Tessa Fiorini Cohen
Freelance science writing, teaching and lecturing, plus a full-time post in the pharmaceutical industry combine to make up Tessa Fiorini Cohen's multifaceted career.
|Tessa Fiorini Cohen
|MSc Science Communication and Public Engagement
|Year of graduation
Your time at the University
I chose to study at University of Edinburgh as it was offering everything I wanted at the time: a really interesting, fully online Masters in Science Communication and Public Engagement. I also knew I’d have the additional bonus of being able to say that I attended the same university as Charles Darwin!
Unsurprisingly, the course didn’t disappoint – the three years were filled with a great range of subjects and brilliant tutoring. One of my favourite aspects was the large emphasis on discussion between students, which allowed us to learn from others all around the world. I also loved working on my dissertation, in which I chose to study portrayals of scientists in film.
As the course was fully online, I could do all this whilst juggling other responsibilities in my home country, Malta. I did visit the campus for graduation though, which took place in the University’s beautiful McEwan Hall. This will remain one of my notable memories - getting tapped on the head with the Geneva Bonnet, sharing in the graduation atmosphere, and finally meeting some staff and students involved in the course, whilst sharing the whole experience with my family. It was a fitting culmination of a brilliant three years.
Your experiences since leaving the University
My career path isn’t very conventional...
I haven’t really left the University, as I am currently a teaching fellow within the same Masters in Science Communication and Public Engagement. I truly loved being a student in the course, so I jumped at the opportunity to be able to contribute - I now get to teach others, whilst continuing to learn every day.
My main specialisation when it comes to science communication is science writing. I had some pieces published before I enrolled in the Masters and had also won an international science writing competition. I’ve continued to build my portfolio with more confidence since graduating, and my writing has been published in a number of international media outlets, with hopefully more to come. As I love travelling, I’ve also combined the two in my own science travel blog, Science Wanders.
My career path isn’t very conventional, as the above is my part-time and freelance work. My current full-time post is in the pharmaceutical industry - a field I was already working in before enrolling in the Masters, though I have changed my specific post since then. I now work as a regulatory affairs consultant, mainly within multinational clinical trials. There’s a large element of communication involved here as well, though the work leans more towards scientific communication rather than science communication. Combining the two fields, I’ve also had my writing published in more specialised pharmaceutical magazines, work on related social media accounts, and lecture in applied chemistry and occupational toxicology at the University of Malta.
“Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself.”
This is just one phrase in a brilliant advice column written by Mary Schmich, later turned into Baz Luhrmann’s song ‘Wear Sunscreen’. Sometimes we can get bogged down comparing ourselves to others, but everyone is on their own separate paths. Really the only person you should be racing against is yourself – the person you were yesterday, the person you want to be tomorrow. You may stumble at times, but life isn’t a sprint so there’ll be chance to make up for this.