I work as a process scientist at British Sugar. At British Sugar, we make sugar from sugar beet, a vegetable that looks like a turnip. We also make other things including animal feed and bioethanol which can be used in cars instead of petrol, as well as producing our own energy.
What do you do, day-to-day?
My days are quite varied, sometimes I'll be checking lab results to make sure that the sugar factory is working correctly, whereas other days I'll be looking at the factory as a whole to see if I can think of any ways I can make improvements to the process. Those improvements could involve using less energy or finding a way to get more sugar out of the sugar beet.
What are the things that you love about your job?
I really like that I can see what I learnt in science at school, and that I get to make changes to the factory, which is essentially just a really big chemistry set.
And is there anything that you don’t like?
Sometimes the factory goes wrong, and when it does everyone has to help to get it working again. I don't dislike this; it does make my job a bit more difficult, but definitely makes it more interesting too.
Did you always want to do what you do now?
No! I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do when I was at school.
What path did you take, to get where you are now?
I chose to study my favourite subject from school at University, which was chemistry. When I finished my degree I still didn't know what I wanted to do, so I chose to do a PhD in chemical engineering. A PhD is another degree but where you spend your time doing research, and chemical engineering is just applying chemistry to solve real world problems. My research was based around doing experiments to work out how we can use actions like rubbing and stretching to help with cleaning clothes in a washing machine. The aim was to make washing clothes better at lower temperatures, as washing at lower temperatures is better for the environment.
What would you like to do next?
I hope to continue to work in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) as I find it so interesting! No two days are the same, and when you discover something new or work out a way to solve a problem that no one else has been able to solve before it's so exciting.
Is there anything you’d do differently?
I don't think so, I've learnt so much along the way, I wouldn't change any of it!