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Monica Singh. Monica Singh

Monica Singh knows first hand the range of jobs a Biochemistry degree opens up.

In the six years since she graduated with a Biochemistry Honours degree her career has traversed research and teaching, patent advising and now scientific equipment sales.

"Biochemistry is an incredibly broad subject. It touches so many different areas, including genetics and biotechnology, so you can go off in any direction," Monica says.

"I like having my brain challenged on a regular basis and Biochemistry certainly does that. It is always advancing. There is always exciting technical cutting edge stuff happening."

"I came to Otago because the science departments have an international reputation, plus Otago has such a great atmosphere, great lifestyle and you make friends from all over the country," she says.

"I started doing general science subjects and fell in love with Biochemistry. My lecturers were great and really approachable. By the fourth year they were treating me like a colleague, and I still keep in touch with some of them."

Her first job after graduating was as a junior research fellow in the Biochemistry department sequencing a retrotransposon from the fugu puffer fish. She later worked for AgResearch studying the differences between strains of bovine TB. In between she taught stage one Biochemistry and Biology students at the University of Otago.

Monica later worked in the Intellectual Property Office as an advisor for biotechnology and pharmaceutical patents for two years.

"That involved reading technical patent specifications and doing Internet research to make sure whatever they were applying for hadn't been done anywhere else. I loved every minute of the job."

Among the patents she worked on were Blis Technology's natural bacterial throat guard. She still feels a wee thrill of pride any time she sees packets of it on sale.

Following her partner back to Dunedin meant a change in jobs and Monica now works as a sales specialist for a scientific equipment distributor.

"That's one of the good things about Biochemistry - there are so many different opportunities out there. These days I go into labs and find out what people are doing and what research technology they are using and marry that with our products and trying to sell them."

"It's great going out and talking to people. I love finding out what they're doing and my Biochemistry honours degree means that no matter what they are working on I can get a good grasp of the science.

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