Tell us a bit about yourself – what was your PhD about and where did you study?I completed a PhD in physical chemistry at the University of Nottingham in 2000. It focused on the behaviour on molecules on single crystal metal surfaces.
What do you do now? What did you decide to do next after gaining your PhD?I was a secondary school science/chemistry teacher for a long time. These days I’m a science (and fiction) writer, and also do some tutoring.
Has having a PhD helped in developing your career? If yes, what has been the biggest impact? If no, why do you think that is?It was useful in teaching, since I had that extra level of research experience and was able to talk to interested students about what it means to take science further. As a science writer–which can be competitive–it represents an extra level of knowledge and experience.
What’s one piece of advice that you’d offer prospective students considering a PhD?My PhD was a long time ago and I think things are different now; probably harder. But I suppose the main thing is that you must be incredibly self-motivated: if you need to be constantly told what to do, you’ll never finish!
And what one thing would you suggest that new PhD graduates should do next?Don’t panic! You have lots of options. Take some time to think about what you want to do and don’t feel you have to continue in the same field forever. Your skills are far more important than your knowledge.
Lastly, what’s your favourite memory from your time as a PhD student?Probably drinking tea and coffee with all the other students during breaks! There was great camaraderie. I met my husband there, too.
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