What do you do?
As a University academic a lot of my time is split between teaching and research, although quite often they both combine quite nicely. I'm lucky in that most of the time I get to focus on 3D Printing, which is one of my favourite things in the world (after my husband, dog, and a few other important people of course). My job is quite flexible, which means as long as I do the things I 'have' to do, I can pretty much choose what to do with my time. That gives a lot of time for trying new things, or getting out and about talking to the public about what we do. Everyone is different, and looks for different things, but for me this is the exact right job!
Why did you choose this field?
For a long time my vague plan was to finish university and be 'some kind of engineer'! Then in the last couple of months of my degree, we had a talk on 3D printing and it honestly blew my mind. I was so instantly excited by all the possibilities it brings, that I just knew it was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life!
What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?
It took me quite a while to realise that you can be an expert in something without knowing everything about it. That used to make me super nervous when giving a presentation; I'd be confident in presenting the talk I'd prepared, but would dread the questions in case I couldn't answer something. It may seem a small thing, but the first time I said 'I don't know' without feeling like it made me look bad was a key moment for me (and one I still remember)!
Why do you love working in STEM?
For me the absolute best part is the variety of things we're working on, and in not always knowing what's coming next. Some of my most interesting research projects have started as random conversations which snowballed into something great, while other times something we were certain would work just... didn't and that always gives us the excitement of trying to figure out why!
Best advice for next generation?
Try things. Try everything you possibly can, until you find something you're really excited about. It doesn't matter if you give something a go and realise you don't like it, just keep trying until you find your 'thing'. There are so many different STEM careers you could have, just keep on exploring different things whenever you get the chance - at school, youth groups, in your local community or wherever, until you find something you really want to do!
Inspo quote / fun fact / role model
I love what I do so much, I even had my wedding flowers 3D printed!!