I spent much of my childhood investigating the world and have never really grown out of it!
I was extremely fortunate to grow up in rural Northamptonshire, playing in hedgerow dens and building dams in the local stream. I had some wonderfully inspiring teachers who instilled in me a love of the natural world. My biology teachers at comprehensive were particularly passionate about their subject and that enthusiasm passed to their students. Thank you Miss Mappledoram and Mr Woodcock!
I studied Biological Sciences at the University of Oxford, where I spent too much time in the Botanic Gardens and University Parks to achieve a sparkling degree. However, the wonderful opportunities afforded by Oxford did cement my love of science.
I went on to gain a Masters degree in Crop Protection from The University of Aberdeen in association with The Scottish Agricultural College (now Scotland's Rural College), which involved more time in fields, with a bit of gazing out to sea. My Master's thesis was in the Plant Pathology Laboratory at The Royal Horticultural Society in Wisley where my love of horticulture blossomed. I remained there to study on their Horticultural Training Programme.
After so much studying, I finally got a job running the glasshouses at Royal Holloway, University of London. It was a wonderful job with both technical and botanical houses. I also got to demonstrate in the laboratory and to teach on field courses both in the UK and in Tenerife. This is where I began to share my love of plants.
I returned to studying to gain my PhD. It was at the University of Reading, in conjunction with Rothamsted Research. I did a mixture of field trials and molecular biology with my favourite part being examining wheat diseases in the Broadbalk Archive. The latter resulted in a lovely study linking wheat diseases to environmental pollution over a 150 year period.
I now have three very lively children and have become adept at answering their questions about the world. I became Science Governor at their school and a STEM Ambassador to further raise the profile of science in Primary Schools. I got so many positive comments from the work I was doing, I decided that I should give it a go professionally. My enthusiasm for sharing science with everyone earned me The Joshua Phillips Award for Innovation on Science Engagement 2014. I am exceedingly proud of this, particularly as a large contribution came from my work with pupils with additional needs (SEN or SEND).
Being freelance gives me the opportunity to select projects which I am passionate about - you can always be sure I'll give it my all!