I did my undergraduate degree in Physics and Astrophysics at Birmingham, then my PhD at Birmingham also, graduating in 2018. I decided I wanted a bit of change of career and scene, so instead of going into research and further academia, I decided to be a Science school teacher with a strong Physics specialism. Enjoying it so far! 

I'm currently doing my training through a School Centred Initial Teacher Training program (SCITT) which means I spend my week in the classroom, learning on the job. I'm also teaching part of my PhD to a select number of Year 9 students to promote university education. This is on the behalf of a charity called the Brilliant Club, and their Researchers in Schools scheme. 

Work hard, sleep hard and make sure you keep time for lots of fun. Physics is a tough and rewarding course, but your health and happiness are paramount.

What is the best thing about what you are doing now? 
Getting the opportunity to give back some of my knowledge to younger students, in particular, my enthusiasm for science and space. The questions school children will ask are always surprising so it keeps me on my toes!

What motivates you?
I was first in my family to go to university and get a Masters or PhD. I want to encourage students and children who might not believe that university education is 'for them'. Coming from a working-class background, and a demographic similar to the area I'm now working and teaching in, I found the transition to university a little difficult at times. I want to encourage academically capable students to apply to university and to help dispel any misconceptions they may have about university life.

Why did you originally apply to Birmingham?
For my undergraduate studies, it was the course description with a clear map of available modules I could take, and the geographical location, relatively close to my parents' house, but far enough away they couldn't just drop by! For PhD, it was my supervisor in my Masters year, Prof Bill Chaplin, I really enjoyed working with him and wanted to continue that.

What are your fondest memories of the University?
Probably the physics society (PPS) spring ball. They were always fun, and it was good to see the lecturers with their hair down. Other than that, probably OId Joe and some of the travelling I was able to do during my PhD. The friends I made at university throughout the 8 years I was there will remain with me too.

How did you grow as a person by coming to University? Did it change your life in any way? 
I developed academically of course, but also socially. I am much more confident in bigger groups now, but also no longer feel lonely when I am working alone.

What did you think of the learning experience within the University?
I most value the knowledge I gained at university and the ability to teach undergraduates during my PhD. That made me realise I enjoy teaching, something that surprised me a little and helped to inspire me to get into teaching.

What inspired you most during your time as a student?
During my undergraduate studies, it was probably the lecturers within astrophysics, and the knowledge I needed to pass well to go on to achieve my dream of getting a PhD. During my PhD, my inspiration was probably my supervisor, who always seemed to find time for me if I needed to talk to him, and also helped me through a couple of tricky academic situations. He wasn't stuffy either (he thinks he's a student still at heart I think!), and just an all-around great guy!

What advice would you give to current students? 
Work hard, sleep hard and make sure you keep time for lots of fun. Physics is a tough and rewarding course, but your health and happiness are paramount.