Growing up my parents, particularly my mum, always instilled in me the importance of getting a good education. In the school holidays, we would spend our days at science museums, National Trust sites or at archaeology digs. I loved watching Time Team and I originally had my heart set on becoming an Archaeologist.
However, as I got older it was science that really caught my eye, and I went on to study Maths, Biology and Chemistry at A level. I hadn’t given much thought to university until Nick Barker, from the Chemistry department at the University of Warwick, came into my school and invited me on to campus for a look around. Nick is incredible; he has been a real role model to me, he always sees potential in everyone and likes to show people what opportunities are out there, so they can find out what they want to pursue. He did this for me too.
I enjoyed maths and chemistry but I loved the hands on practical side of chemistry, which is why I decided to study chemistry at Warwick followed by a Master’s in Analytical Science.
In the third year of my undergraduate degree, I undertook a summer internship at WMG. I shadowed a Research Fellow, and then I was given the opportunity to conduct experiments myself. I found that the facilities and high tech equipment at WMG were fantastic and the people are really friendly and supportive.
I really enjoyed my time at WMG, so I was always looking for potential research opportunities, which is why I then applied for a PhD.
It’s not always easy
It’s not always easy being a scientist, so you do need to be quite resilient. I’ve spent weeks on an experiment only for it to not work out as planned. It’s taxing and I’m always mulling my experiments over in my head but the work is exciting and varies a lot. The trick is to remain positive and not to be afraid to ask for help. I have a great supervisor and mentor in Dr Mel Loveridge who is always supportive of my work.
My advice to others is this - find a job that doesn’t feel like a job! Chemistry certainly keeps things interesting and fun, and when things get a little dull I sprinkle a bit of outreach in to the mix!
Outreach and Public engagement
Since starting at Warwick, I have tried to be involved with lots of outreach opportunities and have recently been lucky enough to get involved with some bigger events. In December, I took part in the Warwick Christmas lectures where I talked about battery technology to an audience of 2000 people and we even made batteries from lemons! More recently, I presented "Are batteries our heroes or villains?" at Pint of Science in Coventry.
I am happy to be welcomed back to do a second Christmas lecture this year that will be a crazy chemical show and I’m looking forward to supporting Women in Engineering Day.
I’m not sure what I would like to do after my PhD. Teaching or being a science communicator has always been an option, as I really enjoy inspiring the next generation of scientists. That said, I’m also really enjoying my PhD and would be keen to follow a path into research.