Equality and Diversity in the Department of Psychology

Meet the Psychologists

Can psychologists read your mind?

No, we can't. But sometimes people think we can! Instead we use experiments to understand more about how people think, interact, and experience the world.

We might spend our days looking at EEG data or setting up an eye-tracking experiment, but we're still normal people. We have a host of different backgrounds, different educations, different paths to psychology and academia.

Sometimes there is no straight path to your passion. Some of our researchers had different career plans before finding psychology. Some are parents. Some have moved across continents to come to Essex. Sometimes we feel anxiety or self doubt. We worry that we're not good enough. But we also find our work fascinating and rewarding and can't imagine doing anything else!

Read the interviews below to find out what it's like to be a scientist and...

  • Who is "first in family"?
  • Who worked for the Canadian government on policy making?
  • Who used to be a professional athlete?
  • Who has a background in law?
  • Who is part of a ukulele group?

"Be resilient, keep the goal in mind, be passionate, enjoy the little triumphs."

What attracted you to science as a young person?

When I was in high school I took an optional module on psychology. The possibility that different people would perceive the same reality differently blew my mind. Then I learnt that language had the potential to change the way we think and the way we perceive the world.

Further down the line, I thought that looking into how people born deaf use language in the visual modality—and how their brain is modified as a result—would be a fascinating career path. It has taken me on an incredible journey.

What do you do on a typical work day? Which aspects of your work get you out of bed in the morning?

I get the children ready for nursery/school, happily hop in the train and go through my emails/plan for the day while in the train. At the office I prepare for teaching, meet students, work on previous research projects—at the moment I am writing a manuscript on an experiment with really interesting results—and plan new research.

When I am lucky I get to go to the lab and look at someone’s brainwaves.

Did you explore any other career avenues, and if so how did they compare to your current work?

I never did.

Have you encountered any roadblocks in your career, and how did you overcome them?

I was the first in my extended family to go to University, I was one of the few people in my uni that went for a postdoctoral position abroad, I was one of the even fewer that decided not to go back to known land (Spain in this case).

Not understanding well enough the culture, costumes and values in each of the new places has been a struggle. Trying to find a role model has been the major struggle for me, particularly if I count in the hope of finding a balance between academia and family life. Over the years I have found two good mentors to whom I am really grateful.

Was anything in your career path easier than you had expected?

To be fair a lot of it has been more difficult than I initially anticipated (or than I would have liked). For my two postdocs and my fellowship, I got the job I really wanted and I only had to apply once, I learnt later that it was a lot more difficult for other colleagues.

What advice would you give people who aspire to work in science?

Be resilient, keep the goal in mind, be passionate, enjoy the little triumphs. Knowledge, discovery and the ability to reason and think critically are needed more than ever in today’s world.

What one thing would you change to make science more accessible to people who don’t currently pursue it?

I’d work towards making science and scientific thinking more accessible to everyone at different levels of society.

I wish I had the chance to have more contact with scientists when I was young, not only to talk about the content but also to see that science is done by a group of very diverse people with a lot of different personal circumstances.

"I think if more people could see how we all got to where we are, they'd realise there is a path there for them as well."

What attracted you to science as a young person?

I didn't realise I was interested in "science" until I had already started a university degree in psychology. I have always been interested in understanding "why", and although I enjoyed science classes in primary school, to me history and culture were more compelling topics. I loved trying to understand how people thought and behaved similarly or differently across time and history; how the personal environment could shape individual thoughts and feelings and vice versa.

Imagine my surprise to learn all about a topic called "social psychology" which answers exactly those questions, and even better that it had a scientific method for testing these big ideas!

What do you do on a typical work day? Which aspects of your work get you out of bed in the morning?

My typical work day is different depending on time of term. Some days are just about preparing a lecture or tackling a pile of marking, others finding the perfect measure, or analysing data and writing up results. One of the great things about being an academic is that the job is more flexible day-to-day compared to other jobs.

Regardless of what kind of work day it is going to be, what gets me out of bed in the morning is knowing that I have the kind job that let's me focus on the exact questions and issues I'm passionate about. The studies might not always work, but at least I had the freedom to try and understand a question I found interesting.

Did you explore any other career avenues, and if so how did they compare to your current work?

I've had many jobs over the years, with a couple that had the potential of becoming careers.

For a couple of years, I worked as a sales and marketing assistant during my undergraduate studies. This used some of the skills I'd learned in my undergraduate studies on psychology and business, but ultimately I realised it wasn't for me.

