Lindsay is a graduate trainee in the Education Department of the Royal Society of Chemistry. She has a PhD in Environmental Geochemistry.
After finishing my PhD I continued down the academic career route and completed a post-Doctoral fellowship. Although I enjoyed research enormously, I realised that it was the teaching and the interaction with students that particularly appealed to me. I taught environmental science at the University of Nagasaki in Japan for a year and from there I applied for my current position at the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC). I wanted a job where I had the opportunity to combine my academic background and my teaching experience.
Initially, the job was very different to anything I was used to and I had to learn quickly how a professional body worked. It was important to be adaptable, open-minded and to ask for advice and feedback when I needed clarification. It was also vital to understand the main aims of the RSC, the focus of their education department and how my skills and knowledge could be incorporated.
I studied physical geography for my first degree. My chemistry-specific knowledge was largely self-taught during my research. Although a good science background is very useful, it is not the subject that is the most important thing, but the ability to learn quickly and to actively seek information. Presentation skills and communication skills are also essential.
My degree provided me with a strong academic background that I have used in every aspect of my current position. Most importantly, my degree provided me with many of the transferable skills required for the job, including the ability to research and critically analyse a task before making an informed decision on how to proceed.
My current job involves a range of educational activities, including the development of education resources, as well as the undertaking of outreach activities. The education team at the RSC caters for chemical scientists of all ages, producing a wide range of resources for teachers, lecturers and students, and delivers training and continuing professional development courses. My role involves assisting with all the different aspects within the education team.
I enjoy the variety of the job. One day I am organising educational resources for the RSC website, the next I can be taking part in outreach activities - most recently the Big Bang Fair at the Imperial War Museum Duxford. I often get to be hands-on, helping to inspire future generations about chemistry.
I would like to become a full-time outreach officer and produce activities and resources focused on engaging with all members of the community. I think it is important to challenge stereotypes and prove that science doesn't need to be boring. People should be made aware of the many exciting career paths that are available to scientists.
Although I enjoy most parts of my job, there are always going to be challenges; for example, the logistics of organising an outreach event. However, these difficulties are quickly forgotten when the event is a huge success. Just one adult or child expressing their enthusiasm and interest can make it all worthwhile.
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