What is your current Job Title or Role?
Animal behaviour scientist
What advice would you have for young women who are interested in a STEM career or job?
Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, and asking questions when you are unsure. That just means you are learning! I didn’t learn this soon enough and wasted a lot of time letting opportunities pass me by. Also, strive to achieve what you want to, and don’t let anything get in your way. It’s quite likely that you will face difficulties in your studies, but there are often loads of alternative routes to the same end goal – so just try taking a different path!
How did you get to where you are today?
Hard-work, perseverance and a little bit of luck. My career path has ‘yo-yoed’ somewhat. I studied Biology, Chemistry and Maths at A Level and then moved to York to study for a degree in Biology because I wanted to be a Biology teacher. In my final year, I worked on a research project investigating fruit fly behaviour, and I loved it so much that I decided to stay and complete a Masters degree. But, after graduating I changed my mind (again), and I moved to the University of Exeter to train as a Secondary Science teacher. After this, I realised I was never going to be happy unless I found a role where I could both teach and inspire others, AND investigate new and exciting research questions. And I am incredibly lucky to have found a PhD research project that I really enjoy, and allows me to do all of those things and more!
What do you do on a daily basis in your work?
Every day is completely different. Some days I’m in the lab watching flies. Some days I’m teaching. Some days I’m at my desk writing for a deadline. Some days I’m outside doing fieldwork. Some days I’m analysing data. And some days I get to travel to new and exciting cities to present my research.
Who or what inspired you to get into STEM?
I have always been fascinated by the world around me, and how everything works. I remember in school, I used to spend my break times in the Science labs, pestering my Science teacher with hundreds of random questions. Such as: ‘If our core body temperature is 37°C, why do we feel hot when we go on holiday and it’s only 32°C?’ A huge thank you to my Science teacher for not showing his annoyance and answering all of my bizarre questions!
What do you enjoy most about your role?
Being part of the scientific community is so much fun! We’re always sharing exciting new ideas with each other, and I love that I am constantly amazed by new discoveries every single day.
What do you like to do outside work?
I love playing netball, and have made so many amazing friends through the sport. But I also love spending an hour or two alone, snuggled up in front of the fire (or a candle) with a great book or TV show.