Lois O'Leary

The communication skills gained from learning a language and the importance placed on communicating chemistry at Manchester have set me in excellent stead for the job market.

Current position: Associate Editor for ChemCatChem

Company: Wiley-VCH publishers

 

What route have you taken to get to your current position?

After seeing an advert for entry level editorial roles with Chemistry journals in New Scientist magazine and applying, I flew to the Wiley offices in Germany for an interview in June, then started work the September after graduation.

Although my work is done primarily in English, my employers were impressed with my Erasmus experience and level of German. My year at Freiburg University in Germany had improved my German massively and helped me to integrate into the culture well when I moved there for the job.

What does this position involve?

    • Copy editing and managing the work done by freelancers
    • Selecting referees for peer review to assess the quality of the science in manuscripts submitted to the journal and using this to make an informed decision on the article
    • Editing graphics and layout
    • Visiting conferences to promote the journal and meet our authors and readers
    • Writing, for example, editorials or articles for ChemistryViews, an online Chemistry news site

What do you most enjoy about your current role?

The co-work with my colleagues and the level of responsibility and input I have in the journal. Reading new research in chemistry and catalysis is a pleasure and editing text and graphics appeals to my creative side. I also enjoy the correspondence we have with our authors.

What did you most enjoy about your course?

I really enjoyed my MChem 4th year research project and, because this required a lot of investigation by using NMR, I could make good use of the fantastic NMR spectrometers in the department as well as the crystallography services. The modules I enjoyed the most were inorganic chemistry and biochemistry.

What skills/knowledge from your degree have you found particularly helpful in this role?

The communication skills gained from learning a language and the importance placed on communicating chemistry at Manchester have set me in excellent stead for the job. Likewise, the confidence gained in networking at the large recruitment fairs and events provided by the University of Manchester serves me well when visiting conferences.

The MChem project, in addition to a research project carried out at Freiburg, has given me invaluable experience in the world of research and scientific literature. 

What advice would you give to students applying for the same course that you took?

Make the most of the language courses provided by the university and contribute as much as you can; learning a language is trial and error! Seek out someone from the country you will be visiting to practise the language through the University's Language Centre.

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