What is your current Job Title or Role?
Research Assistant, International Marine Litter Research Unit
What advice would you have for young women who are interested in a STEM career or job?
Show diligence, enthusiasm and perseverance!
How did you get to where you are today?
After I finished my A-levels I went to work as a scholar on a conservation programme on remote island in the tropics where the humans were immensely outnumbered by giant tortoises! On return to UK I went straight into my undergraduate programme, environmental science at the University of Plymouth. During both my studies and my time abroad I developed my love for the ocean which spurred me to go onto to undertake a masters degree in applied marine science. Following completion of my masters I was lucky enough to be employed within the plastic research team at the university, and I’ve not looked back since.
What do you do on a daily basis in your work?
I work as a research assistant under the supervision of a world leading expert in marine litter, more specifically plastic pollution. I have recently completed a project assessing the contribution of vehicle tyre wear and synthetic fibres from textiles to microplastic emissions for the UK government. Day-to-day this project involved meticulous planning and field work, followed by months of analysis in the laboratory before the preparation of a report of our findings. More recently I have been investigating solutions to microplastic emissions. For example, I have been working with commercial partners in our textile emission laboratory providing research evidence to aid the development of mechanisms to capture synthetic fibres within domestic washing machines.
Who or what inspired you to get into STEM?
I grew up in an outdoorsy family with very environmentally conscious parents, but also had a very inspiring geography teacher at secondary school, Mrs Ferguson. Many family members also work in similar fields which now spans multiple generations!
What do you enjoy most about your role?
The best thing about my role is the variation which always keeps things interesting and engaging. One day I can be out collecting samples in the field and the next attending a conference, or running some analysis in the laboratory. It's also great to work in such a fast paced, highly topical field.
What do you like to do outside work?
After science, my second love is cooking large and very elaborate meals for my friends and family. But any outdoor activities, particularly those by the seaside, are my idea of a perfect weekend.