After being exposed to a wide range of biological subjects during my undergraduate degree, by my final year it was clear that my main interests lay in plant science and evolution. I decided to pursue postgraduate study through a desire to learn more about these two areas, and also to get an idea of what pursuing a career as a lab-based research scientist would be like. I chose to apply to Cambridge because, in addition to its reputation as centre of research excellence, I was able to find a project that contained elements of all of my main biological interests.
Now a year into my PhD, I am extremely happy with my choice to apply here. Within the Department there is lots of opportunity for scientific discussion with colleagues from a wide range of scientific backgrounds, which is fantastic for broadening my horizons and guiding the focus of my research. There are also regular seminars by visiting scientists with international reputations that have introduced me to a variety of interesting topics and new contacts within my own field. Aside from science itself, the atmosphere in the Department is relaxed and friendly, with regular social events, which makes it a very pleasant place in which to work.
Being part of a specific college's graduate community made it easy to make friends from across the University, which has been an interesting way to learn more about other disciplines, as well as for having fun outside the lab! This year I will be taking up a position as one of the welfare officers on my college's graduate student committee, and am really looking forward to the fresh set of experiences this will give me.