Joanna Gordon - Undergraduate Human Biology Student - University of Glasgow

Issued: Thu, 13 Aug 2020 00:00:00 BST

Tell us a fun fact about yourself

I was meant to be completing a STEM internship with TeachFirst in London this summer. This is a fantastic charity who aim to create a fair education for all pupils, despite their background and financial circumstances. My involvement as a STEM Ambassador definitely encouraged me to apply for the role and gave me the confidence throughout the application process. I have been able to meet like-minded individuals who are passionate about STEM and I am so proud to call myself a STEM Ambassador.

Tell us about your career journey so far

I have just completed my third year at Glasgow University. I am studying an undergraduate degree in Human Biology. I initially applied to study Pharmacology at University, however after two years I realised that this was not the correct path for me. I therefore changed my degree to Human Biology for my third year. This was a very smooth transition, and this is one reason why STEM is so brilliant because there is a lot of flexibility and the opportunities are endless.

What was your favourite subject in school and why?

My favourite subject was always Biology. I loved the fun experiments and hands-on activities we completed in class. I am a practical learner who enjoys putting concepts into action as oppose to sitting reading from a textbook all day. I am also a very inquisitive person and I love how many unknowns there still is within Biology and this has always intrigued me.

What subjects/qualifications are useful for your role?

I studied Biology and Chemistry to advanced higher level at high school. This definitely prepared me for University, and I am so glad that I continued to love science because I have thoroughly enjoyed my experience at University. I also found that my Higher Maths and Higher Psychology have helped me at University. One skill that has helped me throughout my studies is critical thinking as this is very important within STEM.

What is a normal day in your role like?

My degree at University is full-time and therefore I am required in University most days. It is pretty full on; however, I would much rather be in a lab all day learning about how incredible the human body is instead of writing essays in the library all day. You also get to use lots of expensive and elaborate pieces of technology in the lab which I love.

What is your favourite thing about your job?

My favourite thing about my degree is the labs. I love volunteering to be a subject in an experiment so that I can see science in action. I always grasp concepts quicker when I can visualise and relate to something. My love for practical learning has definitely continued at University and I am so glad that I chose a degree where my learning is fun, interactive and interesting.

Can you suggest an activity that could be done at home that illustrates an aspect of your work? 

I am a huge fan of Khan Academy videos as their use of illustrations and explanations can make complicated science a lot simpler to understand. I also love testing myself on Quizlets that have been made online to further my knowledge. Finally, I am a fan of podcasts, my favourite in particular is “The Drive” by Peter Attia.


If you're a STEM Ambassador in Scotland and want to share your story you can download the form here.