I went to Wallington High School for Girls (2005-2012) and have studied at the University of Nottingham since 2013.
I have a degree in Biomedical Materials Science
I have worked in a Veterinary Practice and in a pub kitchen.
The University of Nottingham
I'm 24 years old, I love science and engineering as well as sport and seeing my friends.
My name is Kath and I am a second year PhD student in Engineering, which means I’m working in the labs at my university to develop some ideas which I will then write about after 3 year and get to be called a ‘Dr’!
I have always liked science but didn’t know what engineering was until I got to university and found it really interesting. I used to want to be a vet and still love animals, as well as playing sport (Dodgeball) and hanging out with my friends whenever I escape from the lab.
I'm an Engineering PhD student who is working to make a coating that kills bacteria but doesn't hurt your body's cells.
If bacteria can land on surfaces in your body and are allowed to grow there during a surgery, they grow into a structure that can’t be killed by antibiotics or your body’s immune system. This means they can stay in your body and make you really ill.
I’m trying to make a coating that you can coat on implants doctors might need to put into a patients body, but this coating will dissolve away so none of the bacteria can stick on long enough to make you ill. To see if I can do this I make coatings, try and grow bacteria on them, and also try and grow human cells on them so that I can check that they are safe to be in a patients body while getting rid of the bacteria.
My Typical Day
I work in 3 different labs so spend my time writing at my desk or running around between the labs!
When I get to work (usually around 9) I check my emails and look at my plan for the day. This can vary a lot depending on whether I need to make more coatings, or whether I am looking after human cells or bacteria.
If I need to make more samples I have to clean little metal disks and make them rough using a sandblaster, and then put them in the coating machine and check all my settings are right to make the coating I want.
If I have human cells to look after I have to feed them every few days and make sure they don’t die before I have a chance to use them, which sometimes happens!
If I am working with bacteria I often start the day early and finish late to let them grow for the right length of time on my samples, so often I’ll drive to uni and back a couple of times in the day and do other things in the gaps.
Unless I’ve got a long bacteria experiment on I leave work around 5, as twice a week I play Dodgeball in the evenings so I have to get home to have dinner!
What I'd do with the money
Put it towards portable science and engineering experiments to use at some University outreach events.
I work with the STEM Outreach Society at the University of Nottingham, who in turn work with the different departments like the Engineering department.
I would like to get involved with some of the young peoples trips that come round the university and make some engineering busking kits. These are little experiments that show people real life engineering concepts in a way that they can understand and makes them excited!
I hope that these could be used over and over again to show off how exciting engineering is at lots of different events with lots of age groups.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Determined, Clumsy, Caring
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
I got to go and watch an operation as part of my degree so I could see how medical implants like replacement knees are used in the real world.
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
My degree course interested me initially, and then talking to my Dad about all the cool things he'd done as an engineer as well.
What was your favourite subject at school?
Biology and Physics
What did you want to be after you left school?
Were you ever in trouble at school?
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
Either a vet or a comedian.
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What's your favourite food?
What is the most fun thing you've done?
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
I want to be strong enough to do 50 press-ups, play Dodgeball for England and go on Strictly Come Dancing!
Tell us a joke.
What's brown and sticky? A stick!