My name is Stephen Buckley and I’m originally from Queens, New York. While attending the University at Albany I initially studied Business before changing my major to Biology out of pure curiosity; this hybrid of interests led me to look for a master’s program to accommodate. Not completely sure what path I wanted to go career wise, I wanted to keep my options open while furthering my education. I stumbled upon UCC’s Molecular Cell Biology and Bioinnovation Msc program, and it seemed to be tailor made for my vague ambitions. I chose this course for its interdisciplinary nature, permitting me to pursue different career paths; whether it be science, business, or even law.
I enjoyed most of the lectures and the topics covered, giving a spectrum of ideas to think about and analyze. The science facet of the program stressed recently published scientific literature, which I value due to the ever-evolving scientific environment. It isn’t easy to keep up with all the new scientific discoveries, and I feel it is an important skill to work on, because memorizing vocabulary and cycles is not as important as interpreting and analyzing data. The practical portion of the program let us experience the lab first hand, which was a needed experience considering I didn’t have much previous lab training. The skills I learned throughout the program, including: mining through scientific papers to find relevant data, interpreting data, laboratory techniques, business skills, finding market opportunities; sparked my interest in the Synthetic Biology field.
This led to my current position as a research assistant, in the same lab I completed my practical in. Now I focus on working with a PhD student to fulfill grant related goals, while also bringing technologies developed in the lab to market. While I am not writing off pursuing a PhD in the future, I’m currently happy combining the science/business skills I previously thought were separate entities.
I am also in a graduate business innovation program based in UCC called IGNITE, allowing me access to mentors and relevant experts to help me learn how to successfully commercialize products built in the lab. I didn’t realize the business/entrepreneurial driven nature of UCC until I was here, and was honestly impressed by the encouragement and support given to students and recent graduates to create businesses and become entrepreneurs. After realizing that combining business and biology is a field within itself, I am focused on pursuing a bio-entrepreneurial path. UCC and Cork in general is an ideal place for people who want to break into the biotech field, with several incubator programs helping start-ups and several Bio-pharma companies around the area.
The Molecular Cell Biology and Bioinnovation program gave me the opportunity to learn the necessary skills for my current position, while strengthening my CV to become a more competitive potential PhD candidate.