Postgraduate profile: Ashleigh Griffith
What do you particularly enjoy about postgraduate study in the Chemical Synthesis CDT?
Having a cohort means you have support from very early on at the start of your PhD, you spend most of the PACT term discussing chemistry with them and this becomes very easy to do even after the PACT term stops. Also, with the number of students from various cohorts occupying the labs across the SCB, there is almost always someone who you can contact from each lab, and it feels like the department as a whole might be more cohesive than if these connections were absent.
What are the facilities like?
The lab and general facilities are excellent, although adequate space for the whole group can be an issue. The NMR facilities have an excellent quality and range of instruments, capable now of experiments above and beyond what I would expect. The Mass Spec facilities are good and it is fairly easy to find someone to talk to if there is a problem.
How much support do you get from staff?
During the PACT term there is plenty of support from fellow cohort members, Emma and Kev. After you settle into a group, it is easier to decide exactly how much support you need from fellow groups members and your supervisor.
How does postgraduate study differ from an undergraduate degree?
It involves more independence, but also knowing when to consult your supervisor for extra support. It will involve a lot more reading and more in-depth discussion of chemistry with the rest of the group.
Is there anything you would want to tell a prospective postgraduate student considering studying for a PhD in Chemical Synthesis at our EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training?
Definitely keep your options open. The whole idea of PACT is to broaden your synthetic chemistry skills and knowledge; in doing so you might potentially discover a different area of chemistry that interests you.
Why did you decide to apply for this programme versus the normal route PhD?
It seemed like a good way of getting a feel of the chemistry and the groups before I joined one, because I had no idea what really interested me research wise. I also think that the brain storming sessions for each proposal and RBS mean that you are better prepared when you start, and that the project can be a better fit for the student and the student can be a better fit for the project than a more direct application.
What are you planning to do after completing your studies?
I am unsure as of yet, I am possibly looking into applying for jobs that will involve planning science events for the general public or something that involves demonstrating or Outreach opportunities.