What do you do?
As an observational astrophysicist I study the atmospheres of extrasolar planets and brown dwarfs. I use large telescopes around the world and in space to try to understand weather on distant worlds.
Why did you choose this field?
I didn't know much about astronomy when I was growing up, but I did enjoy STEM subjects in school. At university I was drawn towards the field, eventually specialising Astrophysics for my final two years. During my undergrad I went on an observing trip to an observatory on La Palma in the Canary Islands. The first time I saw the Milky Way light up above me I knew that astronomy was for me!
What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?
Obtaining my PhD in Astronomy - becoming the world-leading expertise in a specific area of study. It still surprises me sometimes!
Why do you love working in STEM?
Every day involves following my curiosity as I try to reach a greater understanding than the day before. Sometimes my curiosity leads me to exciting discoveries, and sometimes it leads me to a dead-end. Over the years I have really grown to love this process!
Best advice for next generation?
If you feel like you are the odd one out in the room, remember that it is precisely your differing experiences and viewpoints that will help you excel in STEM.
Inspo quote / fun fact / role model
"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars" - Oscar Wilde