Photo:

Jessica Groppi

Favourite Thing: I love working in the laboratory, trying new experiments. I spend a lot of time reading interesting science facts and learning new things just because I’m really curious.

My CV

Education:

2011-2015: Queen Mary University of London; 2005-2010: Università degli Studi di Parma (Italy); 2000-2005: Liceo Scientifico G. Ulivi (Parma, italy)

Qualifications:

BSc, MSci, PhD.

Work History:

Teaching Assistant at Queen Mary University of London

Current Job:

Teaching Assistant

Employer:

Queen Mary University of London

About Me

I’m small and kind of shy, I’m a chemist and I have a lot of hobbies.

I’m from Italy, but for the past 4 years and an half I’ve been living in London, where I completed my PhD in chemistry and currently work as a teaching assistant. I live in a lovely flat, which I share with two flatmates, in Hackney Wick.
I love watching tv shows and movies. My favourite tv show at the moment is Game of Thrones. I like cartoons too : i never miss an episode of Adventure Time! My favourite movie is Bram’s Stocker Dracula. I spend a lot of time learning about the art of cinema and photography, because I find it really fascinating and I hope to be involved in the production of a movie someday.

I listen to a lot of music, I like to discover new artists and genres everyday and I can play guitar.
I like learning new languages, I speak Italian (of course) and I learnt English mostly on my own, watching tv and reading books (I read a lot of books). My mum is french, so I know French, even though I don’t practice it
that much, and I speak a little bit of Spanish. I also love to travel, as soon as I have some time I always organise trips with my friends.
My current job allows me enough free time to cook a lot and try many different new dishes, I spend a lot of time cooking and baking, I love all food, but my favourite is pizza. Since I like to eat, I go regularly to the gym to stay fit: recently I began fencing and archery courses, to mix up with the boring training I do during the week.

My Work

Currently I work as a teaching assistant, although I recently finished my PhD in Chemistry

I work at Queen Mary University of London. As a teaching assistant I help undergraduate students during their chemistry laboratory practicals. I teach them how to make their reactions work, how to use glassware and instruments and I make sure they don’t blow the laboratory up! And when I’m not in the laboratory, I mark the scrips of my students.

My PhD research activity involved the development of devices for measuring the sugar level in the blood of diabetic people. I spent many hours working in the laboratory, had a lot of meetings with my supervisor and attended seminaries and courses.

Working as a researcher involves also presenting your results through publications and conferences, which means spending a lot of time reading and writing, but you get to travel around the world and meet a lot of people too!

My Typical Day

Some days I follow students in the lab, some I work from home.

The days with the students are both funny and really tiring. I get to the teaching lab and make sure that all the students are present and that they have everything they need to do their experiments. I walk around the lab asking them questions on their work, but mostly answering their questions and trying to help them when they mess up.

When I work from home, I take care of marking scripts and exercises. At the moment I’m writing a couple of publications about my research, so a lot of time goes into that.

Some days I tutor A-levels and GCSE students in chemistry, physics and maths, so I get to improve my teaching skills even more.

Finally I’m looking for a job as a postdoctoral researcher and trying to get money to spend on my research, which involves a great deal of reading and application writing.

What I'd do with the money

Create a chemistry computer game

Experiments are one of the funniest part of science and the best way to learn boring theory.

Sometimes though, schools don’t have the resources and the time to involve the students in many experimental activities and sometimes experiments are just too dangerous to be performed in a regular science lab.

What if students could preform the experiments on their computers at school or at home while revising?

I use chemistry  focused softwares for my work everyday, I know of many websites with tools for laboratory simulation, but they are mainly aimed to undergraduate chemistry students.

My idea is creating an entertaining simulated laboratory with experiments directly connected with the syllabus of secondary school. All the activities would join practical and theoretical aspects in the same screen, helping both the students to understand and the teachers to explain. I also plan to add a “Fun with chemistry” section where students will find cool and safe experiments they could try at home with everyday tools and substances.

This way I hope to convince students that chemistry is not as boring as it seems!

The money would help me to get the programming tools necessary to develop the game and hopefully to present my material to schools. Ideally I would like to involve some schools in the development process, to test the game and receive feedback to improve it.

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Funny, shy, curious.

Who is your favourite singer or band?

I like sooo many bands. Let’s say The Beatles, because I’ve been listening to their music forever

What's your favourite food?

Pizza

What is the most fun thing you've done?

Holiday trips with my friends

What did you want to be after you left school?

A musician or an electronic engineer

Were you ever in trouble at school?

During a school trip, we had a party at night and it got out of hand. We weren’t allowed to go on a school trip the following year.

What was your favourite subject at school?

English literature

What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?

I got really good results and it allowed me to go on conferences around the world

What or who inspired you to become a scientist?

I guess during school I always had good science teachers that made me like the subject

If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?

an electronic engineer

If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!

Have enough money to enjoy life, good health for everyone forever, be successful in my job

Tell us a joke.

Why can’t you trust atoms? Because they make up everything

Other stuff

Work photos: