Coming to the end of my Placement

I am coming to the end of my 12 month industrial placement at Reach Separations, and I wanted to share some of my reflections on how the year has progressed. Earlier in my placement, I wrote a piece about why I chose to work at Reach and beginning my project. I definitely pushed myself out of my comfort zone this year; moving to a new city and beginning my professional career. For me, it was my first time working in an industrial laboratory, where I was carrying out experiments for which no one knew the outcome. My year in industry has massively advanced my lab skills and my understanding of the theory behind the analytical techniques used in a separations laboratory, I have been fortunate enough to work with state of the art instrumentation, such as the Waters UPC2, and was trained to troubleshoot our systems - skills I know will be valuable in my future career.

Boosting my skills

As well as an improvement in my scientific skills, I've become more confident in the work place, particularly presenting. As well as attending and presenting my work at Royal Society of Chemistry student days, I presented my achiral SFC project work at the Waters UPC2 Nordic Symposium in Gothenburg. It was a great opportunity for me to share my research, and I hope it helped other scientists with their analytical capabilities.

The impact of my placement

Alongside my achiral SFC project, I completed many other small projects which helped make day to day work in the laboratory more efficient. An example of this was to trial a prototype cyclonic dryer, provided by Asynt to see if we could speed up the drying down of final samples, hence allowing them to be returned to clients sooner.
I found that our current method was more efficient as there was the potential for cross-contamination when using the prototype. We decided not to purchase the dryer in its current incarnation. I also passed my findings to the manufacturer, who is using the results to improve their system.

The results of my achiral SFC project are being published sometime later this year in the Chromsoc magazine, a publication widely read in the analytical community - watch out for that!
Soon I will be leaving Reach, but I am confident that the work which I contributed will impact not only the laboratory but the business as a whole for a long time.

Life after Reach?

I will be completing the final year of my MChem at Warwick - and I hope to graduate next year. I've decided that I want to do a pHD studentship after graduating as I've really enjoyed the research aspect of my placement and I want to continue with that whilst working in industry.

Finally, I want to thank everyone at Reach for their support and the knowledge bestowed upon me during this year. I've made great contacts during this year, and I have truly had a fantastic experience.

You can read my original blog on starting life as a placement student here

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