I’m from Glasgow and work at the University of Stirling as a researcher. I’m a huge football fan and spend a lot of my spare time watching or playing. I am the first person in my family to obtain a MSc and PhD.
Growing up in Glasgow I didn’t know much about marine sciences, was never the smartest in school and I actually didn’t know what ‘AQUACULTURE’ was until I was in my 20s. Now I’ve got a PhD in Sustainable Aquaculture!
I grew up in a working class family and had part-time jobs since the age of 13. I worked in a bakery through high school, then had 2 part-time jobs during my undergraduate and postgraduate university degrees- I worked in Superdrug during the day and McDonalds at night. Thankfully, in Scotland our undergraduate degrees are paid for by the government, and I got a scholarship for my Masters and PhD degrees, so the money I earned while working paid for living expenses and holidays/ nights out with friends!
It’s difficult to study and work at the same time, but it’s definitely doable. The universities are very helpful and there’s plenty of support out there.
My pronouns are:
I am a researcher at the University of Stirling. My main research focus is aquaculture. I am currently working on a project which aims to improve the sustainability of aquaculture farms across Europe.
Previously, I worked on fish farming in Bangladesh where I assessed the nutritional benefits of fish consumption and the environmental impacts of fish production.
I am now working on project which is based across several European countries including Poland, Spain, Denmark and Ireland. The main aim of my work is to measure the sustainability of using mushrooms as fish feed, and using fish pond sludge (fish poo) as a fertiliser for the mushrooms. This is known as a “circular economy” where the waste of one industry (fish farming) is used in another industry (mushroom farming) in order to improve the environmental impacts of both industries.
I love the work I do! I am constantly learning and developing new skills, travelling to different places, meeting new people and experiencing new cultures. I couldn’t be happier in my work-life.
My Typical Day:
I get up around 8am and drive my partner to the hospital where they work (she is a doctor). I return home, have my coffee and then start work in my office (the spare bedroom). I work from home most days, but will go into the office at the University of Stirling once a week. I also travel quite a lot to carry out fieldwork.
The majority of my work is desk-based, however I will head into the field to carry out surveys with farmers soon. My fieldwork is based in Poland, Spain, Denmark and Ireland. When I’m away on fieldwork my days look very different…
I will travel around, speaking to different people such as government officials, farmers, consumers, and other supply chain actors. I will collect data on farm production values, the energy used at the farm, and other inputs such as fish feed and fertilisers etc. Often when I’m away on fieldwork I will spend time with locals, going for food and drinks and visiting local places of significance.
After the fieldwork is complete, I return home to Glasgow and start on the data analysis and report writing. Back to the home-based work which allows me to act as a taxi driver for my partner again!
What I'd do with the prize money:
Engage with schools and show people the benefits of sustainable seafood, i.e. the health benefits (“seafood cooking classes”) and the environmental benefits (“how to purchase sustainable seafood”).
Kirkintilloch High School
BSc Applied Bioscience- University of the West of Scotland
MSc Sustainable Aquaculture- University of Stirling
PhD Sustainable Aquaculture- University of Stirling
Through high school I worked in a local bakery and on an ice cream van.
I took a break between high school and university and worked in various call centres.
Through my undergraduate and Masters degree I worked in Superdrug and MacDonalds.
After finishing my Masters I moved to West Coast of Scotland/ The Highlands to work for trout and salmon farmers.
After working out on the West Coast I then returned to university to do a PhD during which time I was paid by the university.
When I finished my PhD I got a job with the university which is what I’m doing now- my title is “postdoctoral researcher”
University of Stirling
What did you want to be after you left school?
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Yes. I was often put on a "card" which meant I had to be signed off by teachers to prove I was behaving.
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What's your favourite food?
All seafood- especially mussels
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
Good health and happiness for everyone on Earth. For a never-ending pot of money. To be president of the WORLD.
Tell us a joke.
What do you call a fish with 4 eyes? A fiiiish