PhD Student, Loughborough University
STEM can be incredibly rewarding if you put in the effort & have the passion to see things through.
What do you do?
I work in a biology lab where I'm researching what substances we can use to help heal wounds. It's important to find something that can kill bacteria and help skin knit back together quickly to prevent the wound from getting worse.
I grow bacteria and skin cells and test different treatments against them to see what works! I also spend time analysing data and writing reports.
Why did you choose this field?
I had always enjoyed biology at school so did my Bachelor's degree in Biomedical Science, I knew I wanted to work in healthcare science where my work would help people in need and this seemed perfect! When I graduated I realised that the parts I enjoyed best were genetics based so I did a Masters degree in Molecular Biology. After this I went to work for a company that researched new drugs, but I couldn't get into the high level research roles that I wanted so I left to pursue a PhD, where I'm learning a lot about research techniques and the field of microbiology.
What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?
Going to a conference and presenting my poster - PhD students often go to conferences and are expected to network and tell people about their research. I'm very shy and not overly confident, I was nervous enough just about travelling on my own but the thought of having to talk to strangers who had been in the field much longer than I have about my work was incredibly daunting. However after I'd spoken to a few people I was more relaxed and I never thought it was something I'd be comfortable doing.
Why do you love working in STEM?
I enjoy the variety of my work. While I'll work on an experiment for a few months at a time I'll be planning what I'm doing next and knowing that what I'm doing is new and hasn't been done before is exciting! It's exciting to think that the treatments I'm working on could one day help people in hospitals.
Best advice for next generation?
Go for it! STEM can be incredibly rewarding if you put in the effort and have the passion to see things through. Although it happens less now, I have come across people who thought that science wasn't for girls but I've proved them wrong and if you put your foot down you will gain people's respect.
Inspo quote / fun fact / role model
“I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.” - Thomas Edison