Role Models

A science role model with students

Chain Reaction science ‘Role Models’ are likely to be early-career practising scientists or PhD students, as deemed appropriate by individual partners. The inclusion of Role Models in the Chain Reaction project provides students with an opportunity to meet with practicing scientists and to learn from them in an interactive and informal context. These sessions are intended to give students not just a first-hand opportunity to learn from scientists, but also an insight into the varied career paths available in science.

The Role Models act as impartial experts during the National and International Express Yourself events. On a national level they decide which group of students will go to the international celebration event, where they will issue special commendations. Teachers attending the events with their students are also encouraged to network with the Role Models. This aims to actively promote future interactions between schools and the Role Model scientists, with a view to future collaborations and school visits taking place. Role Models would also be encouraged to feed back to the teachers on the students’ work and achievements.

Working with a role model

Guidance for teachers wishing to work with role models during science lessons and preparing for a conference

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Working as a role model

Guidance for anyone wishing to work with school students during their science lessons and preparing for a conference

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Our Role Models for 2014-15

Adam Cox

I am currently working as a Research Engineer for Messier-Bugatti-Dowty and am based at the AMRC/ Boeing part of the University of Sheffield studying for an industrial PhD/EngD - working on production improvements for the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner. My work involves the machining of high strength titanium components valued up to £250K for a company that has landing gear on an aircraft that lands somewhere in the world every 3 seconds, as well as braking systems for various Formula One racing teams!

Amaka Metu

I am a qualified teacher of Business Studies and an Academic Researcher. I am also a part-time examiner with national examination boards in the UK. I tutor students in groups or on a one-to-one basis in Sheffield, preparing them for GCSE & A Levels. My students have acheived a very high level of success in their final exams. I am an advocate of inclusion and have conducted extensive research into this subject in the North of England, spanning 4 years and culminating in a PhD in Development and Society.

Amy Irvine

I am a Second Year PhD student at the University of Sheffield, studying the field of Structural Biology. My PhD project is looking at proteins which misfold and go on to cause neurological diseases like Alzheimers and Parkinsons. I love working on an important question in the world of medicine as well as working in a big biochemistry lab. I have always loved science and did A Levels in Biology, Chemistry and Physics (and Geography!) and then went on to study Medical Biochemistry at the University of Manchester.

Ashleigh Thompson

I have an MEng in Chemical Engineering and Chemistry and have worked at numerous consultancy companies looking at new energy solutions such as anaerobic digestion and solar power. I am currently studying my PhD via Nuclear First DTC, looking at new materials for reactors. My work involves putting different materials into extreme conditions and see how well they cope - I get to use harsh chemicals, do neutron bombardments and work with very high temperatures!

Elspeth Whitby

I’m Elspeth and I’m a doctor. I enjoyed science at school and wanted to help people so chose to study Medicine. Whilst I was a student, I did a research degree and loved finding out new things that no-one else knew! My career now involves both - for two days a week I work with patients, then I do two days of scientific research and the other days I choose what I want to do or just enjoy myself outside work! I do lots of STEM education work and enjoy working with students of all ages.

Lisa Heywood

I recently graduated from a 4 year degree with Masters in Microbiology and Biochemistry at the University of Sheffield. Although I liked many aspects of lab work and investigation, when I did a science communication project I realised what I really enjoyed was spreading the word about how important and interesting science is. I’m not ruling out going back to the lab, but I’m taking a gap year to volunteer in the field of science communication, including running my own photo blog: The View From The Lab

Rizwan Ali

I'm a Mechanical & Design Engineering graduate. I have a great interest in the science behind materials and how things work. The reason why I chose to study engineering was due to my previous interests and experiences. When I was at school I undertook projects which boosted my interests in making things - like creating a model fairground ride, from scratch! I worked in a local engineering company where I learned about how parts for many applications are designed, produced and tested.

Rosie Brook

My name is Rosie and I am a Physicist. My Dad is a fantastic Physics teacher so I have always been interested, though I didn’t take it as a GCSE at school as i chose German instead! With encouragement from my Dad I ended up studying Physics at A Level and went on to the University of Sheffield to specialise in Molecular-Scale Engineering. I love the fact that I now get paid to investigate something interesting, making discoveries that might become part of something big. Lots of things we take for granted started with a physicist messing around in a lab!

Sam Clark

I’m an Electronic Engineer working to install high speed fibre optic broadband into rural communties where BT and other internet service providers won’t go. My company also designs software and hardware devices, including embedded systems - these are computer systems with a dedicated function which are built into everyday objects, such as cars, fridges, set-top boxes etc.

Simone Croft

I'm a Psychology student in the final year of my PhD at the University of Sheffield. My main interests are in family and social psychology. At school, I wasn’t very good at science or maths, and went on to do a degree in Literature. But later on I realised I had a passion for understanding what made people tick in real life, so did a psychology degree through the Open University. Surprisingly, I ended up with a Masters in Science and am now doing work that requires really advanced statistical analysis!

Steve Bates

I work in finance... so why am I involved in a science project like Chain Reaction? Outside of work, I’m an avid hill walker and I love mountains, so naturally began to wonder how mountains are formed. From this I started to form an interest in Geology, and since 2008 I have been studying Geology, Natural Science and Environmental Science.