The Open University: 2016-now; The University of Leicester: 2015-2016; Loughborough University: 2013-2014; The University of Sheffield: 2010-2013;
MSc in Space Exploration Systems, PGCE in physics and maths, BSc in Physics, AAB A-levels
Science teacher at The Polesworth School, lots of summer jobs like admin/cleaning/sports coaching
The Open University
Favourite thing to do in my job: Working on something that will one day fly in space, and also handling real Moon soil
Space engineer in the day, athlete at night
I am a PhD student at The Open University which is based in Milton Keynes. I have a physics degree and a masters degree in Space Exploration Systems. I also worked as a physics teacher which I loved but I missed doing research! I have always been very sporty and I was a competitive athlete for many years but I gave it up and started playing Ultimate Frisbee a few years ago. It is so much fun and really hard work! If you don’t believe me, check youtube! I play tournaments and train (when I’m not injured) and I play all over the world!
I find different ways of getting water and oxygen from the Moon to help humans one day live on a Moon base
I am helping a team to build a new device that will land on the Moon in a few years time. The device will try to get chemicals from the Moon rocks and soil. I get to build new equipment, work with real Moon soil and help to come up with new ideas. We are doing this work so that one day we can build a Moon base using supplies we find on the Moon.
As a researcher you also get to go to conferences all over the world where you can talk about your work, meet other people with similar interests, and share ideas!
I also was lucky enough to work as an intern at the Lunar and Planetary Institute this summer in Houston. We did a lot of work to support future lunar missions and we got to spend a lot of time at NASA!
My Typical Day
I read lots of papers, get hands on in the lab, and talk to lots of people to help come up with new ideas
Each day is different for me. I have lots of post-it notes with all the things I need to get done and I just pick which ones I should get done today. At the moment I am spending time researching similar experiments to give me tips and I keep a record of what I find. When I am tired of reading I work in the lab to help get the equipment ready for our tests. This is very hands on which I love. Other times I have to predict what our experiment will do which involves lots of calculations so I use programming to help me with this.
What I'd do with the prize money
Fund a space balloon project for a local school
I would help fund a project for a school to launch a space balloon to collect footage and learn about preparing instruments for space!
Having won this competition I actually launched a space balloon! See the video here:
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
curious, sporty, clumsy
What's the best thing you've ever done in your career?
Lived and worked in Italy and France to design a pretend mission to Mars. We worked with lots of professionals and presented our work to experts at the European Space Agency.
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
My A level teacher was so much fun and he cared so much it made me want to work hard. I also loved space films, especially Apollo 13, because it made me want to use my skills to help humans survive space!
What was your favourite subject at school?
P.E. or Science
What did you want to be after you left school?
to work at NASA (dream big!)
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Not really, getting in trouble looked scary!
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
Athletics coach or physiotherapist
Who is your favourite singer or band?
Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran
What's your favourite food?
What is the most fun thing you've done?
A month long trip backpacking across Europe playing frisbee tournaments and training with local teams. A great way to travel and meet lots of fun people!
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
I would love to go to the Moon and see the Earth from Space. I would then wish for my own house (years of studying and living in shared houses gets old!), and then I would wish for lots of holiday time to travel the world
Tell us a joke.
Where do Martian’s go for a drink? The Mars bar