Tell us a bit about yourself. What are you researching? What School are you based in? What did you study prior to your PhD?
My project focuses on improving the production of second-generation biofuel by exploiting the natural diversity of the yeast Scheffersomyces stipitis. I am based in the School of Biosciences. I completed my undergraduate degree in Biomedical Science also at the University of Kent.
How do you spend your spare time when you are not studying?
I recently started playing netball again in a women’s league in Canterbury, and also enjoy going to the gym to de-stress. I also try to explore new places, and often take my dog for long walks at the beach.
Why did you choose to do a PhD at Kent?
During my final year, I chose a lab-based dissertation in Microbiology, and really enjoyed the project. At the same time, applications for the SoCoBio DTP were taking place, and one of them was a continuation of my dissertation project. I also love the campus at the University of Kent, as it has everything you need in one place.
How did you hear about the studentship opportunities?
I found out about the studentship opportunities during my dissertation project through my supervisor.
What are you particularly enjoying about your experience at Kent so far?
I enjoy the science community at Kent. My lab is part of the Kent Fungal Group (KFG), and we all meet every over week. It is great to hear about the research carried out by other labs.
What support/opportunities do you receive as a research student from the University and doctoral training partnership?
The DTP’s cohort training programme has provided technical skills for my research project as well as valuable professional skills (for example communication and networking skills). During my first year, I undertook two compulsory modules on Data Management and Business and Entrepreneurship.
How does postgraduate study differ from undergraduate study?
For postgraduate study, you have to become a more independent thinker, and learn how to organise and plan your work. Although you get guidance from your supervisor, there are not so many deadlines to meet compared to undergraduate study, where you would have several assignments a term. In addition, postgraduate study is quite niche, and not many people will know the finer details of you work. You become the expert in your project.
What benefits have you gained from your research community?
I enjoy hearing about the research carried out at the University of Kent, but also by others based elsewhere. The School of Biosciences often organise guest speakers to come in give lectures about their work. Although their research isn’t necessarily related to mine, it is good to keep learning about new discoveries/techniques.
How will your PhD support your future career aspirations?
I think my PhD will open up many opportunities for me in the future, including potential roles in academia, industry, or continued research.
What are you planning to do next?
Currently, I am thinking to apply for a post-doc after completing my PhD, but things may change!
Any advice for those thinking about applying for a PhD studentship at Kent?
APPLY! If you are passionate about a certain topic of research and want to try and make a difference, then a PhD could be a good place to start. Try to meet with your potential supervisor before you apply and look around the lab. Whilst the research topic is important, you also need to feel supported and enjoy where you will spend the next 3/4 years.