Student profile

Megan Edwards

"One of the highlights of my placement at GlaxoSmithKline was the additional skills I didn’t expect to learn in a lab-based setting, such as procurement, project management, event planning and EHS engagement."

Placement company


Choosing Surrey

I originally chose Surrey due to its beautiful campus. I fell in love with the lake immediately and felt that the opportunity to live on a separate campus (Manor Park) to where my studies are based (Stag Hill) suited my need to separate work and home.  

I also loved the sense of community among the students and the passion of the staff. I think these are the fundamentals of what makes Surrey so welcoming, which of course is important when you’re first considering moving away from home.  

Studying microbiology

Microbiology is such a critical field of study within biosciences. Especially post-pandemic, I think it’s so important to study and understand the intricate details of microbes, from bacteria and fungi to viruses and protozoa, and how they impact our health and are used in industrial processes.  

On this course, we’ve had the opportunity to be in labs from the start which I find to be a really engaging way to learn. The Innovation for Health Learning Laboratory is state of the art.  

The School of Biosciences is overflowing with passionate and inspirational lecturers, most of whom have their own research projects which inspire and enrich their teaching.  

My placement year

I completed a Professional Training year at GlaxoSmithKline in Worthing, West Sussex. I was a strain improvement microbiologist, working on a high-throughput screen for the active pharmaceutical ingredient in a current market antibiotic, Augmentin.  

This was an eight- to 12-week cycle working with bacterial cells and spores, during which 6,000-12,000 strains were tested per week with the aim of reducing carbon dioxide emissions and costs of production without capital expenditure through the selection of new strains with higher yields than production controls. 

One of the highlights of the placement were the additional skills I didn’t expect to learn in a lab-based setting, such as procurement, project management, event planning and EHS engagement. I became a STEM ambassador, volunteering in the local community to increase engagement with STEM subjects. I was nominated as the Worthing Committee Sports Lead for the placement student union and completed an industrial cadets award for which I achieved Platinum Leader level.  

The best things about life here

Guildford is a beautiful town with lots of lovely restaurants and bars, and it’s less than an hour away from London. My favourite place is Guildford Castle, especially in the spring once the new tulips have been planted. There are also lots of activities to do in the town, including bottomless bowling, mini golf and swimming. 

The best thing about being at Surrey is the lifelong friends I’ve made. 


Find out more about our Microbiology BSc.

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