Friday, 17 May 2013

My Sheffield Adventure

Ilida Ortega Asencio is a bioengineer in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.  Her work includes stem cell research and a corneal implant that could reverse corneal blindness.  Here, she talks about leaving Spain and her Sheffield Adventure.
"My Sheffield Adventure has turned around my career and my life."
It was approximately 3 years ago when I first came to The University of Sheffield. I perfectly remember the taxi I took from Doncaster airport to Crookesmoor. It was dark and damp - nothing like my sunny Spanish town. For some strange reason I wasn't sad and I kept thinking 'It will be fine. This place feels good'. 

The next day I went to The University and My Sheffield Adventure started. I couldn´t believe how helpful and enthusiastic everybody was! I went back to Spain to finish my PhD already planning when to come back. After my PhD viva I came back as a post-doc, first with a 1-year Welcome Trust funded contract and later with my current EPSRC fellowship which I am doing in The Department of Materials Science and Engineering in the Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering Group.

In this small article I would like to talk to you about my experiences at The University of Sheffield and tell you my opinion on what Sheffield has meant to me from a personal and career-development point of view.

As many readers will know, developing a career in science is never easy….in any country….in any institution or university…. Academia is a competitive environment that sometimes can be very frustrating, although at the same time it can offer the most exciting and gratifying experiences. Having said that I think The University of Sheffield offers a great environment for career development. It is a friendly and multidisciplinary place that allows networking with experts in many different fields. This university can provide you with a broad the range of opportunities and help: mentoring, media-communication workshops, leadership schemes, fellowship-writing advice, extra funding for enterprise and so on. I take any opportunity to participate in these events. I would like to encourage everybody else to do it. I know we all have very tight timetables but honestly,  Do it! It is worth it! 

I think we are always complaining about what we don´t have. I would like to make you think about what you have! Think of all the opportunities this University can offer and try to appreciate them! Sadly, in other places, they don´t have those opportunities and people really struggle.

In summary, My Sheffield Adventure has turned around my career and my life. From a personal point of view Sheffield is a very special place for me; from a scientific career point of view I definitely have improved my skills, my general knowledge and my publication track since I am here. 

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