Had the best few weeks being a part of I'm a Scientist. Thanks everyone!
EducationYsgol Greenhill School (Secondary School) University of Bath (Undergraduate) University of Southampton (PhD)
QualificationsBSc: Molecular & Cellular Biology, MRes: Biomedical Science, PhD: Stem Cell Science 11 GSCEs and 4 A-Levels
Work HistoryMy first job was washing up in the local pub and restaurant. I then moved up to waitressing, cooking and working on the bar. This is where I got to meet and cook for Russell Crowe, Ellie Goulding, Greg James & Professor Stephen Hawking. I worked for one year at Public Health England measuring antibody levels against a bacteria called Group B Strep in blood samples. I worked as a freelancer in science communication alongside my PhD creating blogs, social media posts and such for clients. I also worked at the Post Office sorting office over Christmas for some extra money during my PhD. Since I graduated from my PhD I have worked in my current role.
Current JobScience Communications Officer at MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences
MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences
Favourite thing to do in my job: Sharing new science discoveries by making videos, writing articles, on social media & at events. All of it really!
About Me: Stem cell researcher turned science storyteller. I also write a blog and love all sports when not talking about science
Hi! I’m Sophie. I live just outside Cambridge but work in London, and I have recently got married and bought a house with my husband (still weird to say!).
I used to research stem cells in the lab and work out how low oxygen environments helped them stay as stem cells. But just over a year ago, I left the lab to become a science communicator. I now help other scientists to tell the world about their latest discoveries, which is really great as I always love learning and I get to learn about so much doing this. Plus, I get to be creative and write, make videos, do photography, graphic design, create art and more all in the name of telling science stories.
When I am not at work, I also write an award-winning science blog. I love playing hockey, cricket and netball but I will watch and try all sports. I love cooking and eating food, so I’m always looking for new recipes to try. And I am always looking for flights to be able to travel the world as I love exploring. Recently, I have been to Barbados, Lisbon and Czech Republic, and we are going to Dubai and Bali in a few months for our honeymoon.
I can quote every episode of The Big Bang Theory. I eat far too much chocolate. We are getting kittens very soon (looking for names!), and I got to cook for Professor Stephen Hawking a few years ago.
My pronouns are she/her.
My Work: I tell science stories using videos, social media, articles, art, props and more!
I started my job just over a year ago because I loved science and I loved being creative. So I left the lab behind and started a career in science communication – a career I didn’t know existed 3 or 4 years ago!
I work at a medical research institute where I help researchers share their science in fun and engaging ways so more people can learn about the latest discoveries.
Unlike most of the other scientists on here, I get to learn about loads and loads of different science, and not just specialise in one area. One week I can be learning about the latest artificial intelligence machines for keeping your heart healthy, the next I could be learning about how brain cells called neurons repair after brain injury, and the next I could be learning about how fat cells can become more like muscle cells to burn off more energy. As someone who likes to learn a lot, this is perfect for me!
All the scientists I work with do years of hard work to make their latest discovery. Once they have done that they write it all up and publish it. This is the point where I come in. Scientists want people to hear about their research as they have worked so hard for so long on it, so I have to write articles, make videos, social media posts and pitch that to newspapers and magazines so the public can learn about it too. I also make videos so that people on YouTube can learn new things too. I also organise events where school students can come and meet the scientists I work with to learn about their research, and I help the researchers to design acitivities that will make it even more fun to learn about.
My Typical Day: It is really varied, but mainly involves being sat at my desk in front of a computer either updating social media or writing or editing a video.
As I work in London, but I don’t live there, my day usually starts at 7am when I catch the train and I spend 2 hours making my way into the office. I always start the day by checking my emails and then making a ‘To Do’ list of the essentials I must get done today. For the rest of the day, it can really vary.
Sometimes I will be in the lab filming some scientists to make videos, or recording an interview with them so I can make a mini podcast episode, or write an article about their latest research. Other days I will be focussed on social media. I will be planning campaigns, I will be analysing what works well and what doesn’t work so well or making sure to chat to people online to build relationships. Other days I could be at training myself, or holding a training session for my colleagues. I teach them about how to use social media as a scientist, how to make demos to explain their research, or how to talk to school children about their science too. Sometimes we are holding events so I will be making sure we have everything we need, and preparing everything.
Then I spent two hours heading back home on the train before I binge watch something on Netflix or write my next blog or Instagram post. Obviously get some delicious food for dinner too!
What I'd do with the prize money: I want to make YouTube videos about science experiments you can eat aka food!
As you know from my other answers, I love food, and obviously I love science, and I make videos. So, I want to bring all those passions together and share it with you guys.
Everything we do in the world involves science and I think people forget that most of the time. So, I want to celebrate the every day science that we use and help people to see science in a fun way by doing some kitchen science experiments all about food.
The videos will help anyone who watches become a better cook because knowing the science behind why things go wrong will help. Plus I want to break down some common questions like ‘why do green vegetables go brown if you boil them too much’, ‘does dunking your biscuits in tea make them taste better?’ and ‘why does everything taste like chicken?’ and so much more. So, if you have any food related questions, let me know.
I want to then build upon this and bring lessons into schools combining science and cookery classes to show you all that everyone can do science because you use it every single day!
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Curious, Ambitious, and Creative
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
There wasn't really a single person who inspired me to follow science. I just did what I loved and was good at. But since I started sharing science on Instagram I have met so many more people that inspire me like Kat Arney
What was your favourite subject at school?
Biology and French were my favourite subjects in school. In fact, my grades for French are better than my grades for Biology
What did you want to be after you left school?
I wanted to be a doctor when I started secondary school, but I was always going to be doing science of some kind
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Not really. I was a bit like Hermione Granger really.
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
If I wasn't in science communication, I would probably still be a scientist in the lab researching stem cells. But for a non-science job, I would probably be a translator as I love learning languages.
Who is your favourite singer or band?
I love Michael Buble! But I also love country music so I love Carrie Underwood and The Shires too
What's your favourite food?
I would say all of it really. But I don't think I could live without cheese so I would say that.
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Scuba diving with turtles in Barbados - it's also where my now husband proposed to me underwater!
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
I wish I could have more confidence in myself and worry less. I wish I could get paid to travel around the world and speak all the languages. I wish I was a wizard and not a muggle.
Tell us a joke.
Why did the physics teacher break up with the biology teacher? There was no chemistry.