, made some very close friends!”
Advice and tips
“The placement has benefited me in many ways: I have become a much more independent and confident woman. I have been exposed to a very fast moving industry and have met some incredibly talented scientists and engineers from which I have learnt a lot.
I have become a much more independent and confident woman.
I have come to realise that I work very well under pressure and that fast-moving industries are very exciting environments to work in. I have also realised that I do not want to pursue a lab-based career. I am thinking of training as a patent attorney or specialising in medical toxicology.”
“I think that all students should gain work experience before they have finished their undergraduate studies, no matter what subject they are studying. Work experience will help you decide what career path you want to go down and also give you the confidence you need to achieve what you want in life. I have seen that having ambition can take you a long way and my new confidence has spurred me on to be the best that I can be.”
Work experience will help you decide what career path you want to go down and also give you the confidence you need to achieve what you want in life.