My next two jobs focused on research. First, I worked as a research analyst for the Government of Canada in a learning policy group. We were responsible to trying to figure out what the barriers to university-level education were in Canada, and what policies were having an impact. I also worked as a research advisor for a public opinion and market research firm. In this role, other companies and government organisations would ask us to design a study that could test an important question they had.

In both my research analyst and research advisor jobs I got to explore lots of interesting questions that had real important consequences for people's day-to-day lives (e.g., would more grants make university easier to access? Why aren't people in our city recycling? Why are our employees so unhappy?). But I was always answering someone else's questions, never my own.

I realised that as much as I enjoyed working in research, what I truly wanted was to be able to dedicate myself to understanding a specific topic and asking my own questions.

Have you encountered any roadblocks in your career, and how did you overcome them?

When I was still an undergraduate student, I almost failed a module on statistics. I had avoided getting help until it was almost too late, and even with a tutor it wasn't possible to salvage my final mark although I did manage to pass.

What made this particularly stressful is that this module brought down my overall degree mark, and almost forced me to drop part of my degree specialisation as a result. After that term, I changed my study habits, made a point of seeking help as soon as I was confused about something, and managed to get a high first in the next-level statistics module I took the following year! I learned a lot about my strengths and weaknesses that year, as well as what really mattered to me for my future.

Really though, the biggest roadblock I've encountered in my career is an overwhelming sense of self-doubt. Before I started my PhD, I saw myself as someone who is largely competent (statistics aside). PhDs can be very long (especially in North America) and very stressful. Lots of people develop a sense of imposter syndrome, which is an overwhelming concern that you are about to be uncovered as a fraud who doesn't belong or deserve the successes you've experienced.

I am lucky to have a very strong social support network and PhD mentors who have supported my successes and failures over the years. Even after successfully defending my PhD and getting a job, some days I still feel like an imposter in the presence of so many smart and successful colleagues. But I took on the advice to celebrate every "win" to help cushion the days filled with paper rejections or failed studies. I've also try to get more involved in new hobbies so I have lots of fun things to distract me when I need them.

Was anything in your career path easier than you had expected?

Some people talk about how competitive academia can be. I thought I would really struggle in that kind of environment and worried I wouldn't want to become an academic if it meant always competing to be seen as the "best and brightest".

In reality, most people are so supportive and excited to work with others. I think that's what makes for the best kind of science: when everyone is collaborating to answer a question, combining all of their expertise and unique insights together. Some people definitely have a competitive streak, but it's much easier to avoid those kinds of working relationship than I had initially worried.

What advice would you give people who aspire to work in science?

Being a good scientist means being good at lots of different things: being able to ask big and important questions; figuring out the best study designs for testing these questions; running simple and complex statistical models; writing up and communicating findings in a clear and engaging way; and playing well with others to build successful collaborations.

It can be really intimidating to think that you have to be perfect at all of these different skills. But the important thing to remember is that everyone - even the most brilliant scientist you can think of - has strengths and weaknesses in each of these areas. The important thing to remember is to not compare your beginning to someone else's middle!

One day you will be talking to another scientist you admire only to realise that you have a specific skill that they lack. And it will feel awesome.

What one thing would you change to make science more accessible to people who don’t currently pursue it?

I would love to increase representation in science. I think that sometimes people tend to think that a scientist looks or thinks a certain way, and that if you don't fit that mould then it isn't the right place for you.

The path from A-B often seems like a straight one when you're on the outside looking in. But most scientists you know have taken a longer, winding path to get where they are today. I think if more people could see how we all got to where we are, they'd realise there is a path there for them as well.

"Seek out mentors who can inspire and take the time develop you. This will not be reflected by their level of fame in their field..."

What attracted you to science as a young person?

Strangely enough, I did not think of myself as attracted to science, but I was (and still am) curious about how the world works - something that science tries to answer in many varied ways. I also love that in science, we approach that question in a structured way, because that makes it less overwhelming to make sense of.

What do you do on a typical work day? Which aspects of your work get you out of bed in the morning?

I like that there is not really a ‘typical’ day structure in what I do. I will have a number of tasks including (but not limited to - I am probably forgetting some) teaching classes, meeting with students, programming a study, analysing and presenting data, brainstorming research ideas, writing up studies or proposals for studies, revising papers for publication, meeting with research partners, and presenting research - including some travel to conferences on occasion.

