David Kennedy

Why did you choose Bristol for your BSc?

“I wanted to study at an internationally recognised centre of excellence for cutting edge medical research. The flexibility offered by Bristol in second and third years really appealed as it allowed me to pick modules based on my specific interests. Also, I have always found it important to engage in extracurricular activities to provide a break from studying and the Student Union provides countless opportunities for that.”

How would you sum up your experience?

“Overwhelmingly positive. I really enjoyed the close link between lectures and laboratory work which helped put the theory into practice. The course load is heavy but manageable and there is a good progression of independent work from first year through third year. For me the final year research project was both the most rewarding and the most challenging part of my degree. Working long hours independently in a lab teaches you discipline and the value of hard work as the responsibility is on you to figure out why an experiment is not progressing as planned.”

What were the staff like?

“They were always available to answer questions about lecture material, tutorial assignments and laboratory work. I found the personal tutor system to be very beneficial to my overall experience as from day one there is a support network established for helping you settle in to university life.”

How did your degree influence what you did next?

“During my degree my interest progressed towards infectious diseases, epidemiology and global health. I decided to apply for a Masters at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the Control of Infectious Diseases – the theory and transferable skills I learned throughout my time at Bristol proved invaluable. For my thesis I was keen to focus on the application of technology to disease control and had the opportunity to spend the summer working with the Argentinean Ministry of Health to establish a disease surveillance system, before spending a month with the WHO Centre for Antimicrobial Resistance at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston. I have worked closely with a number of NGOs in Ireland, Zambia, Haiti and India, which developed my desire to work as a doctor in the developing world. My major interest is in the provision of cancer care to areas with little or no access to these resources and I feel that my course in Bristol helped develop this interest by teaching me the fundamental biology behind the development of disease. I later volunteered in Georgetown University Hospital working in the paediatric oncology wards whilst also applying to study graduate medicine in the UK. In 2012 I was accepted on to the four-year Graduate and Professional Entry Programme at King’s College London.”

What advice would you offer to any students contemplating a place at Bristol?

“Do it! For me it was a thoroughly enjoyable three years combining excellent, approachable lecturers with top of the range facilities and unbeatable opportunities all within the best city in the UK. The skills I learned and the friends I made will stay with me for the rest of my life and allow me to get to where I want to be.”

Graduate profile

David Kennedy | BSc in Cancer Biology and Virology | MSc in Control of Infectious Diseases, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine | Now working as a Data Analyst with Cancer Research UK

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