Earlier this month, my colleague Laura Fulford and I attended the University of Dundee’s life sciences careers conference (that’s Laura on the left and me on the right). Both Laura and I are alumni of the university. Laura graduated in 2012 with a PhD in molecular biology and I graduated last year with an honours degree in biochemistry. Prepress Projects has strong ties with the University of Dundee: 7 of our 24 employees are graduates of the university.
We had initially been in contact with the university to advertise our upcoming summer internship and as a result of this we were invited to speak at their life sciences careers conference. Many life sciences students are unaware of the career opportunities that their degree can bring, often believing that research and teaching are the only options open to them. The conference takes place every year and is aimed at third-year undergraduate students to offer ideas for future career paths and broaden their horizons. This year’s event hosted a variety of speakers, including scientific consultants/recruiters, PhD students, doctors, professors and representatives from Dundee Science Centre, to name but a few.
Around 50 students came to hear our presentation – another presenter kindly commented that our talk was clearly a highlight of the day. We spoke about our individual career paths, scientific publishing in general and Prepress Projects in particular. We wanted to appeal to those who were interested in research as well as those interested in publishing, so we spent some time talking about editorial office management and how a piece of research transitions from initial submission to publication in a book or journal. We also had the chance to advertise our summer internship, which, not surprisingly, generated a lot of interest.
We also manned a small exhibition stand, showcasing the variety of publications we work on and enticing students with free chocolates. Our stand was extremely busy, particularly with students interested in the internship, several of whom had already applied. There were also quite a few individuals with general questions about how to get started in publishing, as it was not a career choice they had previously considered. We were impressed by the level of interest the students showed, the questions they asked and the number of chocolates they ate.
The day was a great opportunity to put Prepress Projects onto the map and develop a range of contacts. Just before leaving, the university’s life sciences careers advisor offered us the opportunity to come back to the university at any time to talk about scientific publishing or publishing in general. We really enjoyed the experience – it was a fruitful way to promote the company and inform undergraduates about publishing as a career option.