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Gina Wren

Incoming PhD Student

University of Oxford

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Get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable. Feel the fear and do it anyway.

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WHAT DO YOU DO?

I completed my Masters in Biomedical Research at Imperial College London in September 2020, and I stayed on as a Research Assistant investigating the role of dietary factors contributing to adverse blood pressure levels. I’m due to start my PhD at Oxford in October where I will be using behavioural science to improve the effectiveness of weight loss solutions.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS FIELD?

I’ve always been interested in science; it allowed me to feed my sense of curiosity. If you constantly ask questions you are constantly learning and with everything I did learn, I wanted to know more. If I could pinpoint a specific moment, it would be watching Attenborough documentaries as a child. That’s what really inspired me to study a STEM subject at University.

I was fascinated to see how fast-paced scientific advances can be and also how quickly research can become outdated. Being at the forefront of this fast-paced research is what drew me to working in this field. Now I have the opportunity to be that researcher, making these amazing discoveries!

 

HOW DO/DID YOU TACKLE OBSTACLES?

I’ve had set backs along the way and for a long time I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life or what direction to take. I finally decided on a PhD after a few years exploring other options. At the time I saw these years as lost time but really it was all part of my learning experience. It shaped me into the person I am today and opened more doors for me. I now overcome obstacles by changing my mind-set. See obstacles as an opportunity to grow, learn, and become stronger.

WHAT DO YOU LOOK AT & THINK, "I WISH YOUNGER ME WOULD HAVE KNOWN THIS WAS POSSIBLE?"

I was the first person in my family to go to University. Never in a million years did I think I’d get to a point where I’d be starting a PhD at Oxford!

I wish I could tell my younger self to believe in herself. I’ve always doubted by abilities and thought I had to limit my possibilities because I didn’t think I was capable. If younger Gina could see that it all worked out okay, I’d tell her to focus less on the finish line and more on the journey itself.

WHY DO YOU LOVE WORKING IN STEM?

STEM professionals created the internet, landed the first person on the moon, and discovered the structure of DNA (to name a few). Working in STEM, you have the potential to push the boundaries of our existing knowledge. You have the power to make a difference to the lives of others. I solve real-world problems every single day which has the potential to impact people’s current and future health. For me, that’s why it’s the most exciting and rewarding career there is.

BEST ADVICE FOR NEXT GENERATION?

Never let anyone (including yourself) tell you that you can’t do something. Get comfortable with trying things you’ve never done before. Get comfortable with challenging existing ideas. Get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable. Feel the fear and do it anyway.

INSPIRATION

“Success is getting what you want, happiness is wanting what you get”