Project Overview

This project aims to build a website for school students who are making decisions about what subjects to study. This might be KS3 subjects in year 9, GCSE subjects in year 10, A-level subjects in year 12, or undergraduate degree subjects in year 13.

If you wish to contribute, your responses will form part of a database of people from all careers and walks of life, and will then be organised by the school subject most related to your work. Students can see what types of careers are available to them based on an individual subject.

This website and project is being put together by a synthetic chemist who goes by the name of Steve, and a web developer who calls herself Amelia, in their spare time, so progress might be a little slow - please bear with us! :)

For more information, see: www.streetresearch.co.uk/

Background

When I was at school, nobody ever spoke to me about what jobs different subjects can lead to. This was especially the case in science and engineering, where a lot of jobs are in research, yet nobody ever tells you what research is! I want to change this.

The first time I ever spoke to somebody who was actually a scientist was when I was looking around universities in year 12, which was in my opinion far too late! I want to change this too.

I think it would be useful for young people to be able to talk to real scientists, engineers, and people from other careers, and find out the what they work on, and what their jobs are like. This is especially important in subjects like chemistry, where what you learn at school is very different to what you can do in research, and in school it might not seem as exciting/useful or relevant to life as it actually is!

I think a lot of people who would make great scientists choose to not study science further at school because they don’t know where it can take them.

THIS I want to change. But I need your help!

How to use the website

If you are a student, you can start by browsing the different subject at the top, and can browse through different people's profiles, which can tell you not only what they do for a living, but also which school subjects relate most to their jobs, what subjects they studied at school, and their advice to you. Coming soon, we hope to add a custom search function where you can select the combination of subjects you are thinking of studying, and it will display the profiles of people who made the same choices as you, showing you some of the paths open to you! If you have any suggestions about things missing, or things you would like to see, please email me at steve@streetresearch.co.uk.

Currently, the database is a bit chemistry heavy, with mainly profiles from people at the University of Bristol. This isn't necessarily a bad thing though, as in my opinion chemistry is one of the most misunderstood subjects at school, so could do with being better understood! As we get more profiles from a wider variety of sources, other subjects will have more information to yield.

 For contributors - how your 10 minutes of time can help influence and inform the decisions of thousands of students

By contributing, you are adding your own profile to the website, full of the decisions you have made, the subjects you have studied, what you do for a living, and your advice to those students who wish to get to where you are today. Your 10 minutes of time will influence the decisions that thousands of students make, help others to avoid common pitfalls / mistakes, and help others to appreciate school subjects that are perhaps commonly overlooked (or even not part of the curriculum!)

Who we would especially like to hear from

We want to hear from everyone. This website will only be as good as the database that it is built on, and a breadth of subjects will only be present if people from a variety of walks of life take the time to fill out their details.

We would especially like to hear from anyone who has an interesting job, an interesting project or area of research, or anyone who has started their own company. We would like to hear from a variety people from 'commonly considered' careers such as medicine, law, accountancy, teaching, police, fire service, etc... as well as many careers that might be similar, but commonly overlooked, such as scientific research, patent law, etc!

So basically we want to hear from everyone... This is your chance to 'represent' your subject area and career to students!

Andrew Orr-Ewing

Professor of Physical Chemistry
University of Bristol

I teach undergraduates (through lectures, tutorials and workshops), carry out research, publish papers describing the outcomes of this research, travel the world reporting the research outcomes at conferences, universities and research institutes. I also contribute to the running of my department, to the review of other people's research papers and grant proposals. My research uses lasers to generate pulses of light less than a billionth of a second long, which is short enough to watch how molecules change during chemical reactions. We use techniques based on infra-red and UV/visible spectroscopy to observe short-lived reactive intermediates form and turn into reaction products. We also study reactions of importance for our understanding of the complex chemistry going on in the Earth's atmosphere, for example to learn how pollutants or organic molecules emitted by plants are oxidized and removed from the air.

