Caleb Cullen is a Wexford native who started on the BSc (Hons) Molecular Biology with Biopharmaceutical Science in SETU Waterford in 2020. Caleb, one of five President’s scholars to start that year, joined SETU straight from sixth year in Ramsgrange Community College. His overall experience in SETU is that the community of lecturers and students alike make SETU a welcoming experience. Here’s what he has to say about his time in SETU so far.
Interest in science right from the start
I was lucky enough to know what I wanted to study so it was an easy decision to go straight from school to college. I have always had an interest in all things science, especially biology. Ever since I was a young age, I have always asked questions about things I notice in the natural world, and these questions led me to my passion for science, for digging into the biggest questions which need answers, hoping one day to aid in revealing more information regarding the fundamental biology of all living things.
I really liked the community atmosphere I experienced at open days, information days and the Try Science day which all helped me experience what studying at SETU would be like. This community atmosphere was very welcoming as I was transitioning from second level to third level, and I knew SETU was the place for me.
Try science and open days
I have always had an interest in biology. Throughout second level as I was learning more and more about the different areas of biology, the area of cellular study struck me most, and after browsing the CAO and attending the Try Science day at SETU, I knew the BSc (Hons) Molecular Biology with Biopharmaceutical Science was perfect for me.
Small classes make all the difference
I like the small class numbers in my course. In lectures there is approximately 35 students, which is about as much as my second level class. In labs this is even less with approximately 12 students per group. The small classes makes a stronger community of students and lecturers alike, which I particularly found comfort in.
Eyes on the long-term plan to work in gene therapy
The hope is to move into research and development in the area of gene therapy. While this may not be possible straight after graduation, I hope that with a Masters and possible PhD, I will be able to achieve my goals.
Mixing with lots of different students
I really enjoy all of the interconnecting groups of students within different courses. You get to meet many different students from all over Ireland and the world and get to enjoy college together and have people to help you when needed.
Make sure to do your research and choose the course that suits you best
I would advise student researching their options to look not only look at course suitability but also college suitability. While there may be the perfect course which you like in Dublin or elsewhere, look for alternative courses in other colleges, and choose the one which suits you best. With the rising cost of accommodation, travel etc., the most suitable college may not be the one you first thought.
Sense of community hard to find elsewhere
Its situation in Waterford, Carlow and Wexford makes it a much cheaper option than other colleges throughout the country in terms of accommodation, and more than likely courses can be found here that are similar than other colleges. The atmosphere here also creates a sense of community which can be hard to find elsewhere.