Kirsty Robb

Kirsty Robb

My name is Kirsty Robb and at the 2019 College Expo, I became Scotland’s first ever inductee into the College Development Network’s ‘Hall of Fame’.

I hope I am good example of why people should Choose College to enhance their lives.

I now work at IBioIC (Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre) as a Senior Scientist. I help other scientists to take their ideas from the lab to industrial scale. These ideas can be anything from waste products or by products of other industries and turning them in to high value products to making useful chemicals from micro-organisms.

I began my remarkable professional journey at Forth Valley College’s Falkirk Campus with an NQ in Applied Biological Studies.

While at FVC I excelled as a student and in 2009 was presented with that year’s Best Student in the Department of Applied Science at the College’s annual graduation ceremony. I then enrolled at Strathclyde University on the third year of a BSc Hons degree in Biochemistry and Immunology, graduating in 2011 and began my PhD in Structural Dynamics of Bacterial GntR Proteins.

I have also previously worked with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in the fight against superbugs and was known there as the ‘Protein Queen’. My science-based expertise and my adventurous nature – I am also an experienced mountaineer and Mountain Leader, qualified to guide people in the Highlands of Scotland – took me on the most exciting stage of my career journey to date with a trip to Antarctica with Homeward Bound - a groundbreaking leadership, strategic and science initiative and outreach for women, in early 2019.

I am also a STEM ambassador for Science Connects regularly visiting schools to promote science, but I did not have a traditional route into a career in science.

I'm proud to be a Forth Valley College graduate and I loved my time there. I was a Science Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) Ambassador at FVC and I am still doing that role now. I just love going out and giving something back as I am really passionate about encouraging youngsters to be enthusiastic about science.

I am originally from Girvan in Ayrshire, but moved to Stirling with my boyfriend and used my HNC in Agriculture from the Scottish Agricultural College, to find work within that industry. However, I quickly realised it was not for me at the age of 23.

I should have listened to my mother and done science at school. So I did a quick internet search and – even though I was not sure exactly what I wanted to do –I signed up for an NQ at FVC. Well something certainly clicked and I was encouraged by the lecturers there, who saw something in me, to apply for an HND.

I was one of TES’ Scotland’s People of the Year for 2019, but it was Forth Valley College that gave me the foundation to get to where I am today. When I went to university my practical skills were way better than my classmates in their third year at uni. The lecturing staff at FVC were fantastic and were all very encouraging. They nurtured something that was inside me. If I had to do it all again, I would do it exactly the same way 100%.

College gives you a good practical foundation in whatever industry that you choose. Having been to both college and university, I wouldn’t change the pathway that I took - I would not have had the same experiences I have had if I hadn’t went to college.

If I was to sum up my FVC experience in three words I would say - Fun, challenging, supportive.

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