My journey from pharma to data science: an internship tale

  • 30 August 2023

Hello everyone,

I’m Femi, a recent graduate from the University of Gloucestershire’s data science MSc programme. My journey to this point has been fascinating, filled with unexpected turns and enlightening discoveries. Today, I’m excited to share my story with you. From my beginnings in clinical pharmacy to my current Health Data Research UK (HDRUK) internship with the Department of Population Health Science at the University of Bristol.

My professional journey began with a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy. I was fascinated by the intricacies of the human body, chemistry and the potential of medicine to heal and improve lives. However, as I delved deeper into my studies, I became increasingly drawn to the data behind the drugs. The patterns, the trends, the stories that numbers could tell – it was a whole new world that I was eager to explore.

I consider myself a lifelong learner and this fuels my desire to explore unique experiences. My newfound passion led me to pursue a master’s degree in data science at the University of Gloucestershire. It was a challenging shift, but one that I embraced wholeheartedly. The course was rigorous and demanding, but it was also gratifying. I learned to see the world through a different lens, where data was not just numbers but a powerful tool for understanding and improving the world around us.

My journey led me to the Department of Population Health Science. I was drawn to Bristol because of its commitment to using data to drive health research and its reputation for fostering a supportive and collaborative environment.

The recruitment process was straightforward and the direction of the team was well defined. Going through recruitment was itself a learning experience. It tested my skills, knowledge, and determination. I was thrilled when I was offered an internship.

My time at the University of Bristol has been nothing short of transformative. I’ve had the opportunity to apply my data science skills in a real-world setting by working on a project with the potential to impact public health. I’ve learned more about health research’s intricacies and seen firsthand how data can be used to inform and drive this research.

The opportunity to contribute to meaningful projects has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my internship. I’ve seen the tangible impact of my work, and it’s been incredibly fulfilling to know that I’m contributing to something that could improve health outcomes.

Reflecting on my time as an intern, this experience has shaped my future career path. I’ve discovered a passion for health data science and am excited to continue exploring this field. I’ve also learned the importance of collaboration, communication, and continuous learning in this ever-evolving field.

I have to send a huge shout-out to my incredible manager, Elsie. Her guidance throughout my internship was nothing short of invaluable. She was always there with wisdom, encouragement, and a friendly smile, solving the most challenging bugs. And the OpenSAFELY team! From day one, they welcomed me with open arms, making me feel like part of the family. This wasn’t just an internship; it was a life-changing experience. I’ve grown, learned, and made connections I’ll carry forever. Thank you, for making this journey unforgettable!

In conclusion, my journey from pharmacy to data science has been winding, filled with challenges, discoveries, and growth. My internship at the Department of Population Health Science has been a pivotal part of this journey, providing me with invaluable experience and insights. I’m excited to see where this path will lead me next, and I’m grateful for the opportunities and experiences that have brought me to this point.

Until next time,


Health Data Science Black Internship Programme

Femi took part in the Health Data Science Black Internship Programme run by Health Data Research UK (HDR UK) and the UK Health Data Research Alliance (the ‘Alliance’) in partnership with 10,000 Black Interns initiative.

The Health Data Science Black Internship Programme offers early career Black data scientists an opportunity to gain experience and knowledge around health data science. The programme is aimed at tackling the underrepresentation of Black people within the health data science sector and providing motivated candidates with the experience they need to kick-start their science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers.