Award-winning SETU graduate Emma Kearney on swapping the live stage for the lab
“It’s an extremely tough industry to support yourself financially,” remarked
While taking the plunge to trade nine years of professional stage acting for a career in pharma seemed like a life-altering decision
A well-known name on the Irish theatre circuit, Emma had trained with the Gaiety School of Acting and Bow Street Academy before featuring in plays by the likes of Jim Nolan and Sarah Kane, all while gracing iconic stages such as The Everyman and the Pavilion Theatre along the way.
Emma’s talent in her chosen field was clear throughout her
SETU’s BSc (Hons) in Pharmaceutical Science is built to prepare students for real-life employment in the pharma industry. One key pillar of the programme is its final year project. This element became the culmination of Emma’s ever-expanding knowledge base. Titled “Extraction and application of nanocellulose as an excipient in nasal spray drug formulations”, Emma’s research, which sought to determine the correct nasal spray medication dosage for females, won the Science Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) award for Best Poster Spotlight Presentation at an award ceremony in October.
Now working as a research developer at Teva Pharmaceuticals in Waterford city after graduating from SETU with a first-class honours in BSc (Hons) in Pharmaceutical Science, Emma notes that while she’s delighted with what she’s achieved acade
She continued: “I was worried after being out of school so long that this would be unachievable, particularly for maths and chemistry as I had never studied those subjects before. However, over four years, maths became my favourite subject – one that I couldn’t wait to learn more about. It just goes to show that when you are interested in a subject, it is not hard to learn it.”
While Emma’s work at Teva is her focus for now, the stage – or performance in general – isn’t completely off the cards. “Now that I’ve finished my undergrad, I’m getting back to my first great love, Spraoi,” she said. “This year I was involved in their Samhain festival, but the goal is to put more time into what is an amazing organisation filled with talented people. It’s one of those things that you just can’t live without. The impulse to create and perform is always lying under the surface.”
For more information on SETU’s BSc (Hons) in Pharmaceutical Science, visit setu.ie