Kathryn Woolley is an air quality consultant with Hilson Moran. Her job involves her undertaking all kinds of air quality assessments from residential site suitability assessments to permit applications for power generation.
Come and meet Kathryn in Reading, where she’ll be talking about how she creates air pollution
SS: Kathryn, how did you get to your current position?
KW: I completed a degree in Environmental Science at the university of Plymouth in 2013. During my second year I undertook a field trip to Hong Kong and southern China I completed an assessment of air quality in partnership with Sun Yat Sen University of Guangdong China and City University of Hong Kong. The assessment included taking air quality samples in a variety of locations from main land China to Hong Kong to understand sources and dispersion.
This increased my interest in air quality, I had a basic understanding due to my siblings being severely asthmatic and therefore had a hands on understanding of the health impacts. My dissertation in the final year of my degree helped me to further my knowledge on air quality.
My dissertation was an assessment of air quality in Greater London over the past 6 years; including an investigation into the effectiveness of the low emission zone. This involved using the raw data from 13 AURN monitoring stations downloaded from DEFRA. This data (over 100,000 data points) was the summarised and statically analysed along with traffic data from TFL to determine trends. the determination of potential sources at each site was important , to understand why breeches where occurring for example London Marylebone road, where a street canyon effect occurs along with high volume of traffic.
SS: What, or who, inspired you to get a career in science?
KW: I’m dyslexic and science was one of the main subjects at school that I didn’t struggle with and I enjoyed . Two main teachers inspired me and got me through my A levels, Mr Hartland biology and Mr French Chemistry and these two subject along with some physic and computer modelling are relevant to my career every day.
SS: What is the most fascinating aspect of your research/work?
KW: Making a difference, I am very fortunate that I get to leave the office knowing my modelling or monitoring alter a design to reduce the exposure of air pollution on future occupants.
SS: What attracted you to Soapbox Science in the first place?
KW: To inspire the next generation to want to understand more about science and hopefully pick a career in science.
SS: Sum up in one word your expectations for the day – excitement? Fear? Thrill? Anticipation?
SS: If you could change one thing about the scientific culture right now, what would it be?
KW: I would increase the understanding of the practical uses of science for careers.