What is your current Job Title or Role?
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
What advice would you have for young women who are interested in a STEM career or job?
Don't let other people decide who you should be and follow your passion. STEM is a community of people who the majority of time are unique and special because of their curiosity and interest in everything. Embrace that and do not be afraid to be different.
How did you get to where you are today?
I grew up on a very rural farm with no internet, two tv channels and a lot of time. Reading was an amazing escape as was being surrounded by nature. I was lucky enough to see differences in nature and biology on land (farming) and at sea as i lived close to many local fishing communities. These differences got me curious. I remember visiting the beaches on a regular basis throghout my childhood, examining rock pools, walking through a wall of sulphur smell everytime I stepped foot on a beach particularly close to a textiles factory. I saw life in the rock pools change, the noxious smell of sulphur disappear following the closure of the factory as the sealife started to return. It was at this point, aged 9 that i knew i wanted to work in STEM, but it was only when i started university that I knew my interest was specifically in fish biology and how they respond to the stress of human life.
What do you do on a daily basis in your work?
I let my curiosity wander. STEM is amazing in that its perfecly ok and even encouraged to think "I wonder what will happen if...". There is never a normal day. One day you could be out on the beach collecting samples, the next day at a conference anywhere in the world dicussing your work or doing something boring as entering numbers into an excel sheet to look at trends. Each day is different and that is something I love. You are constantly challenged both as a scientist and personally to constantly improve and evolve into something better then what you were when you started.
Who or what inspired you to get into STEM?
Curiosity drove me into STEM. I was surrounded by people who finished primary school or left secondary school in their early teens to work on boats or farms or in shops. I had questions nobody could answer except books, but even they can only answer so much when it is a small local library. When your curious, you devour books hoping for succinct answers but inevitably you have more questions. To me, I am a life long learner and even to this day, I still read 5-10 books a week expanding the way I think.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
The variety where every day is different and the permission to follow my curiosity. In no other subject can you move between disiplines almost seemlessly due to an inherent similiarity between topics. I also love how international science is, both as a community finding solutions to modern day problems such as plastic in the ocean, drug abuse, pharmaceutical wastage etc but also in the ability to move anywhere in the world.
What do you like to do outside work?
I volunteer in an animal sanctuary and foster kittens in need of homes, go on beach cleans or wander the country side. I love reading books, cooking exotic foods and travelling to different countries exploring the diverse history across the world.