It is varied work, and I enjoy the variety!

Did you explore any other career avenues, and if so how did they compare to your current work?

Academia is my fourth career path, coming after being a full-time athlete (sailing), undertaking an accountancy/business degree (never pursued it further), and working as a civil servant.

My current role is strikingly similar to what I started out doing (being a national sailor): I get a lot of autonomy to structure my day (outside of some blocks where I need to be there - e.g., a group training session / a teaching event), I have to be independently focused and self-motivated, because no one is micro-managing how I produce the results. On the flip side, there is also a lot of job insecurity inherent in both roles, and the incessant worry that no matter how good I am, I will never be good enough.

However, in comparison to working as a civil servant with relative job security - well, the micro-managing drove me crazy, and that memory motivates me to keep fighting any barriers in my job now!

Have you encountered any roadblocks in your career, and how did you overcome them?

The number of career changes probably tells you everything!

I think first, it would be that I never had good exposure to the possibilities available in science-related careers. Growing up, it seemed like you could be a teacher, doctor, lawyer, or do business. Overcoming that was a matter of being able to take the leap to do something that really interested me.

In my researcher career, I hit a number of roadblocks in getting published - one paper got rejected 6 times (I nearly gave it up as a bad job, but fortunately didn’t, because the next time I submitted it went through fairly easily, and then got picked up by news media). It was a realistic dose of the amount of chance sometimes involved in the publication process - you never know if you are going to get a fair hearing for your work.

Right now, the biggest roadblock is the precariousness of jobs as an early career researcher/lecturer. It’s not always easy to stay motivated in my work knowing that however well I do now, I will be unemployed soon if no jobs are forthcoming within the next few months!

Was anything in your career path easier than you had expected?

In my PhD, I was warned that there’d be some point at which I’d hate my supervisor, or be in her office in tears, but that has yet to happen - and given that I’ve completed it, never will now!

I think that was the main thing that was so much easier than I would have expected, but I give full credit to the wonderful (and inspiring) woman my PhD supervisor is!

What advice would you give people who aspire to work in science?

Keep asking the question ‘why’. Why did you start on this path? Why do you want to do this work? The answers keep you going when you hit roadblocks, and sometimes open up alternative paths to where you want to go.

Also, seek out mentors who can inspire and take the time develop you. This will not be reflected by their level of fame in their field, but you can find out by asking to have a conversation with them. A good mentor will be open to that.

What one thing would you change to make science more accessible to people who don’t currently pursue it?

At the ground level, access to (realistic) information about science careers - people who might be interested need to know the different paths out there, and be able to judge if that would be an attractive career for them.

At the top level, making good citizenship within science careers more valued - science would be more welcoming as a field and career choice if the efforts taken by senior staff members to develop and nurture new talent were valued more (especially in universities, where promoting learning and knowledge throughout the institution really ought to be prized more than research output).

"Weigh in what is important to you when deciding what route to follow and realise that you don’t have to stick with an initial decision either..."

What attracted you to science as a young person?

I don’t think I particularly thought of going into science as a career when I was young, though I have always liked the sort of brilliant but slightly mad professor types in comic books, stories and films (e.g. Doc Brown of the Back to the Future films).

If there was anything that inspired me in my youth to even think about a scientific or similar career, it would probably be a science fiction comic book series, called Yoko Tsuno by Roger Leloup. In this series a female electrotechnical engineer has all kinds of adventures, of which quite a few revolve around high-tech.

I guess what ultimately let me to a career in science though is that I have always liked puzzles and figuring things out. I guess this is part of the reason that I have always done well in school in STEM subjects. I am also not afraid of a challenge and have perhaps not always taken the easiest route of improving what I already knew, but instead to tackle the things I did not yet know or understand.

I guess this type of scientific mindset has always been a part of me, and the thing that ultimately led to a career in science, even though I was not thinking of such a career at all yet when I was young.

What do you do on a typical work day? Which aspects of your work get you out of bed in the morning?

I like the research side of things: the puzzling and the figuring things out. So I try to find those things in every aspect of my work.

In term of research the link is of course clear. But also in terms of teaching I have grown to like the puzzle and experimenting of how best to present the teaching materials to the best effect for the learning outcomes.

Did you explore any other career avenues, and if so how did they compare to your current work?

N.A.

Have you encountered any roadblocks in your career, and how did you overcome them?

