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Science Showcase

By Isla Williams, Ella Trew, Zoe Rowbotham

The reintroduction of practical lessons at Bassaleg School has ‘sparked’ an interest in the varied science industry: Ella discussed with Dr Stark (STA) about his personal experience of the extensive variety of jobs in Chemistry, Zoe talked about the huge range of opportunities within Physics with Mrs Davies (JDA) and I spoke to Dr Jones (AJ) about her education after school and her inspiration for choosing a career in science.

Were you always interested in science, was that something you were always hoping to work in ?

STA: I think so, when I was in school I enjoyed doing practical work. I enjoyed looking at things and researching things and a lot of that was through my own curiosity, sort of how things worked, what made things react, so I’ve always been interested in science.

JDA: Yes, always! Ever since I was in school.

AJ: I was always interested in science in school, I was a pupil here so I have come back and become what was my old head of department, I have become head of biology as she was so I think my teachers initially inspired me when it came to science. I have always been interested in the sciences throughout school and up to my PhD.

What did you do before teaching at Bassaleg school?

STA: Before I was a teacher, I had a few jobs. When I finished my PhD, I worked for a company making biosensors which are used in treating diabetes. I then worked for another company as a research chemist and there I looked at making various chemicals for use in the printing industry and then, after that, I worked for an American based company as a project leader looking into various treatments for different conditions such as Alzheimer’s and obesity, and I ran my own team of chemists.

JDA: Bassaleg is the first and only school that I have taught at. Before that, I just studied; I’ve always been in education.I’ve always wanted to come into teaching and I think it’s a good opportunity to make sure that science is still valued in schools and to try to inspire young people’s interests in science. Also, I feel that it’s important to help young people understand how science can impact them directly and the differences they are able to make.

AJ: I did my degree in Biochemistry as it was a mix and match of my A Levels, it was the nice bits of chemistry and biology put together for me which really put me down this path, I mainly teach biology. I went on to do my PhD for three years on white blood cells and activating white blood cells to attack cancer cells to destroy them which was interesting for a couple years before I went into teaching at another school then teaching here.

Could you describe some jobs other than teaching in your field of science?

JDA: There are so many jobs.The possibilities are endless. So in physics particularly, you can do lots of engineering jobs, and there are always research jobs if you are especially interested in STEM subjects. In the medical field as well, even if you don’t want to be patient-facing, you could still do a lot of medical research.

AJ: I have friends still working in research, the Covid-19 vaccine and diagnostics. There’s a lot to do in Biology. The more obvious routes like medicine, dentistry, pharmacy but there are lots of affiliates. We teach medical science here so going into a diagnostics lab or working in healthcare or hospital, biology and medical science open a lot of doors for you. Even if you just want to know how the body works, it’s a useful subject. I enjoyed research and lab work but it wasn’t for me long term, it is interesting but it can become monotonous which teaching certainly isn’t. No two days are the same, working with amazing staff and pupils has given me the variety that I wanted.

What kind of A levels did you take?

STA: So when I was in school I did an A level in Chemistry, Maths and Biology.

JDA: I’ve always been interested in STEM subjects so a lot of my A-Levels were in that group. I took Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Maths and Further Maths (I also did French and PE for AS Level).

AJ: I did Biology, Chemistry and Geography.

What qualities would you say that it’s important to have when hoping to pursue some kind of job or work in science? Is there any advice you would give to students who are interested in a science-based career?

STA: I would say that in terms of working in science at the moment there are many more job opportunities out there now as a result of things like covid and science has a much better profile through the media but what I would say is then just make sure that when you’re in school you get the qualifications to lead from one step to the other. So make sure you do well in your GSCEs, that goes on to A level. Target what career you want to maybe look at doing in university and then most university qualifications will allow you into the certain jobs you want to go into.

JDA: I think you need to be hard-working and you need to actually enjoy science. It’s something that if you don’t enjoy, it’s going to be impossible to work hard enough. Plus, being passionate about the world around us and an interest in how we can change it.

AJ: I think an inquiring mind is very important, you have got to be asking questions into why things happen and how things link together. Particularly in biology, most processes link onto another one so it tells a story of what’s happening in a cell then that shows what’s happening in the entire organism. Being prepared to ask questions and be analytical in order to find answers and decide which is the right one. That’s the basis of research. It’s a great career if you have a strong interest in the subject. My advice would be research, there’s so many resources online, there’s such a variety of jobs you can get with these subjects. I would take the time to have a look at all the options available to you.

Thankyou for taking the time to answer our questions. If you have any more questions, Dr Stark, Mrs Davies, Dr Jones or any of our other fantastic science teachers will be happy to answer them.


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