Our studentsGemma Dallas

Gemma studied MPhys Physics, graduating in 2022. We catch up with Gemma to find out how Strathclyde improved her career prospects and what she's up to now.

Please tell us a bit about yourself.

I started at Strathclyde in 2017 studying BSc Maths and Physics before switching to the MPhys Physics degree in my 3rd year. During my time at Strathclyde, I was involved in organising an annual alumni event and was fully supported with my application for the Entrepreneurial Scotland Saltire Scholar Internship Programme. After a successful internship, I completed my fifth year and then joined the Network Rail graduate scheme which I have just recently completed after securing a permanent job as a Scheme Project Manager. My degree provided me with a range of skills and allowed me to realise which career path I wanted to pursue.

Why did you choose to study at Strathclyde?

I was initially drawn to Strathclyde during the application process due to the wide range of degree courses it offered. After attending open days and meeting with lecturers, I could see that I would be given a lot of support at Strathclyde and there was flexibility to switch between courses within schools which really appealed to me. Studying both physics and maths allowed me to study a variety of different classes in my first and second years until I found the areas that I was most interested in. 

What do you think about the University?

I loved my time at Strathclyde. The university is in the heart of the city and easy to get around between buildings for different lectures. There are many study areas and cafes on campus for both individual and group study. The university is very encouraging of gaining experience through work, studies and other activities – I found out about the Camp America process through an event held in the union, so signed up and spent one summer at a summer camp in New Hampshire!

What do you think about Glasgow?

Having grown up in Glasgow, I knew that I wanted to study in the city with all the opportunities it has to offer. The city is lively and offers a great social life but also has many career opportunities in a range of fields.

Why did you choose to study MPhys Physics?

I chose to study maths and physics as they were subjects I enjoyed and knew I could excel in. It was important for me to study for a degree I had an interest in and I would gain a range of skills. I undertook a range of classes from computational physics, experimental physics, statistics and theoretical physics – each providing me with a different skill set and allowing me to find the areas I enjoyed the most. The flexibility and choice of modules I undertook were also really appealing.

How has coming to Strathclyde improved your career prospects?

Not only do I have the skills and knowledge from my degree course, but I was made aware of the career paths previous alumni from my course had taken and introduced to a range of career opportunities I wouldn’t otherwise have known about. There were events and information sessions arranged to hear from professionals from a variety of industries to share their insights and ask questions. I was also introduced to the Entrepreneurial Scotland Saltire Programme through Strathclyde and received a lot of support from the careers service when completing my application. The internship I secured at Network Rail was significant in providing me with experience in a new industry and finding what career I wanted to continue with.

Which services have you used within the University?

I made great use of the careers service when applying for internships and graduate jobs. I used their online help booklets to prepare CVs and practice for interviews, and I also had meetings with careers advisors who provided tips on how to improve my CV. I found the careers service to be easy to navigate and very well run.

What has been your greatest achievement to date?

I received a Dean’s List certificate for meritorious academic performance in my 3rd year and also achieved a First class in my MPhys degree.

What are your plans for the future?

Since finishing my graduate scheme and securing my permanent role as a Scheme Project Manager, I want to focus on building my skills and confidence in my new role. The role enables me to work with a multi-disciplinary team, where I can learn from each individual. The skills I have gained from my graduate scheme and this role so far will be significant in helping me progress in a management role, both within the railway and in other industries.

What would be your biggest piece of advice to new students?

My advice to new students would be to enjoy each year as it comes and make the most of all opportunities. Being at Strathclyde is a great experience and you should enjoy all aspects of it from studying to the social aspect - I recommend going along to events, even if it seems too early to think about careers after you finish your degree, to find out what is on offer and speak to people to show interest. It is exciting to see what opportunities lie ahead and what you could get involved in!