Matthew Crump

Professor of NMR and Structural Biology
University of Bristol

I lecture and run a research group at the University of Bristol. This involves teaching and engaging with undergraduate students in all aspects of their studies as well as cutting edge research in my lab. The research involves mentoring postgraduate students, writing up our results as papers for publication and travelling to present results at conferences around the world.

Vicky

Research Scientist in Biophysics
Various Universities and Institues

I have done post-doctoral research in several different research groups in Oxford, Berlin and Bristol. Throughout this time I have worked on determining the structure of protein molecules using a method called nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) - basically putting a protein sample into a very strong magnet, sending in radio waves and seeing what radio waves the sample reflects back. The resulting data is then analysed on a computer to calculate the structure of the protein molecule. Knowing the structure of the protein makes it possible to understand diseases or healthy biological processes better. You can then develop new drugs which target the proteins or change the biological process in some way. Sometimes I have worked on improving the methods for protein structure determination, at other times in collaboration with Biochemists who study a protein’s function. My work can be very varied depending on whether I am involved in sample preparation in the lab, recording data on the NMR machines (mainly computer controlled) or doing data analysis on the computer. My job has enabled me to learn additional skills such as computer programming. You can easily travel and work in other countries, and usually work in very international teams. At the moment I am a part-time scientist and part-time mum. My jobs come and go depending on the availability of research funds. Currently I am doing some work for my old research group in Berlin (but while living in the UK). Because much of the work is computer-based, it is easy to be sent the data electronically and work from home. At the moment I don’t have very much job security, but therefore I have a lot of flexibility which is great alongside being a mum to two small children. Once they are a bit older, I may try to find a more permanent job.

Tim Snow

Data Analysis Scientist
Diamond Light Source

Enabling or enhancing the analysis of data gathered from small angle x-ray scattering (SAXS) experiments alongside conducting research primarily using SAXS.

Justin

Supply Chain executive
Bio-Techne

Evaluate the synthesis of or sourcing of new chemical products to add to the Bio-Techne catalogue range of organic compounds

Rob Felix

Head of Product Management
Bio-Techne

The team of Product Managers find useful and interesting products for the chemistry team to make, and ensures we have the correct licenses in place. We also look to collaborate with external scientists to commercialize novel compounds that otherwise would simply be forgotten.

Guy

Scientist
Wessex Water

I work in the trace organic chemistry department using chromatographic techniques to extract and analyse for targeted and non-targeted pesticides, hydrocarbons, personal care products and taste/odour contaminants in water and waste water. I've also worked in a public analysts using classical wet chemistry and instrumental techniques analysing hazardous waste and anything sent in by trading standards officers. My first job was in a nutrition department at a research institute developing methods for the analysis of dietary fibre.

Jeni

Analytical Chemist
Bio-Techne

 

I work in the quality control department of Bio-techne, analysing all of the compounds that we sell for their purity, ensuring that only the highest quality compounds are sold. I also develop new methods and procedures for analysing these compounds by HPLC and LCMS.

Clare

Analytical Quality Control Technician
Bio-Techne

I currently work at Bio-techne, here I am responsible for undertaking the role of stock preparation, freeze drying, weighing and aliquoting. I also carry out solubility, optical rotation and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) tests on samples produced by the chemists. I am also responsible for the sample submissions from the chemists, this involves accepting the compound from the chemist, weighing the samples for the required analysis, and adding these details to the high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) submissions board, as well as sending for elemental (CHN) analysis.

Stefanie

Scientist
Wessex Water

As a Scientist I undertake the analysis of water samples using the following techniques. I am currently trained in the analysis of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons via high performance liquid chromatopgraphy (HPLC), Hydrocarbon Oils via gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), Geosmin and Methylisoborneol analysis via gas chomatography (GC) and priority Substances such as phenols, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), and ethoxylates. I am currently being trained in using GC-MS to identify all compounds within a sample (such as all chemicals present in water). All of the methods that I undertake, require the application of Solid Phase Extraction(SPE) or Liquid-Liquid extraction and as such I am proficient in these techniques too.