FIELD SCIENTIST, THAMES WATER
How I came to STEM
Since I was a child, I had affinity for water and the ocean. I was always in the water either competing nationally in swimming galas or on holiday spending all day in the sea or diving 40m down exploring the coral reefs and shipwrecks. I was and still am fascinated by the water cycle and how dependent all living organisms are on the vital source. This enthusiasm continued throughout school into my gap year and defined my course at university.
I lived in The Bahamas for six months volunteering, collecting research on the health of the Caribbean reef and educating local people and schools about the vulnerability of their sea and how to protect fish and coral populations. This experience led me to study Marine Biology at the University of Portsmouth.
At university I was able to travel the world for different research programs. From Honduras investigating an invasive species of fish to Mexico detailing the importance of mangroves on coral health and nursery ground for juvenile fish, to Sicily studying the behaviours of cleaner fish and Thailand building artificial coral reefs.
Coming out of university at the start of the pandemic made it difficult to secure my dream role which incorporated the skills and knowledge I had learnt. However, I persevered and applied for the fixed-term contract at Thames Water as a Water Quality Scientist even during times of job uncertainty and security. Six months later I was offered a permanent role and was so pleased that I had taken opportunity.
Why I love what I do
As a Water Field Scientist my daily responsibilities vary. The main responsibility is providing expert technical support to operational teams, maintaining regulatory compliance, and investigating deviations from it and meeting internal business targets. The role is practical, based in the field covering various Water Treatment Works. I love being outside working on the frontline as well as problem solving to define the cause of failures and events to protect public health of our customers.
I proactively engage with the Water Quality team to create Drinking Water Safety Plan, a risk assessment from source to consumer, to ensure drinking water is safe and free from any harmful bacteria or chemicals.
Simultaneously, I work alongside operations on other projects such as reviewing treatment at different water treatment works to decide if additional treatment is required or can be removed dependent on the raw water quality and the health of our own assets.
Each day is different, fast-paced and no two investigation is the same, the role is exciting and forever evolving.
What I’m proud of & what I’m hoping to achieve through the WYPB
I studied and now work in STEM role, but it was not until I entered the corporate world that I really face gender inequality and observe it first-hand. Working in a very male dominated sector has emphasised the difficulties women of all ages and in different stages of their career face daily directly and indirectly.
I wanted to work with other liked minded individuals and be a part of driving change on gender imbalance, so I joined the Women’s Network where we collaborate across the organisation to make the workplace a positive environment for all. I strongly believe and want to encourage bringing your whole self to work.
Leaving University I wish I had been aware of WISE, what they stand for and what they will achieve. I want to widen the audience WISE reaches, to inspire and support the younger generation.
Sitting on the WYPB I am looking forward to collaborating with the other role models who are also passionate about driving change and equality, and reinforce WISE’s vision, purpose and continuously make an impact across all sectors.