What is your current Job Title or Role?
PhD candidate - Environmental Radioactivity
What advice would you have for young women who are interested in a STEM career or job?
Do your research, find out what really interests you and also whether it is something you would like to do long-term. A STEM career can be incredibly challenging, but it is also rewarding in so, so many ways. Also get involved, volunteer, throw yourself into your field and enjoy it, develop a real passion for what you do.
How did you get to where you are today?
My background is rather diverse. After my A-levels I went to University to study Geography, with the aim of going into environmental law. During my undergraduate degree I did a dissertation project on the effects of tourism on seagrass beds in Greece, whilst I've always loved marine science this really proved to me that I wanted to do this as a career. After that I did an MRes in Aquatic Bioscience, which was a steep learning curve! Both qualifications gave me the skills to start my PhD in environmental radioactivity, or more specifically investigating the effects of ionising radiation on mussels. It took a lot of hard work, and patience.. but I would not change my journey into a STEM career.
What do you do on a daily basis in your work?
A typical day during my PhD involved a mix of laboratory work (i.e. running experiments), data analysis and writing. Unfortunately this was not the glamorous view people often have of marine scientists, a lot of my time was spent arm deep in cold seawater, or puzzling over statistics. However, I loved it (mostly), especially the days where I went to collect my marine mussels from a very lovely Cornish beach.
Who or what inspired you to get into STEM?
My family. They encouraged me to do what I love, and supported me through every step of the way. My mum played a huge role in developing my love for the marine environment, being a water baby herself, and my Dad has always loved chemistry, and let me turn a spare room into my own 'mini laboratory'. My brother is also in a STEM field (neuroscience) and went down the PhD - postdoctoral route two years before me, his guidance was invaluable.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
Science is always changing, new discoveries are happening every day.. being in a STEM career means you are constantly learning new things. I also love the scientific community, the passion people have for what they do is inspiring and makes it one of the most rewarding careers.
What do you like to do outside work?
Anything to do with the water! Mainly swimming and scuba diving. Along with a bit of marine themed artwork.