I am a third year PhD student at the University of Essex. Outside of studying I love reading a good book, especially those of magic and wonder. I also make my own pyrography (wood burning) artwork.
My love for all things magical inspired me to get involved in the scientific world. If a letter telling me I was accepted into a wizarding school was never going to arrive, then I would explore the magic in the world I am already in. I always knew I wanted to be a scientist from a very small age, but the path I was going to take was never certain. I watched many of my friends decide on their career path at an early age, but I spent most of my secondary school life not really knowing what I wanted to do or who I wanted to be. I took a broad variety of subjects at GCSE (including every science).
By A-level I had firmly set on science or physical geography as a career path (exploring the magic in nature), but which science was still unknown. I felt rushed into choosing a university and degree when I was in year 12-13, so much so that when I arrived at university a year later, I knew it was not the right time for me. I took a year out of education, trying different jobs (from retail all the way to owl conservation with the local wildlife trust).
Yet deep down I knew I still wanted to keep learning about the magical world around me, so I reapplied to university on a very broad biology course, that allowed me to study marine life, plants and animals, as well as chemistry and maths. Subjects I could dip in and out of. By the end of my first year, I went on a trip to Portugal where I studied plant interactions in detail for the first time. This was when I found a subject that I connected with and I could truly see the magical elements in.
I started studying and working in the plant lab at my university, where I then applied for my PhD. Yet where I go from here is still a new decision and another journey I am yet to take. What will be will be…
My pronouns are:
I am in my third year of my PhD studying photosynthesis in pea plants.
I know many people think peas are gross (I do too !), but they actually have a lot of protein in, which is great for our diets. Many people are now swapping for vegan foods (no meat or animal-based products), so their protein source are now supplied by plants, such as peas!
As the climate gets warmer, plants are finding it harder to grow, so we need to make sure our peas can grow at these temperatures, which my project looks at. To make sure we have a future protein source!
My Typical Day:
I am normally the first one in the lab, so I unlock all the doors, turn on all the machines and water the plants. By 9am, my plants are in the machines and measurements are being taken. Experiments will run until 3pm, when I take my plants back to the greenhouse for their bedtime. I will then travel home and look at my data to see how good the measurements have been.
Measurements I can take in a day include putting a plant inside a machine that measures how much carbon dioxide it has used up (this will give us an idea of photosynthesis). I can also get similar results by taking fluorescent measurements of my plants, which give amazing pictures (see picture gallery)!
What I'd do with the prize money:
Our university partakes in an event called pint of science, this allows public members to meet us at local restaurants and find out about our research. We also carry out school public engagement activities where students can learn about our equipment. The prize money would be split between these two activities.
- Comprehensive school
- Obtained GCSE and A-level results.
- Obtained a BSc in Biological Sciences.
- Studying a PhD at the University of Essex.
- Volunteered at a local charity shop.
- Volunteered at the local library.
- Took a gap year and worked in retail and volunteered at a barn owl conservation project.
- Worked in the Lawson Lab as a technician during my undergrad.
- Postgraduate Researcher.
- University of Essex.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Plant Biology Magician
What did you want to be after you left school?
I had absolutely no idea, just that I wanted to study one of the sciences to explore the magic in the world.
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Not that I can think of!
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
I would probably want to be a teacher, to help the next generation uncover the worlds wonders.
Who is your favourite singer or band?
I enjoy too many artists to just name one!
What's your favourite food?
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
1. To be magical 2. For my family to be happy and healthy 3. For the world to see how wondrous nature is around them and to resolve issues before it’s too late.
Tell us a joke.
What’s Thanos’ favourite Vegetable ? Answer: Snap peas