Katherine Abbott studied BSc Food Science at the University of Leeds

Katherine Abbott

Why did you choose to study food science and nutrition? 

I have always been interested in food and the science behind it. It’s a fast paced industry that is always evolving and growing in some way.

There is always going to be food and the industry is always going to be facing new challenges.

What attracted you to the University of Leeds?

I fell in love with the city straight away. I grew up in a small village and so the prospect of moving to a big city was really exciting.

The University itself has a great reputation – especially for the food science courses which made me want to come here even more.

I love the campus and the union. There is so much to do and get involved in. It’s a great place to come – it’s got everything you could want as a student - the nightlife, the shopping and the great academic reputation. 

Did you visit us on an Open Day? Did you find that experience helpful in making your decision?

Yes and yes. Coming to the Open Day confirmed for me that Leeds was where I wanted to be. 

I liked the fact that the School of Food Science and Nutrition is relatively small and everyone made me feel welcome and I wanted to be a part of that – you immediately feel like you are a part of something. 

Which aspect of food science do you find the most interesting? 

There’s a lot of variety in food and that’s what I like – no two things are the same.

It’s always changing, and there are always new discoveries on how to make a food better or how to produce it more efficiently.

Everything about it is interesting because there are just endless things you could learn. 

How would you describe your lecturers and tutors?

Friendly and approachable. I am always in and out of the lab to see different lecturers about something and they are really easy to talk to and always willing to help – even if it is something really basic!

I really struggled with one of my modules this year but the lecturer was always able to fit me in so I could ask him about the topic and it really helped me.

I think because the School is small it means we all know the lecturers well.

Have you taken advantage of the flexibility of your course and enrolled in any discovery modules outside of food science? 

This year I am doing a psychology module on animal behaviour as I studied the topic in A-Level Biology, so it’s quite interesting to do something different from food. 

Can you explain a day in the life of a food science and nutrition student?

Busy and hard-working. We have lab sessions once or twice a week and throughout the year we have different assignments and lab reports to write so you’re always doing something, but you have enough free time to go and play sport or join different societies. I think it’s a good balance. 

How would you describe student life at Leeds?

I absolutely love being a student here. I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.

It’s an amazing city with so much going on. The nights out here are great and the clubs and societies that you can join in the Union are so varied.

Halls in first year were such a great way to meet friends. I lived in Central Village so I was close to the city centre as well as the University - it was the best of both worlds!

Have you joined any clubs and societies on campus? 

I joined the rowing team last year, and I have gone to a few give-it-a-go sessions this year, such as handball and ballroom dancing!

I am also part of the Food Science Society which has been a great way to meet everyone and this year I’m on the committee so we have organised lots of different socials for the first-years to meet each other, to stop that first year being so daunting!

Do you have an idea of what you might like to do at the end of your course?

I have an industrial placement for my third year with Mondel─ôz International who own Cadbury’s. I’m working in the R&D team for Process Solutions in Chocolate in Birmingham.

Having the option to do an industrial year will hopefully help me decide on what I would like to do when I graduate.

It would be nice to get a job with Mondel─ôz afterwards but it depends on what area I find the most interesting and want to go in to.

There are so many job prospects in food and loads of graduate schemes to get on to. 

What would you say to anyone thinking of applying to your course?

Do it. The course is hard but the work is worthwhile, the job prospects are endless and it is a really interesting degree and area to go into.

I would really recommend the year in industry – it's only one extra year to your degree but having that behind you could really help you when you graduate.