Posted 11 July 2022
For the 2020 and 2021 Graduation Celebration ceremonies, alumni of Harper Adams University have been invited to speak to graduates, their friends, family and guests.
Each will reflect both on their time at Harper – and where their studies have taken them.
The speakers at the July 11 ceremonies were Dr Rebecca McLean and Jonathan Glen.
Rebecca attended Harper Adams University from 2009-2013 where she studied BSc (Hons) Bio-veterinary Science.
From here, Rebecca took her knowledge and experience gained on her placement year to Scotland where she undertook her PhD through Moredun Research Institute and The University of Edinburgh.
She developed a new vaccine technology based on a virus for immunising sheep and other livestock. After successfully completing her PhD, Rebecca became a Postdoctoral Project Manager and Researcher at The Pirbright Institute.
Here, she managed a large international consortium looking to develop a vaccine for pigs to prevent the spread of Nipah virus to humans. During this project, the COVID-19 pandemic hit and so she used her experiences to help in the race for a vaccine.
In doing so, she led a team of researchers in the pre-clinical testing of eight potential vaccine candidates. Of particular note her and her team found that giving a booster dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine allowed for a far greater immune response.
Following on from these successes, Rebecca is now a Senior Postdoctoral Researcher working on developing multi-valent livestock vaccines against new emerging pandemic viruses.
Jonathan attended Harper Adams between 2014 and 2019, graduating his Meng Agricultural Engineering course with distinction.
He describes himself as having been very fortunate to be a Harper Adams Club scholar - and a student warden in his final year.
Following a placement year at Vauxhall Motors where he was responsible for launching a new model variant into production at their Ellesmere Port factory, he went onto apply all that he learnt during his degree programme at Rail-Ability Ltd, a local engineering business.
Here, Jonathan started off as a continuous improvement professional and grew within the organisation, becoming Senior Operations Manager, responsible for the day to day running of the business.