SS: How did you get to your current position?
JF: I’m about half way through my PhD at the University of Kent. I’ve always wanted to work in conservation, but since I didn’t get the A levels I wanted, I ended up on the only BSc Zoology course I could get into. One of the lecturers there told me about the University expedition society, and I ended up running some research trips with a group of friends, which got me into fieldwork. That helped me onto an MRes at UCL partnered with the Institute of Zoology, which led to research assistant work, before I ended up on this PhD.
SS: What, or who, inspired you to get a career in science?
JF: Camping trips when I was young, a very cool geography school teacher, and plenty of David Attenborough.
SS: What is the most fascinating aspect of your research/work?
JF: Travel for fieldwork and conferences abroad is definitely number 1. As for my PhD, I enjoy looking for the positive relationships between people and wildlife instead of at the pessimistic trends we continually in conservation.
SS: What attracted you to Soapbox Science in the first place?
JF: During my masters I volunteered at Soapbox Science in London supporting one of the researchers at the Institute of Zoology. I think I had to wear a gorilla mask…
I also recently saw a Facebook post from a local asking the public what this insect was… (it was a dragonfly!). This reminded me that there is definitely work to be done!
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?
JF: Imposter syndrome is probably the biggest one for me. So many people think ‘I’m definitely too stupid to be doing this’, or ‘I got here by accident’. Whilst I tend to go with ‘fake it til you make it’, the longer I’ve been in science the more I’ve come to realise that even ‘experts’ are normal people too!
SS: What would be your top recommendation to a woman studying for a PhD and considering pursuing a career in academia?
JF: Don’t ask don’t get! Create opportunities for yourself whenever and wherever you can.