It was whilst studying for an undergraduate degree in biology at Swansea University that Jake Samuel realised his real passion; one that would become the focal point of his career path since, and one that The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity is excited to be involved in.
Jake graduated from Swansea University with a first-class degree, but also completed short courses in renal physiology and cognitive neuroscience in the Netherlands at Radboud University.
“It was there (Radboud University) that I discovered that pursuing a career in biomedicine and solving complex healthcare problems was my real passion,” revealed Jake. “After graduating, I worked as a laboratory technician at Mars Inc. for a year, gaining experience in the commercialisation of scientific research, before returning to postgraduate education.”
This is where The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity came in, with Jake applying to the charity for one of its interest-free education loans to further his qualifications, knowledge and experience.
“I found out about the charity when reading ‘The Alternate Guide to Post-Graduate Funding’; a guidebook containing details of all the available grants and bursaries you can use to finance a master’s degree,” revealed Jake.
“The application form was very easy to complete,” he added, “and the interview was conducted in a very friendly way, with the interviewers keen to know how this course would improve my career prospects.”
Successful in his application, Jake utilised his loan to pay part of his tuition fee, as he enrolled on a MRes in Biomedical Research at Imperial College London; taking advantage of the fact that The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity’s education loans can be utilised to study anywhere in the world.
“I’ve recently received a distinction grade for my first six-month project,” revealed Jake, “where I attempted to model a 3D blood vessel outside of the body.
“The course at Imperial was attractive to me, because it involved spending 12 months in the laboratory,” added Jake. “However, this course’s structure means I will be utilising large quantities of consumables – and as a result there is a correspondingly high tuition fee to cover these costs.
“For me, it was a no-brainer to undertake my post-graduate education here. Imperial consistently ranks amongst the best universities in the world and has an excellent reputation for training world leaders in biomedical research.
“Being located in London has many advantages, but it’s particularly useful in a scientific sense; being surrounded by a myriad of prestigious institutions and organisations who collaborate with like-minded scientists to maximise the impact of work.”
In addition to his recent distinction, things have gone incredibly well for Jake at Imperial College London to date, with brand-new opportunities presenting themselves to him off the pack of his progress thus far; something that the charity is delighted to hear.
“I’ve been able to network and collaborate with world-leading experts within various research areas. As a result, I have been offered a PhD position at the Imperial Institute for Chemical Biology. My project will aim to establish a 3D model of the gut within a laboratory setting; with a vision of using this model to improve the efficacy of orally-administered drugs. This PhD will give me the knowledge and experience to embark on my journey towards eventually running my own group.”
This brings us nicely to Jake’s career ambitions which, as you would imagine for a 23-year-old that has already excelled in his studies, are impressive.
“I would like to be the Principle Investigator of my own research group,” he said. “Should I be in this position in the future, I would place particular emphasis on translating the findings of biological research into patient benefit.”
“I would advise anyone looking to undertake postgraduate study to apply for the Sir Thomas White loan,” concluded Jake.
“In my own experience, having financial help from the charity has rid me of any money-related worry and has allowed me to commit fully to my studies and progress on to achieve my aspirations.”
For more information on The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity’s education loans, please click here