What is your current Job Title or Role?
Head of Discovery, Learning and Research
What advice would you have for young women who are interested in a STEM career or job?
Grab every opportunity that comes your way, even if it's not the path you were planning on taking.
How did you get to where you are today?
I always wanted to work around animals but when I was younger I never thought I could get into that field. I grew up watching Steve Irwin and always thought it was another world. I loved the idea of studying Science though and teaching it so after doing a Biomedical Science degree I went to London to train as a secondary school Biology teacher. I loved it! However my dream job came up as an Education Officer in a Zoo so I was brave and applied for it. I was extremely lucky to get it. After three years the zoo sponsored me through a Masters degree in Zoo Conservation Biology and now six years after starting the job, a lot of hard work and an awful lot of fun and experience along the way, I am now Head of the Discovery, Learning and Research Department.
What do you do on a daily basis in your work?
The job role is very varied. I manage a busy team that delivers the formal school education programme, public engagement and science communication around the site and research projects that various universities across the country are carrying out on our animals. We also work closely with Duchy College and deliver full time and part time courses in Zoo Animal Management to train future zoo conversationalists. Outreach to schools and the community, evaluation, grant applications, animal experience and lecturing at the university are all parts of the department too. I have become part of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) Conservation Education committee. This role is working with zoo education officers across the country to enhance and develop how we inspire and encourage people to protect our worlds forna and flora through a visit to zoos. Furthermore I sit on the zoos senior management team and as a team we run the overall zoo operation with our CEO Benjamin Mee.
Who or what inspired you to get into STEM?
Science never really came easily to me, but I like a challenge. Science was a subject I could get my teeth into, it was a logical subject to me and it always fascinated me.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
How varied it is... I'm not stuck at a desk! I have an amazing team to work with. And even if my day isn't going quite as planned I only have a short walk before I get to hang out with my favourite animal, Chincha the Jaguar.
What do you like to do outside work?
Outside of work I am a governor for Ivybridge Community College. However the rest of the time I am all about my family. I am married with a three year old son and a very bouncy labrador. I like to spend my time with them walking, swimming and days out. I also love music and have recently found the time to go back and play the flute and piano.