What is your current Job Title or Role?
Membership Development Officer - RSPB
What advice would you have for young women who are interested in a STEM career or job?
Go for it! Follow your interests but be mindful to build your network and skills as you go. A career in STEM is rarely a straight path so be prepared for 'setbacks', stay determined and remember 'sometimes not getting what you want is a blessing in disguise', I've certainly found this to be true!
How did you get to where you are today?
I started with a BSc in Natural Sciences (as I loved all the sciences at school and could decide which to specialise in), then went on to do a PhD in the field of microalgal biotechnology. After I submitted my thesis I volunteered for Archelon 'The Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece', which was a life-changing experience and led me to work as a field leader in a variety of roles and locations for the summer nesting seasons of 2013-2016, interspersed with winter periods in the UK as a lab technician, Post-Doc and teaching! Short contractual work is the norm in research and conservation. I have loved each position even with their unique challenges and have acquired a huge skillset as a result. However I was looking for opportunities based in the UK where I could use my knowledge of science and conservation to make a difference and along came this position with the RSPB!
What do you do on a daily basis in your work?
Most days I travel to a variety of locations, events and festivals across Devon and Cornwall, informing people about the state of nature, the work of the charity and answering wildlife questions, whilst also gathering support through inviting people to become members. Working in Greece with a small conservation charity really gave me an appreciation for the importance of fundraising in conservation, as the environment ranks very low on the list of political priorities, it really is the work of charities to protect our ecosystem and it would not be possible without public support. Sometimes I will also get to work on nature reserves and lately I have been leading community engagement events, bringing together other wildlife charities in the region.
Who or what inspired you to get into STEM?
I've always been fascinated with the natural world, experiencing and learning about it but one key moment sticks in my mind. When I was about 9 years old, we were driving back from my grandparents on a Sunday. Monday was bin day. Seeing so many wheelie-bins lined up every week, with so much rubbish and having learnt that they all went to landfill was horrifying. I remember feeling panic. I knew science had the capacity to change our world and I wanted to be part of that.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
Working with a lovely and very interesting team of people committed to making a difference. Talking to the public about science and conservation (and hearing their bizarre wildlife stories) and travelling around one of the most beautiful parts of the UK!
What do you like to do outside work?
Exploring our coastline. I love to go snorkeling and freediving, we really have the most stunning marine life here. I also like painting and gardening.