I have been a postdoc on temporary contracts for quite a long time. This is partially because of my own choices as I liked the position and lab I was in, but partially also because opportunities for permanent positions were very scarce and highly competitive in the country that I was working in. So eventually, I applied for permanent positions in other countries and moved.

I think it is quite sad that it is very difficult to have a career in science without having to move about too much and living with quite a bit of uncertainty for a prolonged period of time. Though science is about learning as well, and you can learn new things in other labs etc, I think the impact a career in science is likely to have on someone’s personal life is one of the factors that is leading people to steer away from it.

Was anything in your career path easier than you had expected?

Not sure, nothing particular comes to mind. Note though that this does not mean that everything was very difficult. Most of it is just getting on with it I guess.

What advice would you give people who aspire to work in science?

To realise that science happen at Universities as well as at many companies and industries that can have their own research departments as well.

Working in industry can have the benefit of achieving a stable position early on without for instance also having to move about, though perhaps at the cost of less individual freedom of what form of research you will be conducting and which questions are pursued. So weigh in what is important to you when deciding what route to follow and realise that you don’t have to stick with an initial decision either (there is no reason why you could not switch between these career paths later on).

I think it is important to realise that there are always multiple options and a career in science does not have to mean making choices that will affect your personal life at many other levels in potentially undesired ways, if you plan things out.

What one thing would you change to make science more accessible to people who don’t currently pursue it?

I guess that would be the aspects around personal life. Stability to be able to stay in the same area etc. such that the choice to pursue such a career does not necessarily lead to a conflict with preferences in one’s personal life or personal lifestyle.

"I wanted to do something that makes a difference to the world but is rooted in scientific theory so that I have concrete evidence to back my arguments up."

What attracted you to science as a young person?

I have an interest in social phenomena– particularly how people become prejudiced, how it can be reduced in society and how we can empower people to call it out.

I wanted to do something that makes a difference to the world but is rooted in scientific theory so that I have concrete evidence to back my arguments up.

What do you do on a typical work day? Which aspects of your work get you out of bed in the morning?

Much of my time is spent preparing for carrying out experiments. It takes a while to get the design right, then choosing how to appropriately measure what I am most interested in. I spend a lot of time in meetings, then making amendments to planned studies, doing a lot of admin and learning how to use the software that is required.

But it is all a step towards doing the exciting stuff – to conduct experiments in the hope that the findings go towards making a positive difference, whether it be in my research field, in academia or in policy making and empowering people. That is what gets me out of bed every morning – knowing that I am doing something that could improve peoples’ lives.

I also work part-time as a Graduate Lab Assistant, which is one of the highlights of my week – I really enjoy helping to teach first year students, and find it really rewarding.

Did you explore any other career avenues, and if so how did they compare to your current work?

I previously worked as a Medical Secretary for Orthopaedic and Dermatology clinics within a number of NHS posts. I was very comfortable doing it and it was secure work that I became very well-experienced in.

However, I had always regretted not pursuing academia, just to see how far I could have gone. It was only when I had children and stayed at home to raise them that I felt that I needed to get my teeth into something different. This is when I decided to begin my BSc degree. It was the best decision I have ever made.

Have you encountered any roadblocks in your career, and how did you overcome them?

All of the time. It can be really demotivating at first, to apply for funding or grants and getting rejected. But I am learning that every academic has experienced the same knock-backs and I have realised that it is better to brush it off and throw yourself into the next application.

Was anything in your career path easier than you had expected?

I thought I would be disadvantaged because I have two young children and sometimes, I need to collect them early from school or arrange meetings around childcare.

But my supervisor is also a working mother and has been inspirational. She told me that my children come first and no one will frown upon the fact that sometimes, I will have dash off or even bring them into university with me. I have been met with such understanding. It was something I was really worried about at first.

What advice would you give people who aspire to work in science?

Be prepared for an extraordinary amount of work – what you think you knock out in a couple of days can take weeks or months and you have to be completely meticulous and very patient.

But it really is worth it, and incredibly rewarding when things go right. You also feel really important. I love telling people what I do.

What one thing would you change to make science more accessible to people who don’t currently pursue it?

The cost!

"I get to explore my curiosity in a field that really interests me, and I find that very exciting."

What attracted you to science as a young person?

In one sense, I don't think I was attracted to science as a young person. I was however curious about the world, people, how they act in certain scenarios and why they feel motivated to do that.

It wasn't until much later that I realised that satisfying this curiosity was, in fact, science. Now, I get to explore my curiosity in a field that really interests me, and I find that very exciting.

