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Sixth Form girls lunch with successful scientist

Sixth Form girls lunch with successful scientist

Our Sixth Form girls welcomed Mel Boyle to join them for the first Ladies Who Lunch session of the year earlier this month. Mel has had a successful and rewarding career working in various pharmaceutical roles and has loved science from a young age, in particular plants. Upon starting her Biology degree at the University of Oxford, her horizons were broadened. Mel embarked on a broad science degree so not to miss out on opportunities and areas in science that she was yet to discover: resulting in her finding a passion for applied science.

After finishing her degree and subsequent PhD she followed her new-found passion and undertook a research role at Cambridge Antibody Technology, looking at drugs that could potentially cure cancerfrom a new perspective: using antibodies. Whilst initially starting out as a small pharmaceutical company in 1989, Cambridge Antibody Technology was bought by AstraZeneca in 2006 and immediately went from being a small local research team, to one that was part of a worldwide organisation.

Following on from her time at AstraZeneca, Mel decided to keep her career fresh and moved on to the management side of research, supervising projects. As Mel had the relevant experience from being a researcher for a number of years, moving on to project management was a natural move in her career. Mel understood how research projects worked, and inevitably didn’t work at times, so she decided to embark on a career to ensure precious funds weren’t wasted.

The Sixth Form students who attended the session were passionate about the sciences and were all considering the possibility of going into a science-based degree. The knowledge that Mel shared with the girls encouraged some interesting questions from the girls: “Have you ever had a moment in your career when you wanted to quit?” asked one Lower Sixth student, to which Mel replied: “There have inevitably been points in my career when I have known that I didn’t want to be in that particular role in 5 years’ time. However, I have never wanted to leave science, as there has always been room for growth and change.”

Mel also advised the students who weren’t sure on a specific career to choose a broad degree as that was the main reason for her entering the role she did. She also explained that the flexibility in her degree encouraged her to explore new aspects of science and mould her degree to her interests and strengths.