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Susan Burrows

Susan Burrows completed her degree at Leeds University in 1988 and spent three years working at the Scottish Crop Research Institute before joining Warwick as a research assistant in 1991.

Following a PhD in materials physics she has spent the intervening years as a researcher, working in both the glass-ceramics and ultrasound groups but now manages the undergraduate teaching laboratories; she has also chaired the Welfare and Communication Working Group and has lead the department to success in gaining both Juno Champion and Athena SWAN Silver awards.

She is currently deputy senior tutor with responsibility for first year undergraduates, and looks after equality and diversity within the department. She is involved in teaching the science behind acoustic instruments in the IATL Science of Music module IL116.

How did your journey into Physics begin?

I began by studying textile chemistry, then moved sideways into physics – there are a lot of people who work at the intersection of different branches of science, it’s more common than you think.

What is your favourite thing about your research area?

I have had a very varied research career, studying plant biochemistry, polymers, glasses and glass-ceramics, diamond, and high temperature ultrasound before ending up looking at equality and diversity in STEM. My favourite aspect is working with other people who show the same enthusiasm for your subject.

Why do you think it is important to highlight women and gender minorities in science? What does it mean to you?

It is important to show that physics and other sciences are inclusive for all – not everyone gets the same level of support and encouragement whilst at school, so it is important to have visible role models to attract those who may not be familiar with the varied career options available as a scientist.

Working at Warwick...
"As a parent, the department gave me the flexibility to work part time. This was essential in enabling me to raise a family whilst continuing to have a career in research. Now an associate professor, the department supported my return to full time work when the time felt right"
- Susan Burrows