School of Biological and Chemical Sciences

Chemistry student Alina Zakrjevsky secures placement at Roche

In this blog, we spoke to second-year undergraduate Chemistry student, Alina Zakrjevsky. Alina recently secured a placement in Medicinal Chemistry at Roche in Switzerland – one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world.

21 November 2018

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Alina Zakrjevsky

This 12-month placement which starts in September 2019 will see Alina integrated into one of their research laboratories, exposed to the key elements in drug discovery and development and have the chance to work in leading multidisciplinary research teams. Alina is one of only 20 students selected across the whole of Europe to receive this incredible opportunity.

How was the application process?

Applying online to Roche was quite straightforward. I just needed to submit my CV and write a little bit about my work experience. I managed to get an interview, which took place online and lasted for about 30 minutes. I was asked about my motivation for applying to the programme, followed by loads of technical questions which tested my knowledge of practical and organic chemistry.

What support did you receive for your application?

My supervisor Dr Jones, and advisor Dr Di Tommaso went through my CV and cover letter multiple times as I edited and improved them. Several of my organic lecturers arranged do to mock interviews with me so by the time the interview came around, I’d had a few mock interviews which was very helpful. I felt confident in my ability for the application process as my mentor, Stefan Bishop, has continuously helped me navigate the science field through his knowledge, which has been invaluable to my progression as a scientist.

What are your expectations of the placement?

I’m really looking forward to it, as I’ll be living in Switzerland for a year. The location is great as it’s only a 20-minute cycle to the French and German borders. My placement is research-based which is what I want to do in the future so I think this will set me up very well for a career in research. There are a lot of benefits to the placement and it seems like a great company to work for.

What would you like to do in the future?

I would like to work in the field of synthetic chemistry. I am most interested in applying synthetic principles to green chemistry, as I wish to make a positive contribution to the environment through science. This will involve designing synthetic routes which reduce/prevent the use and production of environmentally hazardous substances, whilst still producing the same everyday products that we need.

Learn more about the Chemistry with a Year in Industry/Research programme