What do you do on a typical work day? Which aspects of your work get you out of bed in the morning?

As a PhD student, my days vary a lot and it often depends on whether I'm preparing for a study, collecting data, analysing, or writing up. There can be days where all I accomplish is reading a single paper, or writing a small paragraph! Some days I get to meet lots of new people during data collection, and others I can be in front my laptop until the early hours of the morning with so many results, I end up dreaming about numbers.

The bits I really enjoy are running analyses for the first time, or brainstorming ideas for studies that make me excited, and could lead to important pathways to impact in my field of interest.

Did you explore any other career avenues, and if so how did they compare to your current work?

I have previously explored other career avenues, and as a PhD student, I'm exploring different career avenues still.

My background was legal and business work and I left in pursuit of something more creative, more social, and that better satisfied my sense of purpose. I found all of these things in academia.

In all honesty, I expected my research to provide a better work-life balance, but even as a student I can tell that this was a misconception! Academia is just as all-consuming as my previous work, but I enjoy it more because it’s something that excites me.

Going forward, alternative career avenues could be working professionally in the social media industry that I currently research, but so far, I enjoy the independence of research more.

Have you encountered any roadblocks in your career, and how did you overcome them?

I can't possibly say that I have a career yet. But in my limited academic experience, my biggest roadblocks have been funding, and personal circumstances.

I overcame them with a lot of persistence, making sure I told everyone relevant what I was looking for in case they knew of a funding opportunity that I could be considered for, coming up with some creative solutions to secure funding, and experiencing a stroke of luck.

I think it's important to mention luck because no matter how great you are, there are always more worthy applicants applying for opportunities than there are awards to give out.

Was anything in your career path easier than you had expected?

Again, I can't say I've had a career yet. I wouldn't say that anything so far has been easy, but that's also because it's been a huge learning curve. I predict that with time, things will get easier as I get used to how things are often done in academia.

What advice would you give people who aspire to work in science?

Continue asking questions, speak to anyone who is interested in listening, and always make sure you have an interest in what you're doing.

What one thing would you change to make science more accessible to people who don’t currently pursue it?

Using myself as a prime example, I had no idea what the sciences entailed until after I'd completed my law degree and happened to stumble across psychology coincidentally.

I think science could be made more accessible by authentically portraying what it entails, and highlighting the amazing, contemporary, and cutting-edge work that's currently being carried out, and the very noticeable real-life impact being made because of this work.

"One of my favourite things about my job is that I’m able to learn new things every day."

What attracted you to science as a young person?

I wasn’t the sort of kid who knew I would be a scientist from an early age – in another life, I probably would have studied English! But when I was around 15/16 (the time when you have to start narrowing down your options in the English school system) I made the decision that focusing on STEM subjects would give me more choices later on.

What do you do on a typical work day? Which aspects of your work get you out of bed in the morning?

My days can be very varied and can include any combination of teaching, programming, doing some tricky statistical analysis, meetings, reading and writing.

One of my favourite things about my job is that I’m able to learn new things every day.

Did you explore any other career avenues, and if so how did they compare to your current work?

I’ve mostly just worked in universities, though in a variety of roles, from teaching-focused to research-focused to a year working in outreach and engagement! My current job nicely combines all those aspects.

Have you encountered any roadblocks in your career, and how did you overcome them?

Not really roadblocks – but it hasn’t necessarily been a completely linear path e.g. it took me a couple of application rounds to get PhD funding.

Having a range of fairly short-term jobs has also involved moving around quite a bit – I know I am lucky that this hasn’t been too logistically challenging for me, though even then it can mean you never really feel settled. You just have to keep working at trying to get to know people everywhere you go – and at least in the end you have a great network of friends all over the world :)

Was anything in your career path easier than you had expected?

My work has always been quite varied and interdisciplinary and so far it hasn’t been as challenging as I thought it would be to make a career out of that – but we’ll see how I get on!

What advice would you give people who aspire to work in science?

Take a few more maths/programming courses if you can – they’re never going to be a bad investment, even if you don’t want to work in those areas (both biology and psychology research can contain quite a lot of coding and maths...)

What one thing would you change to make science more accessible to people who don’t currently pursue it?

If you didn’t focus on maths/science at school/university, it’s hard to switch later on, even if you later realise it’s something that might interest you.

So I would like to see more lifelong educational opportunities, making science more accessible by giving people the power to learn new skills at any age.

