Studied: BSc Biology and PhD Biological Sciences
Graduated: 2013 and 2018
Current Role: Secondary School Teacher
I studied at Royal Holloway for seven years, I picked the course based on the diversity and freedom of choice of modules and I was really pleased with being able to study a mix of zoology, ecology and molecular biology courses. I really enjoyed the independence of my final year research project. I graduated with a first and I was offered the opportunity to continue my research with a PhD and I jumped at the chance to stay within such a supportive learning environment.
My PhD research aims to reduce non-renewable peat usage in horticulture by improving sustainable growing media with beneficial fungi. I received the highly commended prize for the Marsh Horticultural Science Award which was awarded for my work as an early career researcher in plant science, to encourage my work in this under represented area of science.
During my time as a postgraduate I made the most of all the opportunities to get involved in the department. Representing the plant science centre and Chairing the Postgraduate Committee allowed me to make sure my voice, and the voices of others were heard and improvements made. The importance of this and the ability to make a difference to people's lives through improving their learning experience has become a real focus for me and this responsibility taught me many skills that I can take into my future career as an educator.
I realised my passion and flair for teaching by having the opportunity to work as a demonstrator in undergraduate laboratory sessions and supervising third year research projects. All the students I have taught and researched with make me feel proud that I used my time as a PhD student to enhance their university experience in some way, as well as taking the opportunity to learn so much from them. I managed to take teaching courses alongside my research to make sure I used the experience fully and to make sure my teaching improved. I received the Excellence in Teaching Engagement Award which was part of the Staff Recognition awards at Royal Holloway. It was really fulfilling to win an award that came about from student and staff recognition of my efforts in teaching within the school.
All of these opportunities and my experience at Royal Holloway as a whole has given me valuable experience that has helped me to gain a place as a salaried trainee teacher through the Researchers in Schools programme where I hope to continue my research, promote university education, teach and study for a full teaching qualification.
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