Favourite Thing: Design new experiments or studies to run and then get the results back and see what we found! That’s always really creative and fun.
I did all my degrees at Queen’s University Belfast. I was there on and off from 2005 – 2013
I have an graduate degree in Music, then a Masters and PhD in Animal Behaviour & Welfare
Before here I was a research assistant for awhile and I taught singing and piano too.
Hartpury University Centre
A happy scientist and lecturer who loves animals, teaching and research
I live with my husband, two dogs, one cat and a horse in Ross-on-Wye in Herefordshire. All of my animals are bonkers but happy and not as well behaved as they should be! I love food and music but the thing that gives me the most joy in the world is galloping my horse as fast as I can x-country. I’m from Northern Ireland originally but I came to live here 2 years ago when I became a Senior Lecturer at Hartpury University Centre.
I teach students about animal behaviour and welfare – anything from crabs to elephants or your dog at home
I teach students about animal behaviour and welfare for their foundation, bachelors and masters degrees. I also run a programme that helps every student achieve to the best of their ability which I think is really important. I supervise lots of students doing their research projects and this is where we work very hard but have a lot of fun answering important questions about why animals behave the way they do and how we can improve their lives.
My Typical Day
Planning, lecturing, meetings, marking
At work, I spend a lot of time trying to be helpful by answering students questions over email. I’ll probably give a lecture for an hour and half where I really need to convince the students of why a subject is so interesting and important. Hopefully, this gets them to go away and study to find out much more for themselves. I might mark some drafts of research projects, assignments or exams where I’ll give the best feedback I can to help the student to do even better next time. I usually need to meet with students and other staff to make plans and check everything is going the way it should.
What I'd do with the money
I’d like to build on the success of a previous BioBlitz event we ran at Hartpury College. We’d use the prize money to run loads of events to teach biodiversity to local school children. We’d survery wildlife on the beautiful college estate which covers 360 hecters (= really big!). We’d buy equipment so the kids could do proper scientific collection that will help us learn about the species we have here and how to protect them. We’d be survey butterflies in the meadow, count dragonflies and damselflies by the lake, hunt for small mammal field signs in woodland patches or spy on nocturnal wildlife with bat detectors and camera traps. Maybe some of you will come!
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Passionate, honest, ridiculous
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What's your favourite food?
Any kind of fresh pasta
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Apart from on my horse, dancing like no-one’s watching – who cares how you look?!
What did you want to be after you left school?
Were you ever in trouble at school?
I did misbehave in school but I was quite good at getting out of trouble!
What was your favourite subject at school?
Music – I didn’t do science at school and only came to discover how much I love it as an adult. I wish I’d realised sooner!
What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?
Teach other people why science matters
What or who inspired you to become a scientist?
My old horse Oscar who passed away last year – that’s him in my profile picture
If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?
Probably a singer
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
To be healthy enough to ride until I’m really, really old. To make a discovery that was used to help a lot of animals. To be challenged and fulfilled in whatever I do for my job.
Tell us a joke.
One day at the zoo two snake’s met and one asked the other: “Are we poisonous?” “Why do you ask?” “I bit my lip!”
Here’s a video of me doing my favourite thing in the world: