What is your current Job Title or Role?
Senior Technician in Marine Biology
What advice would you have for young women who are interested in a STEM career or job?
You can do anything you want to do for a job. Ask questions and learn from others as you go! Things are so different now to even 10 years ago. Look around for funding opportunities to go that extra mile and make yourself stand out.
How did you get to where you are today?
I have always liked animals and remember having a pet goldfish as a child. I aso remember going to a zoo and being selected to feed the dolphins. From that point on I wanted to be a marine biologist. I always tried my best in school as then no one can ask anymore of you and it worked! I got good enough grades to get into Uni and my adventure started. During Uni I did lots of volunteering. We were encouraged too as there are lots of graduates and not that many jobs. I used to do rockpool rambles at Wembury Marine Centre and learnt so much. Not only the variety of species and best places to look but also about public speaking and engagement. After University I felt I should continue my education and looked around for funding. I managed to get a funded masters degree and gained a distinction. At this point I was offered a PhD to continue the work from my masters project but I wasn't 100% sure it was the right move for me. I thought I still wanted to do a PhD so applied to another University. I was unsuccessful so moved back to Plymouth and sent my CV to the National Marine Aquarium "just-in-case". It was a fluke that they were actually looking to hire and I managed to get an interview. Initially the position was offered to someone else and I asked for feedback. Then they asked if I wanted the job! I worked there for 4 years and during that time learnt a massive variety of skills. I used to watch the engineers and ask questions about the plumbing and offer to help. I also read a book on Jellyfish which was in our mini library. Then we had the opportunity to build a jellyfish display. I was so lucky to be involved and designed the display. As a team we worked double shifts for 3 months for no extra pay as it is a vocation and not just a job. I was frustrated at this but with the CV addition in mind persevered. I saw a job for Aquatic Animal technician advertised and had to apply. It was the perfect role for me. I was offered the job and am now a permanent senior technician. It was hard work and I didnt feel out of my depth at times but I have the job of my dreams. I get to work on research and advise student and academics. I dont really like writing or reading that much so just get to do the fun stuff! Im constantly thanked for my valuable input and support and have found a job for life. It is different every single day!
What do you do on a daily basis in your work?
I have to check equipment is functioning and that the animal stocks we have are happy and healthy. I have varying discussions with students and academics on the progress of their projects and also give training on equipment. I set up practical sessions and often demonstrate in them to give more support to the academic leading the session. Sometimes I get to go out to the rocky shore or beach and collect specimens - usually its a lovely sunny day! 😉
Who or what inspired you to get into STEM?
I remember the STEM WISE bus coming to school and being encouraged to think in a way that women can do anything men can do. This also comes from my parents so has been an easy route for me.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
That it is different every day. I enjoy problem solving and find at the end of every day I feel satisfied and I have made a difference.
What do you like to do outside work?
I do Bat Surveys as a hobby that I get paid for (Again through volunteering initially). I have an allotment where I grow veg and I also love Stand up Paddle Boarding and walking - generally being outside!