I live in rural Shropshire with my partner, our five rehomed dogs (ex racing Greyhounds, Lurcher and a Dalmatian) and our rehomed African Pygmy Hedgehog. I work as a Senior Lecturer in Plant Biology, teaching and researching during the day, and in the evening I enjoy training at a muay thai gym, cooking and catching up on my favourite Superheros (I love both DC and Marvel). Weekends usually involve my partner dragging me to watch the rugby, doing diy or walking our dogs.
My pronouns are:
I teach crop production, plant biology and general biology to university students.
My research areas are in how plants respond to drought, in urban agriculture and vertical farming. I also research into how plants and insect pests interact, and my favourite insect is the aphid
My Typical Day:
My typical day involves teaching, this is by giving lectures, and running tutorials or laboratory practicals. I also have meetings with my students working on research projects, to discuss their data and how the project is going. I apply for grants to fund more research, write up results of research and present research.
My day also involves a lot of paperwork, reports monitoring our university courses, and as a manager I also meet staff and have paperwork related to their workloads and their progress to complete.
Every day is different, as a lecturer with mixed responsibilities from teaching to managing I so spend a lot of time at my computer in my office. But each week I will be in the lab, field or glasshouse too.
What I'd do with the prize money:
I’d use the money to fund some STEM projects with our local schools, we do run projects over the summer to have students come onto campus to do research with us. It would be great to get some equipment for the schools to use and to run some classes in term time in addition to these activities.
I went to Shireland Collegiate Academy and six form. My A levels were AS French, AS Chemistry, A levels Law, Biology and a AVCE in IT.
I was unsure which to pursue at university torn between: biology, computer science, politics or law
I went to the University of Birmingham to study Biology in the end and in my second and final year started to love plants. Until then I hadn’t been very interested in them. The syllabus is a bit boring at GCSE and A level (certainly was back then!). When I learnt of how complex and fascinating they were I pursued a PhD in insects and plants. Looking at how they respond to drought and interact together.
This lead me to my first research job at Harper Adams and the rest is history really. I’m now fully in the plant biology world and love it.
At GCSE my subjects were History, Double Award Science, French, Maths, English Lit and English Lang, and then a GNVQ Award in IT.
Jobs I’ve worked have been varied. Part time jobs I’ve held have been working in retail shops, as a canal boat skipper taking people on tours in old mines, gardener, receptionist, cleaner, kitchen porter, recruitment officer… In terms of careers I’ve changed over the year many times over many subjects. I remember going over and over the UCAS booklet and really not being sure which path to follow.
What I would say is it doesn’t stop. You can transfer to to her things at postgraduate level (after a degree). We offer a course designed to move people into Agricultural Science and I have student who’ve done Fine Art in the past.
Also learning never stops. In addition working as a plant biologist I’m studying a part time Maths degree now. Because I’d love to model some of the processes in plants and I need Maths. I’m finding Maths challenging but incredibly fascinating!
I work for a Agricultural and Land based university in Shropshire. We are a specialist university offering degrees in subjects to do with food production, food supply chains, farm business, land surveying, land management. We also have a vet school and deliver courses in environmental science and zoology.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
dog obsessed biologist
Were you ever in trouble at school?
On a few occasions I was
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
Perhaps the military, or engineering, maybe something completely different such as writing or interior design
Who is your favourite singer or band?
Nickleback (please don't judge me)
What's your favourite food?
Indian food, particular lentil dishes and chapati
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
The have longer legs, I am very short. Better eyesight as I wear glasses and it is annoying to clean them. To travel to Antarctica and scuba dive the icebergs