Outreach Leader in Astronomy
University of Southampton
What inspired you to pursue a career in STEM?
I have always been interested in space, astronauts, pretty pictures from Hubble etc. Really like the big questions such as ‘Why are there supermassive black holes at the centres of galaxies?’ ‘Where is the edge of the Universe’ etc, still excited by these questions now. Also very much enjoyed Maths and had excellent Physics teachers at GCSE and A-Level which made me believe anything was possible, and that dreaming of being an astronaut was perfectly fine.
What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
Probably the Faulkes Telescope Project, I was lucky enough to use this telescope for my undergraduate studies in both my 3rd and 4th year projects at Cardiff University. It is a robotic telescope which is controlled over the internet, and can be used by school children for FREE. I used it to learn about radiation from Black Holes and look at Stars in clusters.
Role models and heroes:
My Parents, Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Prof Brian Cox
Advice for future STEMinists?
Never stop asking the big questions. This is especially helpful if you end up working in research where it is very easy to forget why you started to do the research in the first place. Doing outreach in schools and getting amazing questions from students during my PhD really helped me remember why my research on black holes was so cool.
Favorite website or app:
I have to say my own website 🙂 www.astrodome.soton.ac.uk