“I can ask my supervisors anything.”
"My PhD is on radiation damage in graphite, focusing on dimensional change which may be explained using dislocation theory. These are basically defects in materials. These dislocations come about as a result of radiation damage that graphite experiences in a nuclear reactor.
I have improved my programming skills, because my project has allowed me to write a lot of my own programmes, which has been really rewarding. And my supervisors are great. I benefit from their collective experience and knowledge, and I can ask them any question, no matter how silly it might seem.
I presented a few times at international conferences; the first in Greece on extended defects in semi-conductors, it was six months into my PhD and I gave an oral presentation on my work. It was a little bit intimidating, but definitely worth doing. My other conferences so far have been in Germany and Seattle and I hope to attend a conference in China this year.
These conferences helped me to build up my confidence and it was useful talking to an audience who knew their stuff – letting you know if there are things you’ve missed in your own research. It’s very easy to develop ‘tunnel vision’ and ignore other aspects, the bigger picture, of your work. Oral presentations helped me develop my confidence and identify gaps in my research.
After completing my PhD, I aim to either become a post-doctoral researcher, or look at industrial research into computer science and programming. I’d love to get hired to write programmes for external and scientific applications. I’d like to take a job where I can combine science and programming, and maybe build apps for companies."