Rebecca Kinghorn graduated from the BSc Nutrition and Food Science programme (now the BSc/BSc (Hons) Nutrition) in 2019.
I have been a sporty individual all throughout my life and food was always an interest close to my heart. I really enjoyed science in high school and also loved cooking/eating food. This type of course looked to combine all the things I enjoyed.
At first, I didn’t really consider QMU as the course was very new when I was applying. But after I attended the applicants’ day I was completely sold on QMU, and that was me from there. The lecturers seemed so nice and helpful during the applicants’ day and I had come from a small town so enjoyed the small community feel of the QMU.
I’m very happy with the decision I made because QMU is a great university to study at. Also, the fact QMU is located in Edinburgh was great - although it’s not right in the centre, it is so accessible from the University campus. Edinburgh is such a beautiful city and, as I didn’t really know the city that well, I couldn’t wait to move up there when I was starting my course.
The first two years of the course were varied which I enjoyed as it allowed us to gain knowledge across different areas of biological science but also gave us a taste for our chosen disciplines. This was great as if you felt you were on the wrong course as it was really easy to change course at the end of first or second year. Third and fourth year, I really enjoyed it as we really delved into food science and nutrition. The product development module was a highlight for me - we created our own product start to finish and then presented it back to the class.
The lecturers are great, Julien, the main lecturer for the food science course, is amazing, he is so passionate about the course and was very supportive and made the course interesting, interactive and packed full of knowledge. He is also great for answering any questions you have and helping you understand anything you have struggled getting your head around. The structure and small class sizes throughout the course allowed us to interact with our classmates and other students in biological science, making it feel easier to speak up in class, participate in group work and ask other students for help.
In fourth year, we had various talks from industry experts - it was really great to learn from their experience and for them to pass on their knowledge about the industry. In fourth year, we also went on a two-month placement, and completed our honours project based on our placement. I was placed at Devro (a multinational company that produces collagen sausage casings. It was a great experience, to be immersed in the industry. I was based with the product analysis testing laboratory team, and during my time there I helped train a sensory panel and worked on my honours project: ‘The characterisation of collagen casings using texture analysis, sensory analysis and acoustic profiling’.
I’d say if you are interested in Food and Science this definitely is the course for you, and a bonus to this course is that there is a wide range of job prospects and opportunities that come along with this degree. The course is very interesting and I think sets you up perfectly for a role within the food industry.
"I’d say if you’re interesting in food and science then this definitely is the course for you, and a bonus to this course is that there are a wide range of job prospects and opportunities that come along with this degree."
The student experience
I joined the cheerleading society in my first year at QMU for a bit of fun, to keep fit and to meet new people, and I can say it was one of the best decisions I have made. It was a great way to immerse myself away from university studies. Everyone (all abilities) was welcome to join. What I loved the most was the atmosphere of a group of people coming together to do something they enjoyed. I joined the committee in my second year, and later became captain and president of the team. I also became a qualified level 1&2 coach and in my third year I won the ‘Society Person of the Year’ award. Everyone is so friendly and being part of a sport or society at QMU is amazing - it is one big community and network. Cheerleading was a great way to be social, be involved in fundraising and community events, as well as being a part of a community full of love and support. I made some of my closest friends and some of my university best memories from being part of this society.
I was also the class rep for the food science course for all four years I was at QMU. This involved going to various meetings and voicing my fellow student’s concerns and feedback about the course. Through this feedback, we saw the course altered to be better suited in the future.
I was also a student trustee at the student union in my last year. There are so many opportunities at QMU and I would encourage students to take every one that comes your way.
My ‘top tip’ for making the most of being a student is to just enjoy it, as it truly flies by. I always, always recommend to everyone I know who is going to uni that they join a sports group or society as it truly has such a positive impact on your university experience.
Life after graduation
Since graduating, I now work as an NPD technologist at Youngs Seafood, based between Edinburgh and Glasgow. I started in June 2019 and graduated in July 2019 - it was a real whirlwind as this was the first job I applied for. I started applications for graduate schemes at larger companies in December 2018, but university was hectic with deadlines at the time so I never finished the applications. There are many routes and opportunities within the food industry from working in development, process, quality and technical.
I work in a small team and have gained a great deal of knowledge since starting. It is a fast paced, enjoyable and an exciting industry to be involved in.
Since leaving university I have also continued cheerleading and joined an adult team which was full of current students, ex-students and friends who wanted to give cheerleading a try. In September I also made it onto the Team Scotland Cheerleading Team, which I would never have done if I didn't join the cheerleading society at QMU.
Looking back at my time at QMU, the most valuable things I have learned is to get involved, ask questions, be curious, try new things. University has equipped me with so many transferable skills that I can use not only in my job but in my day to day life.
Published August 2020