Heather Jenkins

MSci Chemistry with Industrial Experience, 2019
Senior Product Development Technologist, Unilever

My role in research and development involves developing new ice cream recipes for brands such as Cornetto and Carte D’Or. An average day might include a pilot plant trial of a new product, project meetings with key stakeholders or attending a tasting session to assess a new flavour. 

What is the best thing about what you are doing now?

I am a chemist come baker at heart, so developing recipes and experimenting is something I love to do. Having the opportunity to taste new Magnum and Ben & Jerry’s flavours is also a perk!

How has your career developed since graduating?

I applied for this role while revising for my final year exams, and was lucky enough to start even before graduation. I did a year in industry in the Air Wick department of Reckitt Benckiser as part of my degree, which sparked my interest in fast moving consumer goods initially. 

What motivates you?

I am most motivated when I am creating something – so seeing a product that I’ve worked on actually in the market is a very rewarding feeling! 

Heather Jenkins

Why did you originally apply to Birmingham?

When I visited on an Open Day I was captivated by the lovely campus! The Admissions Team were also wonderful and took into account that I did the International Baccalaureate at school rather than A levels (which not many universities did).

What are your fondest memories of the University?

I have such fond memories of going to the Vale Fireworks every year, and just sitting out in the sun on campus between lectures.

Did you get involved in any extracurricular activities as a student?

I joined the Recreational Volleyball Club in first year and continued all the way through to my masters! I also got involved with the Student Mentor Scheme with the Guild of Students, and helped first year students move into their accommodation. 

How did your time at the University help you start your career?

Without a doubt my year in industry had the biggest impact on my career prospects after university. It gave me an understanding of the working world that I would not have gained otherwise, and the skills I developed were invaluable when job applications and interviews came along.

We Are (Third Width)

What advice would you give to current students studying on your degree programme?

If you’re applying for your year in industry placement – don’t give up! It’s tough having to write job applications as well as study, but it really is worth it in the long term. 

A final word from Heather

“I had such an incredible four years in Birmingham – thank you to everyone I met along the way!”