It was very important for me to be in a place which offered a sense of community and opportunities for me to develop as a person. I felt that NTU had these qualities.
More about Rebeca
We caught up with Rebeca to find out about her time at NTU and her exciting career as a Forensic Specialist at British American Tobacco (BAT).
“The main thing that attracted me to NTU was the student satisfaction ratings. I grew up in Spain and so as well as the interesting course content and new facilities being built, it was very important for me (having moved from a different country) to be in a place which offered a sense of community and opportunities for me to develop as a person. I felt that NTU had these qualities.”
“I found the biology and CSI aspects of the course very interesting. I have especially fond memories of my course mates and I suited up in white overalls, ready to take pictures and collect evidence from the crime scene house on site. One of the main transferable skills I gained was presentation skills and being able to speak to people about a specific topic. This is something I now use in my job on a daily basis.”
“I absolutely loved the social aspects of NTU and the wide range of societies and clubs you can get involved in. I was part of the Equestrian society and this allowed me to do something I love as well as meet many people who shared the same interests. I was also lucky enough to be part of the Spanish society committee, which is where I think I made the best friendships, gained more confidence and developed key skills like teamwork, planning and interacting with others.”
“After graduating, I was applying to many jobs but receiving no response or rejections. I did feel de-motivated. I received an email from NTU advertising an internship scheme which would give me industry experience and would help boost my CV. I applied and ended up working for a pharmaceutical company for 2 months. I really enjoyed it and met a lot of interesting people who were able to give me advice and a needed break from the job search. I then returned with a changed mindset and additional skills on my CV. Coincidence or not, I did get the new job of Forensic Analyst shortly after.”
“Being able to work for such a large, multinational company with so much progression and opportunity was definitely an attractive aspect for me when starting my career. The fact that I could also use aspects of what I had studied during my time at NTU was an added benefit. Attention to detail is so important in this line of work and being able to maintain the chain of evidence is crucial for any investigation. These were all skills that I was able to bring to the job from my Forensic Biology course. “
“The main part of my job consists of authenticating BAT’s branded products with the aim of reducing illicit trade within the tobacco industry. This analysis is based on the identification of tobacco packaging materials, features and machinery used to manufacture these. The objective being to identify the source of manufacture whether it be legitimate or illicit.”
“The tobacco/tobacco-free products which we analyse are sent from law enforcement agencies located all over the world, and our work helps with investigations of civil and criminal proceedings. Typically, I will also have to write statements of authenticity to be used in court and make sure that the continuity of evidence is maintained, as many of the samples may arrive in secure evidence bags. There are also a lot of engagement aspects, such as speaking to law enforcement and running awareness training sessions with them on illicit trade.”
“Working within such a specialist field, one of the main highlights of my career was becoming one of two specialists in the whole of BAT who carry out this sort of forensic analysis. It’s something I’m very passionate about and enjoy.”
“Ensuring effective communication with others has occasionally presented challenges, so being able to navigate situations where different backgrounds and personalities come together is very important. I think this comes naturally with experience but finding a mentor can be an added help."