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It's no secret that we like to think of ourselves as experts in medical travel insurance. Our in-depth medical screening allows us to get a better understanding of our customers’ conditions, so we can provide fairer prices.

That’s why we’d like to introduce you to Mel Sampson. Having joined our customer service team to help our customers complete medical screening, Mel decided to go back into education and is now chasing a PhD in cancer research. Here’s Mel’s story.

How did you originally get involved with World First? Why did you want to work here?

I have worked in customer service before and really enjoyed it. Also I love travelling so I was looking forward to hearing about people’s travel plans - even if I do get jealous sometimes!

Which university are you studying at and what are you studying?

University of Exeter Medical School, studying BSc Medical Science, specialising in pharmacology and therapeutics.

What made you decide to go back into education?

Working at World First taught me quite a lot about a wide range of medical conditions and made me realise how important medicine, and the science behind it, is. It inspired me to apply to college to do an Access to Higher Education diploma, so I could then go on to university where I am now. Luckily, my managing director, Martin Rothwell, was very supportive of my decision and allowed me to carry on working at World First part time so I could support myself financially.

What does your placement involve?

My research project is called ‘mechanisms of tumour metastasis'. I’ll be researching two things:

1 – The molecular mechanisms involved in attachment/adhesion of primary lung cancer cells during their metastasis to the brain.

2 - The molecular mechanisms involved in angiogenesis (where tumours cause the development of new blood vessels to supply it with oxygen and nutrients) during metastasis of ovarian cancer cells to the omentum (fatty tissue in the abdomen).

Has working at World First helped your studies in any way?

Definitely! It’s helped me learn a lot about what drugs can be prescribed for certain conditions and also about the conditions themselves. I didn’t even know what angina was when I started working here!

What are you hoping to do at the end of university?

I’d like go on to get a PhD in cancer research.

Where do you hope to end up in your career?

With a PhD I’d be able to conduct my own research and become a cancer research scientist.

How would you describe working at World First?

I love working at World First. My colleagues are lovely and we all get along really well. Luckily we also have great customers too so it is really nice speaking to them.

How would you describe the medical screening process?

We start by taking a list of customers’ prescribed medications and find out what each one has been prescribed for. We do this to ensure that we capture each condition that needs to be screened. Customers often forget to declare minor conditions such as acid reflux, so by doing this, we ensure that the customer will be adequately covered. We then ask a series of questions about each medical condition.

How would you describe the general level of medical knowledge at World First?

We learn a lot from our customers so unless it’s rare we have a good level of understanding on most conditions, which is appreciated by our customers.

Where’s your favourite place you have travelled to so far? And where do you intend to visit next?

It’s hard to say a favourite place because I love everywhere I have been, but I’d have to say Australia because I was there for 2 years and it feels like my second home. Next I’ll be going to Santorini, Greece to get married in August. I can’t wait!

Keep up the great work Mel!

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One Response to The World First customer service rep chasing a PhD in cancer research

  1. Mike Deacon says:


    Fantastic. Keep up the great work Mel.


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