• Question: who helped you become a scientest

    Asked by dylz127 on 4 Jun 2019.
    • Photo: Rebecca Moon

      Rebecca Moon answered on 4 Jun 2019:


      Lots of people – my family certainly encouraged and supported me through my education, and obviously my teachers at school taught me the right stuff to pass the exams. But then lots of colleagues have been really supportive in developing my research career. Sometimes i’d say its about meeting the right people at the right time, grabbing opportunities that they offer and then working hard.

    • Photo: David Wilson

      David Wilson answered on 4 Jun 2019:


      Probably more people than I can list have contributed to me becoming a scientist.

      Family, School Teachers, Friends, Colleagues, Wife. They have all played a part in making me who I am and what I do.

    • Photo: Thiloka Ratnaike

      Thiloka Ratnaike answered on 4 Jun 2019:


      Loads and loads of people- my family, my husband, teachers, University lecturers and supervisors, Clinical supervisors, friends and colleagues. So many lovely people out there who encouraged me when I felt I couldn’t possibly achieve what I wanted to achieve!

    • Photo: Kaitlin Wade

      Kaitlin Wade answered on 4 Jun 2019:


      Despite the fact that, as you work in science, you start becoming an ‘independent researcher’, becoming a scientist is really difficult so having help is so valuable. I’ve certainly been helped by so many people. Directly, those who inspired me in my school (biology and maths teachers), my parents and family members, my lecturers in my degree who kept me interested and motivated to keep pursuing my career in science and my supervisors during my PhD. There are so many others who have helped me in science – collaborators who I work with, my friends and peers and mentors who help me in personal or professional matters. There is a huge team of people who have helped me but, ultimately, I’ve had to realise that you have to help yourself and only you can do the work and pursue your career.

    • Photo: Ryan Beveridge

      Ryan Beveridge answered on 4 Jun 2019:


      No one person it was a lot of people.:

      My parents cultivated my curiosity in science.
      My teachers at school taught me about science.
      My lecturers at university taught me to learn about science independently.

      However it was my PhD supervisor who taught me to be a scientist, they taught me how to properly design experiments, how to interpret data and how to approach problems with critical thinking.

      Every stage of becoming a scientist required the previous so the most important thing is curiosity!

    • Photo: Lorena Boquete Vilarino

      Lorena Boquete Vilarino answered on 4 Jun 2019:


      I think it’s difficult to say. My family definitely encouraged my curiosity for all things science, but I didn’t decide to study science until high school, influenced by my biology teacher. My PhD supervisor had the biggest influence in staying on research as a job. So many people have played a part on me being a scientist!

    • Photo: Rachel Hardy

      Rachel Hardy answered on 4 Jun 2019:


      I would say that lots of people have helped me to achieve my dream of becoming a scientist. My family have always encouraged me to follow a career in whatever makes me happiest, and their continued support has helped me to get through all of my exams – from GCSEs all the way through to my final University exams. My science teachers at school always encouraged me to do my best, and were happy to answer all of the questions I had (even when I kept going to ask them at lunchtimes if I was confused on something!). My lecturers and personal tutor at University were also amazing at explaining things when I needed clarification, and giving me constructive feedback on my work. Even now while I am doing my PhD, my supervisors, lab colleagues and friends are all helping me to become the best scientist that I can be. There is a lot of support out there – if this is a career that you would be considering later on, you can look up what science courses different Universities have to offer on the internet (all courses are slightly different in the science that they focus on). You can also chat to your school careers adviser/tutor to see what A-levels are recommended 🙂

    • Photo: Marianne King

      Marianne King answered on 4 Jun 2019:


      So many people! My family at the very start, my teachers at school, university lecturers, other PhD students who helped me through various voluntary projects I did, my masters supervisor, my PhD supervisor, PhD colleagues and still my friends and family… surround yourself with people who make you ask questions, be yourself and make you feel inspired! Especially people who tell you you can do things rather than can’t. I know this is a bit cheesy but it’s true!

    • Photo: Shobhana Nagraj

      Shobhana Nagraj answered on 4 Jun 2019:


      Great question! My patients helped me to become a scientist as they inspired the scientific research I am currently doing. From early on in my career, I had the opportunity to work as a doctor in really hard to reach areas in India and Africa. Meeting people during the course of my work helped me to understand the problems faced by people in these areas, and encouraged me to question why things were the way they were, and think about how to improve healthcare for the people I was working with.
      My parents also have helped me through their constant support and encouragement, and I have had some fantastic teachers, great role models, and mentors along the way, who believed in me and supported me to pursue scientific research along with working as a doctor. I am really grateful to everyone who has helped me along the way!

