What inspired you to choose science as a possible career option?
I studied science in NUI Galway – I’ve had a fascination with science since I was young, and when I visited an open day there in my leaving cert year, it clicked me that studying science after school might be for me. During my time in NUI Galway I got to really sink my teeth into science and see it as a possible career option.
How did you become interested in anatomy and diabetes in particular?
I had an interest in biology growing up, and in particular how the human body worked. The science course in NUI Galway has an excellent anatomy pathway, and studying anatomy there gave me an opportunity to study the body in depth and get a hands on experience with it. When I arrived at UCD I joined the diabetes complications research centre – a team of researchers investigating lots of different aspects of the disease of diabetes. I learned lots about the disease, its prevalence, and its effects throughout the body.
What has been the most challenging aspect of your third level studies so far?
The move from being an undergraduate student to becoming a postgraduate student has been most challenging. When you are an undergraduate student there is some more structure, you have a 12-week long semester, lectures and exams. Doing a PhD requires good time management and planning. These are skills I have had to work on, and am still working on! I have to juggle a lot of responsibilities between my anatomy demonstrating and my research.
What does the future hold for you career wise in a perfect world?
I think I would like to stay involved in research and education – I love learning and I love teaching. I enjoy teaching anatomy to undergraduate students, and I enjoy being involved in science outreach/public engagement. So any career that would allow me to continue this would be ideal!
What advice would you give to a young person still at school who is considering a future in science?
Talk to anyone you can about it. Aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, anyone you can get your hands on that is working in science, have a chat with them and find out about their path. Go to university open days if you can. Don’t be afraid to approach lecturers – they will only be delighted to see your enthusiasm. If you choose a general science course like I did, you will get the chance to try out lots of different subjects before deciding what area you would like to specialize in. So go with an open mind, and enjoy it!