RGU and the City

Two masters level students will reflect on their time in Aberdeen - where they became best friends - when they graduate from Robert Gordon University this week. 

Kerry Polson & Christine LoebKerry Polson and Christine Loeb, who were both drawn to study in Aberdeen due to its globally-renowned higher education sector, have secured prestigious PhD positions in Glasgow and Germany respectively.

Both will graduate with distinction from the School of Pharmacy and Life Science’s MSc Instrumental Analytical Science degree in a morning ceremony at Aberdeen Music Hall on Friday 7 December.

Kerry, 23, who lived in Jopps Lane during her five years of study at RGU, moved from Falkirk in 2007 to begin an undergraduate degree in Forensic Science with Law.

She said: “I had been to open days at other universities but after seeing the facilities at RGU I really wanted to come to Aberdeen. The crime scene exercise rooms were particularly impressive.”

After finishing her bachelor’s degree, Kerry felt that the Masters programme offered a natural progression for her studies, and particularly the two electives modules which focused on DNA and Drug analysis.

Coming from further afield, Christine, 25, originally moved to Bon Accord Street, Aberdeen, in 2010 from Mainz in Germany. She had always wanted to visit Scotland and her German university -the University of Applied Science in Bonn - offered a double degree programme for her undergraduate Forensic and Analytical Science course.

The transition from the German system was not without its challenges, as Christine initially had to adjust to the essay writing style required in the UK and also found it hard living far from her family for so long. However her wealth of experience in the laboratory placed her highly among her peers as she quickly scored highest in skill tests.

In 2011, Christine received degrees from both universities and immediately decided to stay on at RGU for her Masters year.

She said: “Since I was very happy with the teaching methods, lab setup and fellow students, I decided to stay another year. Fortunately for me the perfect Masters course I was looking for was offered at RGU.”
In terms of highlights, Kerry especially enjoyed the crime scene and moot court exercises. From a social perspective, she also felt well supported by the university’s Forensic Society which organises nights out, themed events and visiting lecturer presentations.

Christine agreed: “I liked the extensive laboratory work during the projects and the course’s focus on the forensic side of science, which encouraged us to apply analytical thinking to problem solving. Being taught how to act in moot court scenarios was also great, the essence of which is very helpful in job interviews.”

This week, the returning students will celebrate their graduation and recently-secured PhDs. Kerry has begun her PhD at the University of Strathclyde in the centre of nanometrology - a position which she secured partially through her masters project which focused on the synthesis of microparticles.

She said: “I feel that the extra time in the laboratory during my masters course put me into an advantageous position when it came time to apply for a PhD, as it showed that I was able to self motivate and take charge of my own project.”

Christine is doing her PhD in industry at the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment in the Unit of Analytics and Exposure Assessment in Berlin. Her research will be carried out in the National Reference Laboratory for Materials in Contact with Food where she aims to determine the amount of toxic volatile organic compounds that are emitted from everyday items. She was chosen for the position out of 123 applicants.

Christine said: “I’m really looking forward to graduating with Kerry. Our friendship motivated us to work hard in our course and we helped each other find PhD places. The ceremony will allow us to celebrate this.”

Issued by:
Sarah Grieve
Communications Office
Robert Gordon University
Tel: 01224 262389
Mob: 07970 622229