(Dr Zoe Schnepp)
I am a Senior Lecturer in the School of Chemistry at the University of Birmingham. I supervise several PhD and Masters students and together our group uses molecules from nature to make useful materials for things like batteries or fuel cells. I’ve wanted to be a scientist since I was young and it’s been a fantastic experience so far. I studied chemistry with industrial experience at the University of Bristol and as part of that I had the chance to travel to the USA to work for Dupont for a year. I then stayed in Bristol to do my PhD before travelling to Berlin to work in a Max Planck Institute for 18 months. Berlin was an amazing place to live and work and my colleagues in the research institute came from 40 different countries. After leaving Germany I went to live in Japan in a place called Tsukuba Science City. You can probably guess from the name that there were a lot of scientists there! I lived in a large apartment block for international scientists, which was great fun as we had a lot of BBQs as well as cultural events such as Japanese cooking classes and a traditional summer festival. I’ve been back in England for about 7 years now and will never regret the years I spent overseas and the friends I made. I was lucky as my husband is also a scientist and we were able to find jobs together. People often think that academic scientists can’t have families, but I’m finding that it’s offered me a lot of flexibility. I have two young children and when I had my first baby I went part time, working 4 days per week so I get an extra day with my girls.
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