What do you do?
I work on the STREAM (Sequencing The Rivers for Environmental Assessment and Monitoring) project, where I undertake a combination of DNA metabarcoding analyses of river sediment and science communication/outreach
Why did you choose this field?
I have always wanted to work in ecology/conservation but I had no clue what exact topic I wanted to study. So I kept my undergraduate degree and masters degree broad (BSc Zoology and MSc environmental biology). It wasn't until I was deciding on a masters thesis topic, that I took a chance on a population genetics project. This was my first experience working with DNA and I ended up utterly falling in love with DNA-based work. Despite the little experience I had, I decided to apply for an environmental DNA-based PhD and have never looked back since!
What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?
Getting my PhD - I thought you had to be a top-achieving A* student to get that far in academia. I have always been driven but have struggled with my grades, especially during my AS and A-levels where I had to retake many exams to get the grades needed for university. I wish I had known there is so much more to being successful in academia than just grades and test scores
Why do you love working in STEM?
I wake up everyday excited to get to work. For me, it is the combination of writing and public engagement which gets me excited. I love how flexible and multidisciplinary STEM is for me and I enjoy being able to apply myself in different ways. There are no 2 days the same for me, which keeps my work interesting!
Best advice for next generation?
Do what you love and if in doubt stay broad; finding what sets your soul on fire doesn’t happen overnight, so along the way keep your choices relatively broad so you can experience many different subject areas until you find one that clicks with you.
Inspo quote / fun fact / role model
“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”