‘When I think of WGS, I think of Opportunity’

December 19, 2023

Those were some of the words spoken by alumna Dr Kerry Nield (Class of 1993) speaking to pupils at an assembly in November. Kerry had attended Withington for Sixth Form and had received bursary support. She returned to Withington to share with current pupils what that had meant to her and how she felt her life had changed as a result.

‘Coming to Withington taught me self-belief. Being awarded a place felt like validation and helped me to believe that I could do well.’

She added: ‘I felt like I belonged at Withington. At first, everyone seemed to know much more than me. However, slowly but surely Withington instilled in me the sense that we could all be whatever we wanted to be.’

Kerry went on to study Human Genetics at University College London before moving back to Manchester to complete her PhD in Molecular Genetics. After working as a Postdoctoral Research Associate, she moved into research and development and then into biotech. She is currently the Director of Clinical Programmes at Blueberry Therapeutics Ltd.

She explained to students that, when choosing what to study at university or for a career, it can hard to see beyond the vocational subjects like medicine or dentistry which are often the focus for STEM students.

‘There are so many different roles in the pharmaceutical industry – government metrics show that the UK life sciences industry employed 268,000 people across 6,330 businesses and generated a turnover of £88.9 billion in 2020.’

She encouraged students to think broadly and not be afraid of change.

‘The experience of being welcomed into the WGS family and how quickly my life changed – the choices open to me seemed to expand overnight. This taught me that everything changes, sometimes for good, sometimes not. Sometimes things don’t go to plan, but every day is a blank page and you can write your own story on it.’

We would like to say thank you to Kerry, pictured here with the Head Girl team, for sharing her story with our students. It was a very inspiring assembly which touched those listening, both students and staff.