Adriana Lowe (@adriana_lowe) is a PhD student at the University of Kent. She will be taking part in Soapbox Science Canterbury 2018 on 23rd June, giving a talk entitled “Life and death in the forest: studying the behaviour of wild chimpanzees”
SS: How did you get to your current position?
AL: I’m currently doing a PhD at the University of Kent. I did my BA at Durham and my MSc at UCL. During my MSc and in the following year I had the opportunity to do fieldwork in Nigeria and co-author several publications with my supervisor which helped me to win the scholarship to study at Kent.
SS: What, or who, inspired you to get a career in science?
AL: I had some very engaging teachers as part of my undergraduate and masters degrees. Once I’d got hooked on biological anthropology there was no going back!
SS: What is the most fascinating aspect of your research/work?
AL: The most fascinating aspect has to be getting to see my study subjects in the wild and observing their behaviour.
SS: What attracted you to Soapbox Science in the first place?
AL: I love talking to people about what I do. My subject tends to grab people’s attention since everyone is fascinated by the animals and it’s a great opportunity to explain that science is much more than test tubes and lab coats!
SS: Sum up in one word your expectations for the day
SS: If you could change one thing about the scientific culture right now, what would it be?
AL: Work-life balance. There’s still a mentality that if you love your job you shouldn’t mind doing it all day, every day for very little reward. I really enjoy my research but being a scientist is only one part of who I am and I think having a life outside work should be encouraged rather looked down on.
SS: What would be your top recommendation to a woman studying for a PhD and considering pursuing a career in academia?
AL: Well I’m still only studying for a PhD myself so I don’t know how much career advice I can really give! So far the key to both enjoying my work and doing it well has been wonderfully supportive supervisors and other members of staff in my department. Going forward I’ll try to remember that the people I work with are one of the most valuable resources and to look carefully at the working environment and attitude of any team/department I might apply for a job with.