Isabella McKenna

Isabella McKenna in lab

Design Engineer at ASML, Physics R&D Engineer at TMC, Netherlands

MPhys Nanoscience, Heriot-Watt University, 2011 - 2016

It’s only been one year since my graduation from Heriot-Watt University and I am now an active part of the thriving semiconductors industry.

My MPhys in Nanoscience gave me all the right ingredients to get to where I am now.

The courses taught in the Physics Department are built to provide students with essential core knowledge, but are kept up to speed and go over new technology applications as well. The strength of the classes is their interdisciplinary nature, essential in today’s scientific world.

Most lecturers are actively involved in research and/or have experience in industry as well. The friendly and collaborative environment at Heriot-Watt University meant staff and students at different levels of studies were always encouraged to share their knowledge and expertise with one another. This was also reflected in the many social and networking events held at the university.

My first experience as a fresh graduate was an internship at the Italian Institute of technology. Here, the focus was on nanotechnology and material science. The practical and theoretical training I received at HW allowed me to get involved in a project right from the start and I was rapidly able to familiarize myself with new concepts and scientific instrumentation.

I then decided to move to a more industrial environment. I landed a job at ASML, the world leader in photolithography systems for the chip-making industry.

I am working in the metrology department, where knowledge in optics and good analytical skills are essential, but also awareness of semiconductor physics. I clearly remember being able to answer technical interview questions thanks to knowledge I had gained during my degree.

Thanks to Heriot-Watt I spent five wonderful years in Edinburgh, had the opportunity of working in challenging and exciting roles across Europe, first in Italy, now in the Netherlands and I believe the opportunities do not stop here.