"I get to play with ideas, work with incredibly smart and kind colleagues and students from all over the world..."

What attracted you to science as a young person?

I wasn’t actually particularly interested in science until I started my psychology degree as an undergrad.

To build my CV to be more competitive for a PhD, I signed up for my department’s versions of RES and UROP, and from there I fell in love with scientific research. I loved that I could explore interesting, often philosophical questions but get actual, tangible answers to them.

What do you do on a typical work day? Which aspects of your work get you out of bed in the morning?

My days have ranged from scuba diving with dolphins before teaching back-to-back lectures in Israel to programming experiments and writing papers at home in my pyjamas.

This variety is what really gets me out of bed – I get to play with ideas, work with incredibly smart and kind colleagues and students from all over the world, think of new and interesting ways to communicate research and statistics to students and lay people, and all the while get paid for it. It’s the best job in the world.

Did you explore any other career avenues, and if so how did they compare to your current work?

I started psychology as an undergrad at first because I wanted to go into clinical/counselling psychology to be a therapist – I even worked as a counsellor at a clinic for kids with eating disorders one summer during my undergrad years. But eventually I decided that the academic life was for me.

I often joke that I loved university so much that I never wanted to leave, and luckily I never had to!

Have you encountered any roadblocks in your career, and how did you overcome them?

Unfortunately my PhD supervisor passed away unexpectedly during my last year, which was incredibly hard on me. I have also suffered from lifelong anxiety that sometimes makes my work a struggle. In both instances I have relied a lot on my friends and family as well as seeking professional help.

Recently I have made an effort to regularly exercise and get involved in different hobbies (like rock climbing and playing in my ukulele group) – I think this has helped quite a lot.

Was anything in your career path easier than you had expected?

I am lucky to have a husband and family who have been supportive of my career. I have now lived in 3 different countries and travelled to many places, all for my work – this could have been a lot harder if not impossible if I did not have a partner who could be flexible and sacrifice for me, as well as a family back in the US who cheers me on and lays on the guilt only once in a while.

What advice would you give people who aspire to work in science?

There is so much advice to give, but the main thing I would say is to try to decouple your sense of identity and self-worth from the results of your work, be it the actual findings, the publications, how the work is received, whether you get that grant or job, etc. It is very difficult to do, but you will be all the healthier for it, and the science will be better too.

What one thing would you change to make science more accessible to people who don’t currently pursue them?

It is imperative that we welcome people from all different backgrounds to science. There is a dearth of scientists who are women/trans (and who have children), ethnic minorities, from non-Western countries, who live with various disabilities, among many other demographics.

The main way to change that is to ask these people (rather than guessing) what would make science more accessible to them, and then actually listen and act on their advice (rather than pay lip-service).

I think the hardest part is the latter but I am certain we will see big strides here if we put in the work to do it.

"Frame failure as a positive part of the learning process and make sure you fail often."

What attracted you to science as a young person?

Having ways of finding out answers to things I didn’t understand, especially finding out how things worked and being able to tell people about it (not that much has changed really!)

What do you do on a typical work day? Which aspects of your work get you out of bed in the morning?

A typical work day is varied – writing/thinking/reading about research, analysing data, meeting with colleagues and students, teaching etc. Curiosity, working with excellent people, and the potential for research impact are the things that motivate me.

Did you explore any other career avenues, and if so how did they compare to your current work?

I started as a medical student but switched to psychology and philosophy after a year.

I also spent a year working in Public Engagement with a fantastic team but missed research too much. I discovered that finding out what you don’t want to do can be the most useful thing for understanding what motivates you at work.

Have you encountered any roadblocks in your career, and how did you overcome them?

Balancing work with life – especially when uncontrollable life events happen! This is still a work in progress but it can help me to think about the bigger picture, be patient, and make sure I see my best friend and her dog at least weekly.

Was anything in your career path easier than you had expected?

Asking for help (although I still find it difficult!). People are typically immensely generous with their time and expertise. I’m very lucky to have supportive mentors.

What advice would you give people who aspire to work in science?

Find something that interests you that you’ll be intrinsically motivated to continue working on. Don’t be scared to ask for help or advice. Frame failure as a positive part of the learning process and make sure you fail often.

What one thing would you change to make science more accessible to people who don’t currently pursue them?

It’s too hard to think about one thing - we really need a multi-faceted approach. Diverse representation and public engagement/outreach work are a good start.

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