Emma Martin Campus to Career
BEng in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering graduate Emma Martin now works as a Bioprocess Engineer at Eli Lilly in Limerick.
Tuesday, 2 July 2024

Limerick native Emma Martin graduated from the Bachelor of Engineering in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering programme at University of Limerick in 2023.

Now working with Eli Lilly as a Bioprocess Engineer. We caught up with Emma to ask about the course, her time at UL, and any advice she might have for Leaving Certificate students.


Why did you choose the BEng in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering?

I always had a passion for Maths and Science subjects, especially Physics and Chemistry while in school. I aspired to study topics that expanded on my existing knowledge while developing skills such as utilising computer programmes in problem-solving for real-life applications. The balance of theory-based teaching and practical laboratory work provided by the Chemical and Biochemical Engineering course really appealed to me and I was excited for the challenges that would come my way. UL provided a great opportunity for me to pursue a field of study that interested me, with the campus located on my doorstep.


What did you enjoy most about the course?

I found the broad range of topics that I studied during my time in UL provided me with the opportunity to discover my strengths and what aspects most interested me while gaining an understanding of important Engineering principles. The course encourages independent study, but offers several possibilities for collaborative work too, especially during the design project undertaken in my final year. I really enjoyed the team aspect of it as it allowed for the sharing of learnings and ideas.


What did you enjoy about UL and what is student life like here?

I really liked the atmosphere around the college, it’s very welcoming and calm (not as much during exam season!) which makes it a nice learning environment day-to-day. The events organized by UL Student Life, clubs, and societies allow students to have a well-balanced experience in college while providing the chance for people with similar interests to meet outside their courses of study.


Where did you complete your Cooperative Education Experience?

I was fortunate to immerse myself in the Eli Lilly site in Kinsale, Co. Cork during my Cooperative Education. I thoroughly enjoyed the time that I spent there, and the support I received from my team and across the site was incredible. It was an unbelievable experience for me as an introduction to the pharmaceutical industry and what it has to offer as a career opportunity. The responsibilities I was given over several projects during my placement allowed me to further develop my skills, such as gaining confidence in my approach to problem solving, and therefore, decision making. These were invaluable to me during my final year and even now as I grow my career.


How did UL support you throughout your studies?

UL offers great educational resources, such as the Maths and Science Learning Centres. These offer student extra support outside of scheduled lectures and tutorials with instructor led sessions. The First Seven Weeks programme supports students as they settle into each new academic year, with a focus on students in their first year of study. This is an excellent example of the support that UL provides as it encourages students to engage in all that is offered by the university.


Can you update us on your career, does it still hold relevance to what you would have studied in UL?

I am pleased to say that I returned to Eli Lilly after graduating in 2023 as a Bioprocess Engineer on the graduate programme. I was given the opportunity to work on the greenfield startup of Eli Lilly’s biotech manufacturing facility in Raheen, Co. Limerick. The subjects I studied in college are still relevant to my current role, especially working on a new site where I’m applying engineering fundamentals on a regular basis. I’m learning constantly, collaborating with cross functional teams while expanding my knowledge base. I find what I do very rewarding, and I really enjoy the dynamic nature of my job as no two days are the same!


What advice would you give to Leaving Certificate students considering the next step in their career journey?

I think that realising what you would like your future career to look like is a great place to start. I would encourage students to choose a field of study that provides experiences to learn and the freedom to pursue what they’re passionate about. I would also like students to remember that your career is exactly that, a journey, and it's what you make it!