Wexford native Blanaid, enjoyed the emphasis toward the practical side of food science rather than fully focusing on the theory side
What attracted you to study at Waterford Institute of Technology?
I liked the size of the college it wasn’t massive and it didn’t feel too intimidating compared to bigger colleges. I liked that everything was in one spot and I didn’t have to go far to get to my classes.
Did you always know this was the course you wanted to do?
I knew I wanted to do something related to food. It was always the only thing I ever had any interest in from how it’s made to how different processes work. After some research into different food science courses I felt that the course in WIT suited my abilities the best. I’m a very practical person and I don’t learn well by reading lecture notes and that’s where Waterford won because there was more of an emphasis toward the practical side of the science rather than just fully focusing on the theory side.
What have you done in life prior to studying here?
I went straight into college from secondary school.
What did you like about Waterford as a city to live in/to study in?
I love Waterford, it’s one of my favourite places. I love it so much I live there now. The rent for students in Waterford compared to the larger cities is much more reasonable and you definitely get good value for money. There’s a good variety of places and some are more expensive than others but places like Riverwalk which is where I lived for most of my college time, it was really reasonable and the apartments were nice and clean - it wasn’t any kind of luxurious living but it was secure and safe.
How did this add to your college experience?
I think work placement is so underrated - most people do not realise how beneficial it is. One of the reasons I picked Waterford was because in the third year of the course there was a 4 month placement in industry and having that before you even leave is so helpful when you’re building up your experience.
After completing my course I...
When I graduated I started working in Teagasc in Wexford as an unpaid intern. I was there for 5 months and in between working there I worked in a hotel laundry room - I know living the dream! I found it tough to get a job and went on many interviews but I never looked at the no as a negative. The more experience you get in an interview the better. There is so many learnings you can take from them and don’t be afraid to ask employers about your interview and where you can improve etc.
For the last year and a half now I’ve been working for Danone Nutricia Ireland as a Consumer Complaints Coordinator after first starting off with a six month summer student placement programme to now as a full time employee.
How did your experience at WIT help get you to where you are now?
I think the best thing I ever did for myself was the BSc in Food Science and Innovation. Before that I was not ready to be released into the great big world as a struggling graduate. The fourth year really shaped my perception of the industry I was entering into and it really helped me grow as a person and gain confidence in my abilities as a scientist. It was the hardest thing I have ever endured in my life but it was so worth it every time. I wouldn’t be where I am now without it.
Anything you'd like to add
I think for anyone looking to do science in their future should definitely consider WIT. I wouldn’t have the same knowledge of the industry I’m working in now had I have chosen to study somewhere else.