Chemistry graduate Elisabeth Feldstein reflects on the opportunities she grasped as a student, from supporting women in STEM to co-founding a medical device start-up.
Master of Chemistry (MChem)
|Year of graduation||2019|
Your time at the University
Growing up in Canada the decision to study abroad was not one taken lightly. However, when the time came to choose where I wanted to study, I was certain of a few things; I sought adventure, independence, and opportunity. I knew that all these things were available to me in Scotland at the University of Edinburgh. This was confirmed when I visited the University as an offer-holder where I was impressed by the facilities, became aware of the world-renowned teaching, and most of all was in awe of the beautiful city. I can say with utmost confidence that my successes to date can largely be attributed to my time at the University of Edinburgh.
During my five years studying at the University, and in the School of Chemistry specifically, I was able to take advantage of numerous opportunities which helped me mature and develop my interpersonal, professional, and technical skills. One of the most satisfying was during my third year of study when, with support from the School of Chemistry, I founded the Edinburgh University Women in STEM Society. It’s been great to watch the society grow and thrive after my two years as the first President and I have been fortunate enough to work alongside the society as an alumnus as well.
Another notable experience was in my fifth and final year when I was part of a team of multi-disciplined peers who co-founded Augment Bionics, a medical device start-up. Augment Bionics has become a huge part of my life and has allowed me to develop my abilities as I initially made the transition to follow a commercial-based role.
Augment Bionics has become a huge part of my life and has allowed me to develop my abilities as I initially made the transition to follow a commercial-based role.
Your experiences since leaving the University
After graduating from the School of Chemistry I joined Johnson Matthey in September 2019 as part of their Global Graduate Program in the USA. The graduate programme has cohorts in the US, UK, and China with participants being exposed to a diverse range of experiences; specifically, three eight-month secondments across the business within their region. Johnson Matthey is a global leader in sustainable technologies and my studies at Edinburgh relating to sustainability and environmental chemistry definitely played a role in my decision to join JM. Participating in an accelerated leadership programme is challenging and demanding but the support that has been available throughout the company on all levels has been excellent. The opportunity to use the technical knowledge I acquired at the School of Chemistry while learning to apply these skills in a new commercially oriented manner has been extremely rewarding.
Separately from my day job I have been able to assist Augment Bionics gain traction and successfully progress. At the peak of the Covid-19 crisis (throughout March - June 2020) our team decided to use our engineering capabilities to help protect the NHS and to directly address the national personal protective equipment (PPE) shortage. As a socially responsible start-up it was especially important for us to do our part during this time of real crisis. We were able to produce over 100,000 face shields and donated these to healthcare workers across the UK (about 60 different sites) and to developing countries in need. Much of this work can be attributed to the generosity of our communities and seeing the solidarity and support for this initiative was incredible.
There is no better time than at university to take risks and try new things.
Seeking a career can be a stressful process but ambition and hard work will always differentiate you and prove successful when you find the right company and role for you.
School of Chemistry alumni profiles
Augment Bionics (external site)
Edinburgh University Women in STEM Society (external site)