    • Photo: Nina Rzechorzek

      Nina Rzechorzek answered on 5 Jun 2019:


      Many many people and at every stage. Family always supported and encouraged me, and because members of my family have suffered with dementia, brain trauma, and stroke, this played a large part in the clinical and scientific specialties I have ended up working in. I had fantastic science teachers at school and then brilliant mentors as I spent time in labs and clinical practice before and during University. Throughout my undergraduate years I was drawn to neuroanatomy, neurology, and neurodegenerative disorders, partly due to the excellent lecturers we had, but also because of the clinical cases that most interested me – this is what inspired me to do a PhD in neuroscience, because it quickly became clear that our lack of understanding of how the brain works was a major barrier to developing treatments for patients with brain disorders. My PhD supervisor, clinical supervisors, patients, and my postdoctoral supervisor have all had a huge impact on my development as a clinician scientist – not just the research that I do, but the kind of questions to frame this around, and how I can communicate my work to others.

    • Photo: Matthew Bareford

      Matthew Bareford answered on 5 Jun 2019:


      Family and friends were a massive help for me, as they believed in me throughout the whole thing and always pushed me to keep going.

      But to be brutally honest the main help for me could only come from another scientist… With Science there is always times when experiments and projects don’t work and it feels like you’re a totally rubbish scientist. It’s at these moments that you have to be able to motivate yourself to get back up and start again, work out why they didn’t work and how you can make them work. That happens a lot when your trying to become a scientist in your own right and also afterwards! It’s something that a scientist can understand and sympathise with a lot more than anyone else… for instance when you’ve spent three weeks growing some cells and they suddenly all die, a lot of people don’t realise the amount of hours and effort you have to put into it, unless you’ve done it yourself.

      For me it was definitely a man named Prof. Whiting. He interviewed me for a place at university for my undergraduate degree, I had struggled with other interviews simply because of my Tourette’s. A lot of times people wouldn’t look past it or would say it could be an issue but he didn’t care about it at all and even went on to become my personal tutor and helped me all the way.

    • Photo: Ettie Unwin

      Ettie Unwin answered on 5 Jun 2019:


      Lots of people! My Granny was a mathematician but due to the time she was born she didn’t have all the opportunities I do now. My school teachers always believed in me and encouraged me to think outside the box and apply my enjoyment of maths and physics to the real world and think about a science based subject at university.

    • Photo: Kate Timms

      Kate Timms answered on 5 Jun 2019:


      There were no other scientists in my family. No one had even gone to university before me! But they still helped by being supportive.
      It also really helped when I was doing my PhD and now I’m a researcher to have friends who are going through the same things. Doing a PhD was really hard, but having friends who were also do a PhD made it so much easier because we could support each other and help each other.
      It also really helps to have good mentors. People who are more senior scientists who you can go to for advice.

    • Photo: Alex Blenkinsop

      Alex Blenkinsop answered on 5 Jun 2019:


      One of my university professors really encouraged me to apply for a PhD and helped me with my application, but I wouldn’t have made it here without the support of my family and friends too. Becoming a scientist is not about being super intelligent but more about being motivated and excited by the subject so never feel as if you can’t do it!

    • Photo: Matthew Burgess

      Matthew Burgess answered on 5 Jun 2019:


      My family were obviously very supportive through school, and helped when I went to university.
      I had very supportive chemistry and biology teachers who helped with preparation for choosing what I wanted to do.
      My tutor at university gave so much guidance throughout, pushing me to find labs to do placements at and even helping when I was having trouble in my first lab post university.
      Most of the group heads (lead scientists) I’ve worked for I’ll still talk to now and my current boss and our close collaborator are always willing to talk about future career planning. Similarly I’ve worked with some great Postdocs who inspire me to try and support our students as much as they did me.
      My wife had to support us for almost a year when I was working to finish up my PhD!
      I’ve also recently started on a mentorship program to try and gain experience from other European researchers.

      There’s lots out there, you just need to make sure you take those opportunities when they are available.

    • Photo: James Streetley

      James Streetley answered on 5 Jun 2019:


      I think all the other scientists have given you great answers here and I’d have to agree with them all. Everyone who has ever taught science to me has helped me along the way; right from primary school through to the scientists who supervised me while I was doing research for PhD. And of course, I’m still learning and becoming a better scientist now, with my current colleagues and supervisor.

      My family were also really supportive of me as I was deciding what to study at university and gave me freedom to pick science, even though none of us really knew any scientists or really knew where it would take me. We didn’t have “I’m a scientist” to ask questions like this!

    • Photo: Anabel Martinez Lyons

      Anabel Martinez Lyons answered on 6 Jun 2019:


      Family and friends and the fantastic teachers and researchers that have taught me!

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