Briefly, tell us about your background at King’s and career up to this point?
I joined King’s as an undergraduate on the Biomedical Science BSc programme. I loved the course, learnt a huge amount, and knew I wanted to pursue the biosciences further. I’d also enjoyed being at King’s, so I applied to the King’s Bioscience Institute’s MRes/PhD scheme (now MRC Doctoral Training Partnership in Biomedical Sciences). After completing my PhD on mitochondrial signalling in the lab of Dr Joe Bateman, I was briefly a postdoctoral Research Associate and Teaching Fellow before securing my current post as Lecturer in Bioscience Education on the Academic Education Pathway (AEP).
How do you feel to have won the ‘Rising Star’ award, as voted for by students?
Incredibly excited and grateful. Staff on the AEP are focused on the educational experience at King’s, so to be nominated and voted for by students is extremely rewarding – proof that we’re doing some things well and heading in the right direction!
What advice would you give to our students who want to follow a similar path to you and get into academia later down the line?
If you want to do a PhD, try out a few different labs and projects on summer placements or undergraduate/Masters courses to see what suits you best. Once you are a few years into your PhD and have a firmer understanding of how academia works, pursue what motivates you, even if your colleagues think it an unusual or difficult path. Sometimes barriers will dissuade other people, but if you can get past those barriers then you’ve got a head start!
What would you say to your 18-year-old self?
Just keep doing what you’re doing – trying out things you think you’ll like and working hard at them. It will pay off in the end, even if it seems unlikely on the way.
Who inspires you most and why?
My colleagues were and are genuinely an inspiration. Dr Alison Snape and Dr Stuart Knight were my favourite teachers when I was an undergrad. They taught me very well and made it look like fun. They were the reason I tried some teaching during my PhD, and now they are highly supportive colleagues. I’m developing my own teaching style, but my approach is still highly derivative of theirs (ask questions, set puzzles). I get a little buzz when I see myself listed on the timetable with them.